March 13th, 2022
When you decide to list your home for sale, a lot is on the line. A stalled sale could jeopardize your next home purchase, delay your move … even substantially impact your family’s net worth. It’s not a time to get cute or indulge in wishful thinking.
Our team brings a can-do attitude to every home we list. Every home is perfect for someone on the market. But we also make a point of being honest, and we don’t sugar-coat the rough edges of the process.
There’s no “convenient” way to sell a home, especially not if you want top dollar. We find that our clients have the best outcomes when they expect the inconvenience, accept it as a temporary hassle, and make realistic allowances for it.
In that spirit, here are nine inconvenient truths about selling your home to help you set the stage for a successful listing …
Not all of our clients are fastidious housekeepers. We don’t judge, but we do try to be honest about what kind of attention your home needs to sell for the highest price possible. When we suggest a deep cleaning before showings, a few of our clients have balked at the inconvenience. “Can’t they just imagine what it will look like after the cleaning?” one asked.
Maybe technically they can … but they won’t. You can’t blame them either. Home buyers need to be able to imagine themselves living in your home. They want to imagine their prized possessions, the smell of coffee roasting in the morning, their children playing on the floor. If a house is dirty, cluttered, or smelly, all they will imagine is misery.
Worse, home buyers may see an unkept home as a red flag for deeper, underlying issues — deferred maintenance, bad bones, costly repairs in their near future.
The bottom line is this … Showing a dirty home will cost you thousands at closing and possibly prevent your home from selling at all. A deep cleaning is more than worth it, even if you have to take your shoes off in the house while it’s listed.
Some homeowners try to avoid repairs. They won’t even be living there much longer. Why not just knock a few grand off the sale price and let the buyer take care of it? After all, they’re the ones who will get to enjoy it, not you.
The hard truth is that deferred repairs will cost you more at closing than you would spend on the repairs in the first place. A house with too many deferred repairs starts to look like a “fixer-upper,” appealing only to investors who pay far below top-dollar. Not worth it.
We say this with love — suck it up and do the repairs. It may hurt your credit card or take a whack at your savings, but you will almost always come out ahead in the end.
You may love your lavender walls or your collection of antique garden gnomes, but selling your home is not the time to let your freak flag fly.
Remember, we’re trying to get people to imagine themselves living in your home — the walls painted their favorite colors, walls and corners festooned with their prized possessions. If they happen to hate your “distinctive” taste, they will be turned off immediately … and for no good reason.
We therefore recommend that people box up their collections, paint their walls neutral colors, and do everything possible to make their home a blank slate. Give the prospective buyers a chance for their imaginations to run wild. You can go back to lavender walls in your next home.
There is no “unsellable” home, but tons of homes sit on the market unsold for one reason and one reason only … they are overpriced.
The best time for your listing is when it first hits the market. Buyers and REALTORs alike flock to a shiny new listing. But if you get the price too high, it will get filtered out of searches. Your neighbors’ homes will look more attractive. Prospective buyers will be disappointed at tours, and their buying agents will steer them to better deals.
As time passes, your listing starts to look stale. Prospects will see the days on the market adding up and wonder what is “wrong” with your home.
In short, getting the price right out the gate is the biggest determining factor in a quick, successful sale of your house.
Even a beautiful home will suffer on the market if the seller scrimps on visuals for the listing. In the digital age, buyers want to know what a house looks like before they tour … and I mean they want to know exactly what they are getting.
Remember, the goal is to get prospects in the door. Small, poorly-lit, or poorly-framed photos just don’t cut it. It is more than worth it to hire a professional photographer to take stellar photos, possibly even a video tour.
No, not maybe — they will do it. There’s no such thing as a perfect inspection. The inspector will return a laundry list of defects, most of them minor, and the buyer will freak out about every one of them and try to nickel and dime you for all it’s worth.
Remember, it pays to do as many repairs as possible so the buyers have little leverage. But in anticipation for the buyers’ post-inspection demands, make sure you come ready to negotiate. It helps to have a listing agent who is a tough customer and knows how to handle buyer objections.
You may want to meet your potential buyer. You may not want the hassle of ducking out to a coffee shop five times a day so buyers can parade through your castle. Can’t you just hide in the closet?
No. Prospective buyers check every closet, and they will find you. Once they know they are talking to the seller, they will pepper you with questions that you may not be ready for. They may turn on the charm in hopes of a sweetheart deal.
Don’t attend your own home showings. You don’t want to turn off a good buyer with an awkward answer to an unexpected question, nor do you want to put a face to the name lest you make an emotional selling decision instead of a rational one. Let your agent handle the showings, and make yourself scarce!
