Realtors reveal the 5 things they wish sellers knew before listing their home amid a hectic real estate market

Realtors reveal the 5 things they wish sellers knew before listing their home amid a hectic real estate market

May 17, 2021
  • It may be a seller’s market right now, but realtors say there are still some pitfalls to avoid.
  • Be thorough when you disclose issues with the house, a Silicon Valley realtor warned.
  • Austin and Seattle realtors say to make sure to have a solid plan of where you’re going next.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

If you’ve been paying attention to the real estate market over the past several months, you already know that, in a lot of ways, sellers have the upper hand right now. 

In many markets nationwide, inventory has dipped to historic lows, resulting in more potential buyers than there are available homes and soaring home prices. In some cities, real estate agents are reaching out to homeowners who had no plans to vacate their homes and convincing them to sell, resulting in lucrative deals for homeowners. 

Read more: Home prices are soaring across the US, but these 11 places are the wildest right now

While the wild real estate market may favor sellers right now, realtors warn that there are still pitfalls for those thinking of selling their homes. Insider spoke to five real estate agents from across the country who shared their best tips for sellers looking to take advantage of the market. 

Don’t take the seller’s market for granted.

Katie Day, an agent with Coldwell Banker Realty in Houston, told Insider that even in a seller’s market, it’s more important than ever to have the right realtor. 

“For a lot of sellers, I’m sure they’re thinking, ‘Oh, it’s a sellers market. I can put the house in the market for whatever price I want and I’ll get all of these offers,'” she said. “If you’re receiving 20 offers, do you really know how to sort through those to see which one is the strongest?”

Day said the right agent will be able to spot factors like whether the buyer used a local appraisal company or went with the best mortgage lender, and will able to ensure sellers make it to closing. 

Don’t be overly precious about your home.

Jared Goodloe, a realtor with Compass in Brooklyn, advised sellers to look at their homes with a clinical eye and not to get too hung up on their personal attachment to the space. In an area like New York City, where buyers have the choice between an older home with character or a brand-new condo, sellers should be realistic about what they have to offer.

“Remove the emotion as quickly as possible,” he said. “If you’re in the resale process, the renovations that you did to your home 10 years ago don’t reflect the current market, especially when you have nothing but new development going around you.” 

Be transparent and thorough in your disclosures.

Silicon Valley realtor Mary Pope-Handy said it’s crucial for sellers to disclose anything and everything that could be perceived as an issue with the home — and that could range from flooding in a crawl space to a next-door neighbor who likes to smoke marijuana in the afternoons.

Pope-Handy said she’s walked away from listings where a seller doesn’t want to disclose something that happened to the house in the past. If the seller doesn’t disclose an issue, it could easily result in a costly lawsuit down the road, she said.

“I think that they don’t understand that even if they tell something negative, the buyer will accept almost anything if you tell them,” she said. “So I would say, take your disclosure obligations very carefully, because it’s the right thing to do — and because it will net you more money.” 

Know where you’re going to go. 

It may be a seller’s market right now, but realtors warned that there’s a hidden downside for sellers: They’re often about to become buyers in the same market. 

That’s making it trickier for sellers who are looking for move locally, said Sean Waeiss, a broker and the owner of Wise Property Group in Austin. Because the market is so competitive, it’s harder to put an offer in on a new house that’s contingent on you selling your current home — “that offer would just not be accepted or entertained because it’s so competitive,” Waeiss said. 

“So what sellers are doing is they’re selling without having their new home identified, and then they’re trying to compete in the marketplace that they just sold in,” he said. “You can submit offers, but if you continue to lose, you run out of runway. All of a sudden, now you’ve got to move out of your place and you don’t have a new home.” 

When it comes to moving to a new city or state, David McDonald, a real estate specialist with DMD Real Estate Group in Seattle, said to start at the macro level before getting bogged down in listings. 

“Explore the market over there first and then work yourself back down to the listing,” he said. 

Be ready to make a move. 

Goodloe, the Brooklyn realtor, said it’s important for sellers to realize that this process may happen more quickly than they’re expecting, and that they should be ready to jump on the right offer. 

“You never know when your offer’s gonna come,” he said. 

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