FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS AS A SELLER
How much do you charge?
The only upfront cost is a non-refundable $350 marketing fee. You may cancel the listing agreement at any time, for any reason, up to the moment we execute a contract on your property, with this non-refundable fee as your only “penalty.” When we successfully close on your property, we will charge you a 6% commission, which will be split with your buyer’s agent. On average, our investment in an individual listing is $1,000 between staging consultation, professional photography and floorplan production, digital marketing initiatives, and physical marketing materials.
What’s staging, and why do I need it?
The process of selling begins with transforming your property from your home into a “blank canvas” product, upon which potential buyers can easily envision their own daily lives. This often involves any of the following, which we consider “staging:”
- Rearranging furniture to maximize a space and show its best use
- “Editing” the space: removing clutter, unnecessary clothing or accessories, and organizing spaces such as closets and cabinets
- Bringing in additional elements to enhance the aesthetic, such as pillows, blankets, accessories, or art
- Discussing light renovations, such as fresh paint, resurfacing floors, or new lighting fixtures
- Discussing larger renovations, such as remodeling kitchens and bathrooms, or adjusting a layout
Homes that undergo this process in earnest sell for more and with shorter market times, in our experience. Ultimately, these efforts enhance our ability to engage a buyer’s emotional attachment to your home in the 15 minutes or so that they spend in a showing.
What’s the deal with disclosures?
By law, we must disclose any latent defects in your home of which you are aware. The Illinois Real Property Disclosure will ask you a series of questions you must answer honestly. However, we only need to disclose ongoing issues. If you resolve an issue, we don’t need to disclose it. Thus, we typically advise clients to take stock of what is “broken,” or not functioning property, and consider rectifying these problems before we present them to the buyer.
I’ve heard this is a seller’s market. What does that mean?
We will review with you the current market conditions, but it’s been generally true for the past 6 years that inventory is at a particularly low point. This results in increased demand, as buyers compete over the limited options. However, we’ve also begun seeing a shift in the perspective of buyers. Appraisals, which are required by any lender issuing loans to a buyer, act as a check on how quickly prices can rise. And buyers these days are displaying a dwindling capacity for properties that aren’t in excellent condition. (This is likely because they are paying ever-higher prices for properties.)
What can I expect once we’re on the market?
We lean forward on communication. We request buyers’ agents to request with 24-hours’ notice for showings, so that we can give you day-before notice of all showings. You can let us know how you’d like us to notify you, either by text message, email, or phone call. You are always free to deny showing requests that are prohibitively inconvenient. If you know your home will be unavailable during a certain time frame, we can/should advertise this limitation on the MLS.
Preparations for showings include:
- Set the HVAC to a comfortable temperature, around 68-72 degrees.
- Turn on ALL lights.
- Secure all pets.
- Open all window dressings.
- In the kitchen: store all dirty utensils and dishes, wipe down surfaces, and store non-essential (or pretty) elements, such as paper towels, soap dispensers, etc.
- In the bathroom: store all personal grooming elements out of sight, wipe down surfaces and flush toilets
- In the bedroom: make the bed, straighten accessories, such as pillows, and store all dirty laundry
- Outdoor spaces: store unnecessary or unsightly equipment, straighten accessories, such as pillows, and clear the space of any debris, such as leaves and trash
- Buyers will likely open cabinets and closets, so prepare accordingly!
Following the showing, the buyer’s agent will receive a request for feedback. On a weekly basis, we will summarize this information for you in whatever way you prefer—email or phone conversation. We have found that immediate feedback after individual showings is often inaccurate and an inefficient way to understand how the market is responding to your property.