A Story of Selling your home
Names and faces were changed to protect the innocent [and embarrassed].
The story as revealed by homeowners selling a home.
Michael and Karen Oroley had raised their children, Christopher and Ashley in their family home located in Southeast Florida. Now that the kids have grown and moved out, Michael and Karen had decided that they wanted to sell their Coral Springs home, moving closer to the beach and luxury lifestyle in east Boca Raton, Florida, where so many of their friends reside. They’ve even considered buying a vacation property to rent out over on the west coast of Florida.
This is their horror story on what they experienced in selling their home. Their story is broken down into segments for educational purposes; we’ll call it, learning about selling a home from the Oroleys.
We talk about what happened to Michael and Karen during the home selling process and what caused the resulting horror.
This is how their story begins.
The Real Estate Agent selection process
Michael and Karen did what everyone and every online article told them to do; interview several Real Estate Agents for the job. They interviewed three Agents and chose the Agent who agreed with their price that they had set for their home; after all, who knows the value of their home better than the homeowners themselves. The other two Agents had suggested lower prices based upon recent home sales, homes that were currently under contract, yet not closed and homes that were actively for sale. Michael and Karen went with the Agent offering the higher list price to sell their home in order to receive the most money and to leave some room for negotiations.
They had listed their home for sale just at the end of the school season letting out for the summer. That’s a good time, they thought. Families like to move in between when school is in session.
Preparing their home for sale
With so much going on with their business, working long hours and with not enough hours in the day, they really didn’t have much time to prepare their home for sale. Even though they had read lots of good advice on how best to prepare for selling a home from a local Real Estate Blog; Imagine Your House, they just couldn’t find the time.
Their home is lovely as it is; they’d love you to see their collection of artistic magnets that they’ve collected over the years from places they traveled to all over the world, particularly the ones from Italy – love having them plastered across the fronts and sides of their refrigerator holding up daily reminders and scheduled events to attend. They should have taken a photo to share with you.
So many south Floridians love Coral Springs, making it a city with a huge draw from home Buyers flocking to reside there. With it’s excellence in school education, parents often will do almost anything to get their children enrolled; a main reason why Michael and Karen stuck around so long.
They couldn’t wait to share their love of dinosaurs with prospective home Buyers, as who doesn’t love a dinosaur…have you seen what the Jurassic park movies did at the box office?! The last Jurassic Park movie released has become the 4th most successful movie of all time based upon global box office revenue. And, imagine what the upcoming, Jurassic World; Fallen Kingdom, soon to be released movie will gross. Anyhow, the Oroleys know their stuffed dinosaur head collection that lines the hallway wall looking like dinosaurs right out of Jurassic park will be a huge hit with prospective, visiting Buyers.
Then there were the dining room walls covered with colors from the 80’s with rust and gold, perhaps not perfect, but at least long ago they had changed out the green shag carpeting underfoot as that would have been a definite need to go, they thought. (Thank goodness is my initial thought – we had the blue shag carpeting growing up in my parent’s home and it definitely isn’t a 2018 trend – I just aged myself, didn’t I?!) It didn’t matter anyhow as they had no plans of repainting the walls.
Michael and Karen just couldn’t be bothered too much…even though they understood well, that the cost of doing so would be minimal. No, couldn’t be bothered. With too many business days being extended well into the evening hours and with their busy lifestyle, there just isn’t any time left over for such tasks of preparing a home for sale. They’ll have their cleaning gals do their unusual cleaning and that will be fine. Too bad they couldn’t tackle the outdoors too. They’ve used the gals for years, and they do a decent job. Anything for the Oroleys to not have to tackle. Thank goodness they could always afford the luxury of having their home cleaned.
Making repairs to their home
Over the years many of the little projects around their home that needed to be taken care from time to time, just seemed to get ignored and pushed out until they became an acceptable feature of their home. Living with the loose cabinet hinges, missing screws from outlet covers, dirty air conditioning vent covers overhead, missing and worn out grout lines from bathtubs and more was the norm in the Oroley’s home. They had just upgraded their master bathroom a few years ago too and there’s been missing grout lines ever since. Guess their hired contractor did a less than stellar job. (That’s a whole other topic; How to hire a contractor for your home remodeling.)
