In a recent opinion piece for InmanNews, Nicole Solari, a former tech whiz and current top producer in Napa and Solano Counties in CA, suggested that agents share these questions with their wannabe sellers before these wannabes put their homes on the market.

  1. What do you need from a listing agent in terms of expertise and attention?
    1. Some sellers want their agent to do
    2. Some sellers want their agent to be an advisor or a consultant who has real estate expertise but who also backs off so the seller can make all the decisions…decisions such as hiring the vendors and contractors that will do the work to get the house into prime listing condition…or…what the seller thinks is prime listing condition.
  2. What market-specific information do you as the seller have or intend to get?
    1. Do you the seller know about prime selling seasons?
    2. Do you the seller know about comparable market analyses?
    3. Do you the seller know which upgrades/amenities are most desirable/necessary to most buyers?
  3. Have you an idea about who is your most likely buyer?
    1. Do you as the seller know what conditions your likely buyer might demand before they make an offer to buy your house?
    2. Do you know what kinds of properties may likely appeal to specific groups of buyers?
    3. Have you or will you go to open houses similar to yours (size, price range, features, etc.) to get a sense of what potential buyers are seeking in homes for sale in your and/or adjacent neighborhood(s)?
  4. Do you know that buyers’ expectations are increasingly affected by what they see on HGTV?
    1. Do you know that staging your home is no longer an option?
    2. Do you know that staging a home is no longer a DIY situation?
  5. Do you know that lending standards have changed since the housing crash?
    1. Do you know whether or not financing is available for your property?
    2. If not, are you able to find financing options for your buyer so their lender can offer your buyer a mortgage for your specific property?
  6. Do you know how to price your property?
    1. Do you know that “estimates” coming from algorithms cannot estimate “hot” or “cool” neighborhoods?
    2. Do you know that prices vary in different neighborhoods, even on different streets?
    3. Do you know that property conditions and buyer expectations have much to do about cosmetics rather than functionality?
    4. Do you plan to list your house at a reduced price if the property is affected by things over which you have no control, such as a lawsuit against your HOA or an approved underground utility project scheduled to take 3 years?
  7. Do you have a realistic sales time-line?
    1. Do you anticipate spending 2 weeks to 2 months getting the property ready to market?
    2. Do you know that if the house is not updated, buyers anticipate spending less as a way to compensate for it not being “move-in” ready.
    3. Do you know that upfront (recommended) home/pest inspections and staging/professional photography take 2 weeks assuming there are no scheduling conflicts/issues?
    4. Do you know that the first 10 days on the market are taken with listing agent office tours, broker canvases and public open houses?
    5. Do you know that you (and your family and pets) will vacate the house for showings?
  8. Do you know where you will be moving when the house sells?
    1. The housing shortage is real.
  9. Do you know that good agents know the answers to all the above questions?
  10. Do you know that a cut-rate broker can cost you money?