You’ve thought long and hard about selling your home. You’ve researched how to choose a great Realtor® that can best work with you toward a common goal. You’ve taken steps to best prepare your home to be viewed by prospective buyers. You’ve even taken to heart the well-intended advice of close friends and family. As far as you can tell, you’re ready to sell your home in today’s Lake Tahoe real estate market. But wait! Have you taken the time to reflect on one last important item to check off of your list? Have you had your Self-Evaluation Reality Check? It’s hard. Take a deep breath, release slowly, lower your shoulders and read on.
- Endowment Bias: Let’s assume you interviewed more than one Realtor® prior to listing your Lake Tahoe home. These agents most likely presented you with an in-depth comprehensive market analysis and odds are pretty good that their suggested list prices were fairly close in values. Are you accepting the offered recommendations of your Realtor® or in your heart, do you feel your home is worth more? Do you feel that all of the work, improvements and emotional attachments you put into your home will ensure that your property will stand out compared to the competition? Do you truly feel that today’s buyers (who by the way are doing their own research) will be willing to pay more for your home despite comparable sales? “Endowment Bias” is a term that comes from behavioral economists. According to Wikipedia, it refers to “the hypothesis that people ascribe more value to things merely because they own them. If you find an element of truth here, please have your Realtor® show you the statistics of the sale to list price for homes that sit on the market too long. If you still want to try for a price higher than that suggested, consider putting a timeline on that price with a plan for a scheduled reduction if needed.
- Sensitive Defense: Are you willing to hear the feedback from prospective buyers following visits to your home or is your natural instinct to “fight back” and defend your home and its attributes? Remember, the odds are pretty strong that prospective buyers for your Lake Tahoe home will be coming from out of the area. They are often accustomed to features not typical of our mountain environment. Their feedback can be a successful tool in making changes that could help to bring in the highest price down the line. Of course there are changes you can’t make like a location backing a busy street or the age of the home. On the other hand, if you continue to hear comments about an odor or worn flooring, are you willing to consider addressing these raised concerns? Addressing these issues within your marketing can often minimize the initial negative affect they might have on a prospective buyer. For example, instead of letting the buyers walk in and see the carpet first, you might try offering a flooring allowance. Instead of seeing the stains, the buyer “sees” their personal decorating tastes.
- Rigid-itis: Are you prepared to “Bend it Like Beckham?” Sellers often find themselves drawing a line in the sand in regards to their “bottom price.” “That’s it by gosh and I won’t go a dime below.” After a price is agreed upon, the buyer orders inspections and voila – potential concerns are discovered. In some areas outside of Lake Tahoe, it is even required for sellers to make repairs such as Section 1 clearance in a pest report. This is not the case here in Lake Tahoe yet your buyer may assume it is. The buyer, after paying for those inspections, appraisals and loan fees, draws their own line and demands repairs or credits. Are you prepared to be somewhat flexible or is it worth it to you to start over in your marketing knowing that these items will need to be disclosed to future buyers? If you know yourself to be a bit rigid, we highly recommend having your own inspections prior to selling. At least you will have a better idea of what to expect from future buyers. Additionally, having recent inspection reports available to prospective buyers is an advantageous marketing tool.
- Do You REALLY Want to Move: All too often we run across sellers with one foot permanently cemented inside their home. On some level, are truly not ready to take the final step toward moving on. Perhaps they are selling because it is “the right thing to do” as told to them by family members, friends, financial advisors, etc. If you’re heart is not prepared to move, you may find yourself sabotaging an eventual successful sale and causing yourself unnecessary stress and sadness. If you find yourself in this frame of mind and yet must sell, by all means be honest and open with your Realtor®. They can do wonders in easing the hard times ahead.
- Truth Be Told: Are you prepared to fill out your disclosures honestly and in detail. In other words, are you prepared to give your prospective buyers the same information you would want to receive yourself? Some sellers find themselves being vague and “forgetful” in regards to details they fear could hurt the sale. After your transfer ownership of the home to a new owner and move forward with your life, the last thing you want to do is come back years later and deal with a costly and energy-draining suit over non-disclosure. In Lake Tahoe, we have structural issues such as freeze-back and broken pipes which can be a reoccurring if not addressed. Even if the past damage was repaired, heat tape installed and damaged wood re-painted, by all means let your buyer know about it. The adage, “When in Doubt – Disclose” is some of the best advice you will ever receive. Run with it.
What do you think? If you feel you are prepared to check off the 5 self-evaluation topics from your “Reality Check List,” you’re ready to go.