All of those little projects needing to be tackled – flashing their apparent lack of home maintenance over the years. They had never meant to do it that way and with their next home they both discussed how it will be different…they definitely won’t ignore the maintenance. It just piles up and before you know it, years go by. They feel pretty confident that the new home Buyer will likely be handy and can take care of these little things once they move in – no big deal… or the new Buyers will just pay to have it taken care of for themselves. Michael and Karen could do it, but just don’t want to be bothered (you heard what they said before).
The receipt of a Buyer’s offer for their home
Their home had been listed for sale with the showings scheduled to occur Monday – Friday from 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. with Thursday allowing showings past 4:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. Then Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. – perfect times to view homes, they thought. Perfect for them anyway.
Then they waited. Why was it taking so long to receive a Buyer’s offer? Michael and Karen would lay awake at night wondering when they’d get a Buyer’s offer for their home. After the first few weeks went by with quite a bit of showings, weeks then went by without any showings, other than a few here and there. That had made them very anxious early on during their home selling process. They had just wanted to get started in the next phase of their life now that Christopher and Ashley, their kids, are grown and had moved out starting families of their own. They wanted to buy a home in east Boca Raton and already found a Keller Williams Realty Realtor to help.
Anyhow, despite the long wait of 7 months to finally get to being under contract, they felt some relief (even with three price reductions beforehand).
The Buyer was financing their home purchase. They had sent over a contract along with a pre qualification letter from a Mortgage Lender. The letter indicated that the Buyer was approved for a $575,000 home purchase. The letter didn’t go into too much detail about the home Buyer’s credit report, their income or assets. It simply said “Congratulations – you’re qualified to buy a home for $575,000”. Okay, that’s good they thought, they’re qualified by their Lender to buy a home for $575,000 and their home is priced for $573,000.
Their home’s inspection
The Buyers inspections was set for 15 days out. More waiting, they thought. Why does it take them 15 days before they complete a home inspection?, Michael and Karen questioned…they hate waiting. Nonetheless, they waited. The Buyers showed up with their Real Estate Agent and the Inspector. Michael and Karen attended the home inspection too.
The Inspector was very thorough and completed his inspection in about 3 hours. Yes, inspections do take a bit of time and with larger homes, you can expect an even longer time frame.
So the home is good, Michael and Karen were thinking. They couldn’t imagine anything wrong with their home, other than the few items that needed repairing that they never got around to fixing as they told us about above. Hold on…it didn’t go exactly as they thought it would.
The Inspector revealed that the missing grout in their Master bathroom’s bathtub likely caused running water to seep into the openings over time that created a weakened tiled wall that will need to be replaced and the Inspector only hoped there was no mold growing behind the walls. What?! How could this be…it was just a little needed grout that was missing. Remember, they had mentioned this before. They knew it needed repairing.
The Buyer wanted a $3500 credit to repair the bathroom as they assumed the damage will likely be extensive. $3500! They don’t want to give up $3500! “That’s crazy”, Michael said raising his voice in the heated moment,”...just fill in the grout line and be done with it…”. Back and forth the bickering went and if Michael and Karen didn’t provide the credit, the Buyers weren’t going to buy the home, replied the home Buyers. Period.
So they’ve had their home on the market for sale for months on end and now they’re faced with having having to fork out $3500, essentially further reducing their net amount by another $3500. They weren’t at all happy.
Buyer couldn’t get financing and home sale fell through.
“Oh my, are you kidding us?!”, Michael and Karen gasped. This Buyer couldn’t get a mortgage?! They thought their pre qualification letter indicated that they were all set with obtaining a mortgage… no?!
“We have to start all over again and find a new Buyer?! This can’t be happening to us. We just want to sell our home and move. Move to east Boca Raton to buy a home”. They were so depressed as this horror played out in their minds..
Back on the market to find a new Buyer for their home.
