Selling A House Quick

I choose to take on a listing based on how well I connect with the homeowners and if I believe the property will sell. To me, the relationship must come first. Is the homeowner open to my suggestions and guidance? If so, selling a house quick is a whole lot easier to achieve.

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I’ve been in situations where the biggest obstacle to selling a beautiful house was the homeowner. That wastes everyone’s time and my money. It doesn’t take long to learn you have to be more discerning in this business.

A True Account

Here’s a true story I believe will give you some insight into what can go on behind the scenes to selling a house.

Last year, I listed a family home located in Howell, MI.  This particular listing took nearly three years in the making. Although there are many agents out there who would not have invested three years worth of time and energy for a listing of $214K, and commission less than $4K, I’m not like most people.

You see, apart from the occasional phone call, email, holiday cards and letters, the effort cost me little. It’s during that time I built a strong relationship with my clients that lasts well past the closing.

I got to know Jane and Mary, two sisters who lived in the home owned by their parents since 1970s. Both were well into their 60’s. Jane worked at a bank in Howell, off Grand River which is now the new location of my broker Keller Williams Realty Livingston as of September 2017.

Mary is a retired school teacher who lived in Illinois and whose son and fiance still reside. She came back to Howell to help Jane prepare the house for sale over a year ago. Jane’s health problems were serious and she’s decided to move to Kansas where another sister lived and have access to better medical care.

Initially, they contacted me having every intention of selling their family home three years prior but Jane’s health problems flared up and she was out of action for nearly two years.

We first met when they invited me to their home. As is often the case, my husband accompanied me. Turns out they previously interviewed three other agents.  The meeting was very casual and relaxed. The fair market value for the home at that time was $180K.

They are the perfect clients. They often asked my advice on how to best prepare the home for sale and followed through with all of it. I had suggested they hire a home inspector to help identify any hidden issues. Sure enough the inspection identified some electrical updates were needed and a few other minor things were taken care of.

“The Ladies”, a term of indearment I like to refer to them, were always asking for more advice over the years. Should we pull out the carpet in the living room and reveal the wood floor? Should we paint? What color do you think we should use? What about the garden? To my pleasant surprise, they did it all.

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The family home had accumulated years worth of furniture and things. The house was stuffed to the gills with it. So I suggested they look into conducting an estate sale. That helped them eliminate over 80% of things, a big success. What they couldn’t sell, they donated to Salvation Army and Habitat for Humanity or gave away to family and friends.

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Let The Games Begin

Although a little dated, I wasn’t at all worried about whether or not the property would sell. It was ideally located in central Howell, walking distance to local bank, restaurants, schools and downtown area.

It was a well-maintained home with 4BD/2BA, finished basement with wet bar and 2 fireplaces, a Florida room and hardwood floors throughout. The house was on a quiet street in a well-established neighborhood just three blocks from Grand River.

It was 2018, a seller’s market. Competition for these homes has been fierce all year long. I was pretty confident we would have multiple offers quickly. I talk about the challenges new home buyers face in my blog “Cat Fight! Buyers Forced To Bid On Multiple Homes“. 

Their hard work paid off, within a week we had three very competitive offers. Given that home appreciation was high and we were still in a Seller’s Market in 2018, I valued their home at $209K – $215K based on most recent comparables. We decided to list at $214K. 

Multiple Offers

Within the first week, two offers came in at full-price with pre-approval letters. The third, a cash offer, came in last minute just over asking at $216K. 

Buyer number one already had a cash buyer for her existing residence with a closing date in three weeks and possession until December 7th.

She was under a lot of pressure to find a new home and Howell was the ideal location for her. She had a letter from Ann Arbor lender saying they had verified her income and she was pre-approved up to $238K. I was texting back and forth with her agent who was very responsive and attentive. I knew it would easy working with her.

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Buyer number two were first time home buyers with Quicken Loans pre-approval. They knew Howell very well and had family just ten minutes away. 

Like the first agent, this agent also took the time to call me and explain their motivation for a home. Communication with their agent was easy. The buyers were looking for a home where they could start a family. I could picture that home with little children running around the house and garden.

