You’re feeling accomplished…you were able to contract with the best realtor in the area and you followed all of his recommendations for improvements and repairs. You’ve had the home staged professionally, and now you’re ready for the offers to roll in. But what should you expect now? What’s going on behind the scene?
The agent you hired has gathered all of the significant information about your property, all the pertinent specifics that a buyer will want to know. He has noted the type of heating/air conditioning the home has, the sizes of each room, the property tax bill, the average monthly cost for utilities, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and any HOA fees that might be applicable. Every detail has been taken into consideration and the agent has entered those details to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). As soon as this happens, all licensed realtors and brokers have access to the information about your property and know that they can show their clients your home if the details of your property might be the perfect fit for their clients.
Right away, your realtor will post a sign in your yard that advertises the property and often a box for letter-sized brochures will be attached to the post; it will contain a descriptor of the home, most often the asking price, and pictures of the exterior and sometimes interior. Your agent will cover the cost of any expenditures for advertising your property, including the sign, the brochures, online submissions, and possibly advertising in the local newspaper. He may also reach out to other realtors in his office, or have a showing to other brokers. For this reason, it is helpful if you allow a lockbox to be placed on your door so potential buyers, along with their agents, can see the home on short notice.
Once your home hits the market, you’ll need to keep the property staged, clean, and clutter free at all times. No longer can you leave the dishes in the sink or the dirty clothes on the laundry room floor; you have to be ready to take a trip across town to visit your mom or head out to a movie you’ve been wanting to see. When the realtor calls to ask permission to show your house, you want those possible buyers to have quick access, without you present, and offer a time when the buyers can calmly browse and communicate openly with each other and with their agent. Your agent may also schedule an open house in which the public can see your home. These usually last four or five hours and provide a comfortable visit to possible buyers.
You’ll have the most foot traffic within the first few weeks of listing. Your property will hit the MLS and brokers will want to check out the new kid on the block. If no offers are given in that first month, your agent may want to make suggestions for adjustments. These might be based on feedback they’ve received from clients who visited an open house, or from other brokers. There may be some problems that neither you nor the agent foresaw prior to listing that need to be addressed; it’s even possible you may need to adjust your asking price or offer an incentive to buyers. Zillow reports that houses are normally on the market for two to three months, but in the Tri-Cities area this year, the average days before an offer is accepted is less than 30. So, once you list your house for sale and that sign goes up in the front yard, buckle up and get ready for the ride!