What Home Sellers Should Know About Working with Buyers

by Jessica Brita-Segyde

Here is the single biggest caveat for sellers in today’s real estate market: Not all buyers are the same.

Working with Buyers

“Buyers are liars,” says the old adage. That’s mean and it really isn’t fair. Most home buyers are honest people navigating a complex and intimidating marketplace.

If buyers do have a primary fault it’s that they are dreamers. People naturally want more than they can afford and don’t always know their budget before shopping. Maybe that’s why home buyers are notorious for unwittingly misinforming sellers regarding their level of purchasing power. This can pose a serious problem in the real estate market, a place where productive negotiations are dependent on both parties making large financial commitments.

The lesson here? Only show your home to pre-approved buyers. Your real estate agent will know how to legally and tactfully make sure that anyone viewing your home truly has the ability to purchase it.

 Avoid These Stressors

Which brings up a second and equally important lesson: Sellers should work with an experienced and knowledgeable Realtor. The buyers interested in your home likely have an agent working on their behalf and so should you. Trying the whole For Sale by Owner (FSBO) thing may seem appealing since it negates at least some of the commission cost, but consider the other costs and stressors involved in going it alone like:

  • Pricing You're likely going to unwittingly accept a lower price than your home is actually worth. You may overprice your home which will lead to issues later on in the process after an appraisal. A Realtor can price and market your home properly. 

  • Marketing Realtors have far more resources to market your home for you. They can use their networks, distributions lists, and online listings to create demand for your home. This far-reaching combination equals a much, much larger audience of home buyers.

  • Showings A Realtor will be able to help arrange showings of your home by fielding the interested home buyers and scheduling appointments with them. This will bring professionalism to your sale. Buyers will be able to tour the home without you present, giving them the freedom to express their opinions or ask questions of the Realtor. 

  • Open Houses Staging your home can be difficult. It's not easy to depersonalize your home, or to arrange furniture and decor in a way that buyers will find aesthetically pleasing. Some Realtors will help you with staging themselves, but they can also set you up with a professional home stager. 

  • Negotiation Getting you the best price for your home is your Realtor's number one job. They're experienced in it, and will know how to negotiate for you in a variety of situations. They will take charge of the Purchase Agreement, making sure this legally binding contract is fair and accurate. 

  • Survey While negotiable, the buyer typically pays for a land survey. Having a Realtor will make sure that this negotiation will benefit you.

  • Inspection While it is traditional for the buyer to pay for a home inspection, you can have your Realtor organize a pre-listing inspection. You will have to pay for this service, but it will minimize stress and reduce the need for extensive negotiations. Plus, you'll be able to make the repairs ahead of time.

  • Appraisal An appraisal is a very important part of home selling as it will dictate what you should price your home at. Your Realtor can help make sure that the information on the appraisal is accurate before it becomes official and final. 

  • Clear Title Do you have a lien on your house? Do you know for sure? Sometimes, this is hard to know. In fact, it requires a trip to the courthouse to verify. Your Realtor can help you with this task. Liens and levies will affect your home sale, so having a clear title is crucial. 

  • Closing Your Realtor's fee is paid at closing, typically 6% of the sale price. However, having a Realtor at closing will give you representation that would otherwise be given to the buyer's agent. Would you want to be stuck with an agent with the buyer's interest in mind?

  • Legal, Legal, Legal…Or worse, not legal! How do you know if everything you’ve done or plan to do involving the sale of your home is within compliance? Many parties have a legitimate legal say in your transaction including county government, city government, your local board of zoning & appeals, the United States Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD), the United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

If you need a referral for a fantastic Realtor in your area, the Loan Team at Ruoff can connect you with someone. Ruoff’s home loan professionals work with the best agents in their respective markets and can help you find the agent who is best-suited to market your property.

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In summary, make sure qualified professionals stay involved during all steps of your home sale…A Realtor for you and a Loan Officer for your prospective buyer.

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