We’ve been discussing it for well over a year. My wife has wanted to sell the house. It’s time to downsize, she argued. Let’s get out of the suburbs and get more urban, she said. But, in this case, I was the more emotional one. I wasn’t ready to let go. The roof leaked, so we put on a new one late last year. She reasoned that would increase the value and make it easier to sell. Finally, in January, she convinced me. We would sell. But, now, my experience and expertise would have to take over. We would wait until school let out to catch the right time for buyers. That would also give us time to clean up and make a few more cosmetic repairs. We were in agreement and moving forward.
During this time, the discussions were intense. How much could we get, she pondered. I had been watching property values for years and I gave her my reasoned opinion. “No way” she contended. We had no pool, there was so much that she would do to our house and therefore, any buyer would do, that no one would pay that much for the house. I responded that we had kept a clean house, fresh paint, new appliances and air conditioning units, modern kitchen and bathrooms. The house was move in ready. Aside from carpet cleaning or replacement, there is nothing to do that would affect the value, no pool and “ugly” back yard notwithstanding.
During the 6 month lead in to the time to sell, she insisted we call our real estate agent to give her a “heads up”. She was so anxious to get this done. “Why?” I asked. So she could prepare. I assured my wife that the agent didn’t need 6 month prep time. So, a couple months ago, we called our handy man to do some repairs and when he was finished, we made the call. On the Sunday before Father’s Day, our agent came to the house armed with comps and statistics. What she told us was that our house was beautiful and in perfect shape to show. The comps were even higher than I thought they would be and that she believed we could get AT LEAST $5,000 more than I had estimated that we could get. She suggested listing the house slightly higher than the highest comp. We were exactly on the same page. My wife was surprised but very pleased.
The house would go on MLS sometime Thursday. I told my wife that the house would be shown that very weekend – Father’s Day weekend. She said absolutely not. It was too quick and it was Father’s Day. The listing hit about dinner time Thursday. The first showing was Friday morning. There were 3 or 4 more showings Saturday. Our agent told us that we would have an offer by Monday. I told my wife that this would be over by the middle of the week, as did the agent. The offer came in higher than either of us predicted and we countered so as to get nearly our asking price.
While my wife was surprised, our agent and I knew all along how this would play out. There was almost no inventory in our neighborhood, which is a very desirable area for families. Schools are great. Young families want to be here. Our new roof and appliances add tremendous value. Our agent recognized this and highlighted the listing to reflect this.
We have a very short time to get our act together and find a new place. But because we were so much in synch with our agent, I am confident we will be on this process as well. I am a real estate attorney and I know the business as well as anybody. Realistically, I could have sold our house with anyone doing the listing and handling the contract. But the truth is, having a good agent who understands you, your needs and your property can make the process so much easier and stress free. And, from my perspective, it gave me validation and will continue to give me validation as we get through the closing. Choose your agents wisely. They can be gems.