We get it — like everyone in the internet age, home sellers face a constant barrage of communication. Junk emails, robocalls, Instagram DMs, text messages … It's easy to get behind.
But calls, emails, and texts from your listing agent can’t be treated like brunch requests from friends, to be replied to or ignored based on how busy you are. We try to handle as much of the process for you as we can, but sometimes we need answers to buyers’ questions, paperwork signed, offers and addendums approved. The deal could very easily hang in the balance.
For the sake of a successful listing, your listing agent is the call you should always take, the email you should open first, the text message to reply to. If the deal falls apart because you are behind on your emails, it will sit longer on the market and start to look like a loser.
Billy Sutton was great to work with on the purchase of our poultry farm. He provides a wealth of knowledge and we were completely blown away with how resourceful he was. Anytime an issue came up or we were worried about something, he had an answer. He is direct, kept us updated, and made it an enjoyable purchase.
Eddie P.❉April 27th, 2020
Billy contacted me one day and said he had found my way into the poultry business. I had never used a realtor before so this was all new to me. He was very helpful with every question I had. He made sure I was stress free every step of the way, always made sure I had everything done that needed to be so that we were always a step ahead, and always informed me of things to be done that I didn't know about. I would highly recommend using Bill Sutton as your realtor.
Dylan P.❉April 22nd, 2020
A very trustworthy and professional agent. I would definitely recommend him.
Brett D.❉March 9th, 2020
Billy was a fantastic realtor. Being a first time home buyer I was a little stressed and nervous, however, Billy made it stress free and was always wiling to come whenever I needed to show me a house, or answer a phone call to explain something to me. I would definitely recommend Billy to anyone that is buying a house, first time, or fifth time!
Patrick C.❉March 6th, 2020
It was great working with Billy, He is very dedicated to his clients and will go out of his way to satisfy your needs. So if your looking for a hard working realtor Billy is your guy!!!!!
David W.❉November 1st, 2019
If i could give 10 stars I would. Billy was a perfect fit for us. He is a true professional and was very understanding of our concerns. Billy was a great listener. He was with us the entire way. You can call him anytime with question and you will get a very prompt answer. We will definitely use Billy in the future with any real estate needs that might arise. You cannot go wrong with Billy.
Dave K.❉October 26th, 2019
I've heard horror stories over the years in regards to realtors, I guess those people didn't have the right realtor because Billy Sutton did an amazing job, I was looking at houses 2 1/2 hours apart and one way or another he would always show up full of energy and full of knowledge. It's been two years and we still communicate with one another and I recommend him 100%
Jorge V.❉October 9th, 2019
Billy was a pleasure to work with. He's knowledgeable, hard working, and sold my home quickly for a great price. I highly recommend!
Andrew M.❉October 2nd, 2019
Billy is a very knowledgeable real estate agent. If you have a home to sell, give him a call.
Patricia S.❉October 1st, 2019
Billy is incredibly knowledgeable in real estate and talked me through every step of the home buying process for my first home. I went into the process well informed and confident in my decision to buy, and would recommend Billy to anybody looking to purchase a home.
Nick M.❉September 29th, 2019
Lacey is an amazing person she listens to what you want in your dream home and takes the time to find the home that is perfect for you and your family. I totally recommend her to anyone.
Tanya C.❉April 17th, 2020
Lacey was a amazing realtor she worked tirelessly to find us a house that our family would love and she knocked it out of the park. Thank you so much for the hard work you put in.
Larry G.❉March 6th, 2020
I couldn't of asked for a better person helping us with our home! She's highly professional and made sure we found our dream home. Lacey always made time for us as clients and worked so hard to make everything go as smoothly as possible.
Stephanie D.❉March 5th, 2020
Lacey is amazing! She is so patient, understanding, honest and fair! She is everything you would want in a realtor but rarely find. The home buying and selling is a whole process that can be overwhelming and almost impossible if you don't have the right person on your side. She is so caring and pays attention to details you couldn't ask for anyone better to be there with you as you make such an important decision.
Cassi P.❉September 25th, 2019
I have known Lacey for over 15 years. She is one of the most detail oriented and hardworking people I know. I have watched her help people and over again!! I would recommend her to anyone!
Amanda B.❉September 25th, 2019
Whether you’re selling or buying a home for the first time or the tenth time, we’re here to help the process go as smoothly and quickly as possible. Just let us know your real estate goals and we’ll make them happen.
We’d be happy to discuss your home for sale and answer any questions you may have about buying or selling homes in Maryland. Drop us a line or fill out the contact form today – we look forward to getting to know you!