In a world of picture perfect Instagram posts, potential home buyers want (and expect) their next dream home to look as good as the pictures online. While some blame can be placed with today’s expert real estate photographers, who can make the smallest and dullest of properties pop in the MLS listing, the reality is that home buyers have more tools at their disposal than ever before. Buyers can view hundreds of homes online in a weekend, compare pricing, research tax values and school ratings, and even determine how many steps they need to walk to the nearest Starbucks. What this means for home sellers is that it is a lot more competitive to sell your home today. Unless you’re living down the street from the next planned Amazon headquarters, home sellers today can experience just as much stress as buyers looking for one.
Unfortunately, the home buying/selling experience has always been somewhat lopsided with more sympathy going towards the buyer. There are home buyer education courses for new couples just starting out to ensure they understand the financial commitment. There are special loans for military and teachers. There are appraisers, inspectors, and all that information online, which all go towards protecting the buyer. Sellers on the other hand can easily be looked upon as the home owner with lots of equity who will walk away with plenty of money at closing. Even among Realtors, the listing agent is looked upon as the glamorous million-dollar seller who simply has to put a sign in the yard, while the poor buyer’s agent schleps buyers around for 30 homes – we pity the buyer and their agent.
In practice, both sides of a real estate transaction are tough, just for different reasons. In a seller’s market we find that home owners often think their home should sell in less than 30 days, but that’s not what a seller’s market means. This is especially true if the seller has put money upfront for a photographer, fresh paint, new carpet, and more. Home owners selling older homes can be even more frustrated as buyers still expect move-in ready homes. The fact is, there are so many things that factor into why one home sells in less than a week and a similar home on the same block may take 3 months. Everything from initial listing price to the side of the street the home is located on, can impact the pool of potential buyers. With so many resources for buyers, it makes sense for sellers to have help too.
It’s been shown time and again that when two parties have more knowledge about a transaction, better expectations are set. When better expectations are set it leads to less misunderstandings and hopefully a smoother real estate transaction. If a buyer is looking for a rock-bottom deal, and a home owner thinks their place is a “palace” it makes for a miserable time for everyone involved.
Today’s home sellers shouldn’t feel like the market is against them and that they will never be able to sell their home. Yes, times have changed and the dream of home ownership may not be as strong today as it was for buyers in the 70’s and 80’s. But like most everything, people’s viewpoints come in cycles, so the best thing to do is educate yourself and understand that selling a home may not just be planting a sign in the yard.
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