Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Hindsight - Or What I Have Learned About Selling A House

Hindsight is 20/20 so it is said. For me this is definitely true. One of the characteristics of those of us who are "quiet" personalities (aka introverted) is that we often need time to consider our responses before answering or making decisions. This is one of the challenges for introverts in our school environments. Teachers want and expect students to provide answers quickly and yet introverts need time to organize our thoughts. I need time to contemplate my responses and I often find myself rethinking actions I've taken wishing I had given myself more time. Our fast paced lives do not readily offer that time and sometimes we (I) neglect to ask for it.

This would appear to be the case in the recent listing (and pending sale) of my house. I have been frustrated with the entire process...from why my financial advisor advised it...to the situation I am in that necessitates it...to how the process has gone and is still going. As someone who assumes a tremendous amount of responsibility, especially when things don't go as desired or planned, I move into "rethinking" mode. Today's rethinking the sale of my house led me to "google" "questions to ask a realtor before selling your home" (about 1,400,000 results in .41 seconds). I know! A day late and a dollar short! The range of questions was 5 to about 40. Here's how I did with seven of the possible questions!

In preparation for the For Sale sign

  1. What's your experience? I didn't ask this question as I hired a realtor who was the seller's agent when I purchased the home. Turned out he was also friends with friends of mine and had sold several of their homes. Those friends highly recommended him.
  2. How will you communicate with me? I didn't ask this question either, and for the most part he has communicated adequately with me via email, phone and text. Asking the question would not have addressed any of the minor frustrations I've experienced.
  3. Do you represent both sides of the sale? Didn't ask this one either because I knew several sellers he had represented. His website states that he does represent sellers and buyers. 
  4. Do you work with buyers in this price range? I didn't ask this question because I thought he did based on having listed this house before. I think his answer would have been "yes". Here's where there may have been a rub. He had several listings at the same time, most of them priced higher than mine, several significantly higher. I wonder if my listing received as much time and attention as did the higher priced homes (where he stood to make more money on the sale).
  5. What are your stats? I didn't ask the question, and wish that I had. Knowing the list-to-purchase price comparison and the average days on market might have been informative. This quote comes to mind "There are lies, damned lies and statistics".
  6. Can you recommend others to help with this project (i.e., home improvement contractors)? Again, I did not ask. He offered up a contractor. The work that was completed was done well, however communication with the contractor was spotty and reliability was less than stellar. The same contractor was working on the realtors' other properties (see #4 above). The contractor complained to me multiple times about all the work he was being asked to do by the realtor without enough time or workers. I should have gotten multiple referrals and done my own due diligence.
  7. How will you market my home? This is the BIGGIE! And no! I did not ask. I think I may pay a big price for neglecting to ask this question. Again, see #4 above. I think the realtor may have been preoccupied with his more expensive properties (more $$$ for him) or simply stretched with too many properties on the market at the same time and a pending vacation. My house was listed on the MLS, glossy brochures were produced, a sign was put on the curb and four Open Houses were held (three on one weekend). There was no Broker's Open (I should have insisted on this) and there were very few showings outside of the Open Houses which were poorly attended. Wisdom suggests that Open House do not sell houses. I should have asked how he would insure or increase traffic and visibility.
Yes, hindsight is 20/20. Yes, I wish I had asked more questions. I wish I had shopped around or interviewed additional realtors (I did interview two). And yes, this is a bit of crying over spilt milk. Time to move on. The house is under contract, and in inspection. It hasn't officially sold yet. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the deal will be complete and an official closing date will be set by the end of the week.

Chalk this up to another lesson learned. I sincerely doubt that I will ever buy and thus never have to sell a house again in my lifetime...which at this point in time is totally fine with me.


PHOTOS: The "for sale" sign photo was taken by me!

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