Selling your home can be an emotional process. However, it’s important not to let your emotions cloud your judgment in the face of what is ultimately a financial decision. With that in mind, I’ve laid out five etiquette rules that every seller should know. Follow these rules to make sure that your emotions aren’t getting the best of you.
1. Make sure your house is ready for its close up
First, it almost goes without saying, but when you’re selling your home, it needs to look its best. To that end, you’re going to want to make sure that your home is in tip-top shape before your agent comes through to take photos or any prospective buyers come through for a showing.
Before your home hits the market, take the time to finish any of those lingering home repairs that have been sitting on your to-do list for a while. Then, consider hiring professional cleaners to come in and give the place a good scrub down. Lastly, do your best to declutter your home and to start putting away any personal items.
2. Be flexible about showings and give prospective buyers some space
There’s no getting around the fact that accommodating showings can be a little bit of a hassle for sellers. After all, when balancing a busy schedule, it’s hard to pick up and leave your home, especially when you’re given little notice beforehand. However, it’s crucial to be as flexible as possible where showings are concerned. The more people who are able to come through your home, the greater your chances are of getting an offer.
In light of that, be sure to accommodate as many showings as possible and to leave the house during those times in order to give buyers the space they need to really get a feel for your home. If at all possible, take your pets with you, so that they don’t create any distractions.
3. Respond quickly to any offers
Once you get an offer on your home, it’s important to do your best to respond to it quickly. Typically, the agreement of sale that’s submitted as part of the offer will require a response within a certain time frame, usually 24-48 hours. However, your goal should be to get back to the buyer as soon as possible.
That said, you’ll also want to take the time to think through the offer and make sure it meets your bottom line. Making a decision quickly is polite, but these decisions shouldn’t be taken lightly either. If you feel like you need more time to respond, let your listing agent know as soon as possible and he or she will try to negotiate an extension.
4. Don’t be insulted if you get a low-ball offer
Too often, sellers get insulted when they see that they’ve received a low-ball offer and their initial reaction is not to try to negotiate at all. However, taking this path could lead to missing out on a good opportunity. Often, buyers who make low-ball offers are new to the process and don’t know that their offers are insulting.
To that end, it’s best to try and take the emotion out of the equation. Ask your agent how they offer falls in line with the fair market value of your home and see how it works with your bottom line. Then, respond with a figure that you think is fair. In all likelihood, the prospective buyers will be willing to work with you, but even if they walk away, you’ll know that you gave the offer your best shot.
5. Be open to reasonable repair requests
After you’ve accepted an offer, the next step is negotiating repairs after any inspections. As the seller, your best bet is to be open to these requests and to respond to anything reasonable. Odds are, if the repair affects the functionality of the home, you’ll have to deal with it anyway before you sell, regardless of who the buyer ends up being.
As far as what’s reasonable, ask your agent for advice. Alternatively, you can also ask for a copy of the home inspection report and read over it yourself. As a rule of thumb, structural and functional repairs are usually considered responsible while improvements and cosmetic repairs are not.