More Than Meets The Eye

I was confident that each of these agents was professional and be a pleasure to work with. That’s something most people don’t even think about. Sometimes it’s the agent’s communication or lack thereof that can win or lose the day for their client.

How do you know if your real estate agent will work hard for you? Well, there are certain signs that eventually come up. For instance, does it often take a long time for your questions and requests to be answered? Do they voluntarily provide you with disclosures at each showing when made available by the listing agent? Do they attempt to call the listing prior to your showing to get some more background information and try to determine seller’s motivation and triggers? Check out My Top 3 Home Buyer Winning Strategies.

An agent who willingly takes the initiative is easy to get a hold of and acts quickly is worth his/her weight in gold. Chances are they will go the extra mile for you during negotiations.

Other Factors Considered

Price isn’t always the main trigger, quite often it’s also time and willingness to provide the seller with a little flexibility. Oftentimes, sellers find a buyer for their existing home before they’ve found a new home for themselves. Uprooting yourself and your family is no small matter.

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If the sellers are elderly, they will need more time. Keep in mind they’ve likely accumulated years worth of stuff and will need to figure out how to offload all those things. As was the case with my sellers.

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Buyer number three was a cash buyer. There wasn’t much information forthcoming from the agent regarding this buyer. Questions went unanswered by the agent so I was cautious. Proof of funds was sent hours after the deadline.

I’ve had some experience with cash offers. When in a hot seller’s market, some cash buyers employ a strategy to go in well over the asking price to win the bid and get the property under contract and off the market. Then during an inspection, they bring up all kinds of gripes and demand a large price reduction or they walk. The fact that the agent was almost “non-responsive” also raised some concerns in my mind. Which I did share with my sellers.

And The Winner Is….

So which buyer won the bid? The single woman in a time crunch, the married couple looking to start a family or the mysterious cash buyer who came in well over the other two bids? Can you guess?

It wasn’t an easy choice, that’s for sure and I did not envy the homeowners. I gave them all the time they needed with me.

As predicted, they were initially intrigued by the cash offer but it came with some limitations that the others did not. In the end, it was those same limitations that caused them to put it aside. The cash buyer wanted my sellers to pay $425 towards a home warranty.

Also, it was the buyer’s seeming unwillingness to allow any extra time after the closing should the sellers need it. Like most cash buyers, this one wanted to close quick which placed too much pressure for the sellers. Lack of communication from the buyer’s agent didn’t help. Questions I had asked the agent were left unanswered.

Related: Tips To Sell Your House Fast

Although we all liked the idea of a young family filling the 4 bedroom home again, it was the first buyer that was selected. The single woman with an approaching closing on her existing residence. In fact, it was that very fact that convinced us this was the better offer. This buyer had already negotiated occupancy after the closing of her existing residence that provided my sellers with the extra time they needed.

Some background about this particular buyer. This buyer had submitted a previous offer of $200K for the property. The property was listed less then a week at $214K and I encouraged the ladies to counter, which they did at $210K. The buyer was not impressed and came back at $204K at which time I knew there were three more showings scheduled for the next day.

The Ladies requested 24 hours to discuss her offer with family. Sure enough, by mid-day the following day, I had a full-price offer in hand from the young couple, buyer number two. 

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Having a full-price offer in hand, I contacted the first buyers’ agent and let her know that another offer had come in. She immediately asked if she could resubmit a revised offer which of course, I had no issue with.  Sure enough, her revised offer was a big improvement over the first offer of $200K. 

It surprises me how few agents will use the leverage of two or more offers to get a better deal for their sellers. More often than not, the listing agent will say nothing to the first buyer’s agent and simply present both offers as is. A missed opportunity!

The revised offer came in at full price with the added bonus that the buyer was offering $1K over the highest bid. The cash offer was $216K, the first buyer won the bid at $217K.  Putting in that one extra sentence in the contract, raised her offer over all the others and won the day.

Related: Buyer’s Lost The Bid But Won The House

Leave A Comment

I sure hope you found this account informative. You may have some questions, so please don’t hesitate to ask. Also, I invite you to share your own experiences as a home buyer and/or seller here to the benefit of others.

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2 Responses

  1. Wow. Thanks for sharing your experience in selling the house. Great blog by the way.

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