I have to say, for a real estate agent with decades of experience, we should certainly have gotten more than we did from our agent. I look back on our first home sale experience now and just shake my head at some of the things that came out of our agent's mouth, and I wonder how anyone in the business so long could possible have said some of the things that she said.
While at the time, I questioned some of the following statements, I gave in to our agent's experience (and my inexperience) at selling homes, choosing to trust her words rather than my instincts, and in turn, loosing a bundle on our home sale.
"I've got a buyer who…"
I realize that sometimes an agent wants to sound positive and upbeat about putting a home on the market, even in a particularly bad market like the one in which we were selling. However, this doesn't mean that an agent needs to go overboard with such positive sentiments as it can skew a seller's expectations.
In our case, the words "I've got a buyer who might be interested…" led us to set our initial sales price too high. In fact, we set it at a price over the one at which we purchased and did so in a market in which the median home value had dropped by about 10 percent during the time we owned. This turned out to be a big problem as it left our home overpriced for that initial wave of prospective buyers that came after our home hit the market, and then it left our home lingering in a stagnating market after that.
"Anyone who buys your home will want to gut the kitchen anyway."
The above quote was our real estate agent's response when we questioned her regarding putting in new granite countertops or appliances in our kitchen. While we had made adjustments to our kitchen in the way of cosmetic items like painting our cabinets, adding new cabinet hardware, repairing several cracked floor tiles, cleaning, and decluttering, I think that it was a major mistake not to at least added new appliances. Since this was the room into which prospective buyers would enter the home, I definitely think it would have set the tone for the rest of the home as well.
I disagree with the idea that anyone who bought our home would have wanted to gut the kitchen. We had purchased the property just several years earlier, and we had no desire to "gut" it. It was clean, well-maintained, and while the appliances weren't new, they weren't that bad either. With new appliances in addition to our cosmetic updates, I think the area would have really "popped" and it would have been enough to make this often critically important space more appealing to buyers.
"We'll just keep dropping the price until we find a buyer."
Yes, that above quote -- or something quite similar to it -- actually came out of our agent's mouth. By this point, we already knew we had made a mistake in our selection, but it was really too late as the housing market continued to falter in our area of Chicagoland.
This quote should have let us know that she was on the ropes and giving up, but we were feeling the same way by this point. Thankfully, after another $10,000 price drop, our buyer came along and we didn't have to hear anymore advice from our real estate agent. However, it proved one valuable point, which was that sometimes it's more important to listen to ourselves and our own advice, since even though we don't have decades of experience in the real estate field, it is our house and our money that we're dealing with.
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The author is not a licensed financial professional. The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal or financial advice. Any action taken by the reader due to the information provided in this article is solely at the reader's discretion.