What were the main causes of Michael and Karen’s horror experienced in selling their home? Did you pick up on anything where they made their mistakes that resulted in their horror? Did the lights go off for you? What could they have done differently?
Let’s break it down to discover how they could have avoided the horror.
The effect of their Real Estate Agent Selection
This was huge. Let me explain on a number of fronts.
In regards to the list price.
They chose a Real Estate Agent who essentially “bought” Michael and Karen’s home listing. The Agent likely knew that the price they wanted to sell their home for was too high, yet knew eventually price reductions would be needed, so the Agent would just hang around until the price reductions were needed; 3 price reductions later. This is a homes sale pricing strategy often utilized that results in homes selling for less money than had they listed the home at the “right” lower price (true fair market value) to begin with when selling their home. The best way to view this principle is with the graphic below. You’ll see the importance of pricing a home right from the onset. A home priced right at the beginning will elicit a lot of interest from home Buyers waiting for a new home to come to market. This is true even more so in a particularly local market that is experiencing a tight inventory. This is commonplace in many cities nationwide and is so in Coral Springs Florida.
In addition, a home that has been priced right within a particular price range will attract Buyers that are searching for homes in that price range and those that will be qualified to buy within that price range.
Your home will be competing with other homes priced within the same price range. If a home Buyer comes to a home that is priced at their qualified price point and they see that this home has less desirable features, than comparable homes with more desirable features, why would they pay you the price you’re asking when they could buy a comparable home with better features for the same price as your home? They wouldn’t. They’ll buy your competition.
A home priced right and presented well, will stick out to the masses of home Buyers generating prompt showings with offers coming soon thereafter, quite often within just the first few weeks of being new to the market.
Did you know that according to the 2017 National Association of REALTORSⓇ Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers that the typical home sold was on the market for 3 weeks.
In regards to preparing their home for sale.
You’ll see that how a Real Estate Agent is selected will play right into the effect of how they prepared their home for sale, as discussed below.
In regards to maintaining their home.
Again, you’ll see that how a Real Estate Agent is selected will play right into the effect of their home maintenance plan, as discussed below.
In regards to the home inspection.
Yes, again, you’ll see that how a Real Estate Agent is selected will play right into the effect of their home inspection, as discussed below.
In regards to the Buyer they chose for their home.
And, yes, but again. You’ll see that how a Real Estate Agent is selected will play right into the effect of the Buyer they chose, as discussed below.
Wrong Real Estate Agent selection. Delayed home sale. Issues, yes issues. Lower sales price.
The effect of how they prepared their home for sale
Remember how they couldn’t be bothered about doing any home preparations? Do you think they’re thinking twice now about their lack of home preparation? What about the 80’s paint – any suggestions?
They should have received suggestions from their Agent on how best to prepare their home for sale from helpful curb appeal ideas for the front yard and your backyard, to sprucing their home up on the inside which includes; cleaning, organizing and decluttering. There’s a lot to do that can make a world of difference in appealing to prospective home Buyers.
“Real Estate Agents that don’t offer useful home preparation advice should be a red flag when selling a home” – Lynn Pineda
For starters, the Agent could have recommended the 80’s paint color be changed, remove the clutter; such as the magnets holding up papers across refrigerator and by all means remove the dinosaur heads.
We know Michael and Karen adored their stuffed dinosaur heads, yet the masses may not and why risk alienating just one prospective home Buyer when you’re trying to sell a home? Anything that is potentially offensive, should be packed away – you have to pack everything up anyway, so why not get a head start.
Paint colors should always be neutralized to avoid the Buyer having a reason to offer a home Seller a lower purchase price for their home, due to thinking that they’ll have to paint that vivid wall paint color that is not going to go with their decor at all.
Busyness that is detectable in clutter and collections will not bring out soothing surroundings for home Buyers. Minimalism is always best allowing a home Buyer to envision their lifestyle and their family living at the home; home Sellers should make it easy for the Buyers to imagine what it will be like making new moments in their home….their moments. Their memories. Their lifestyle.
The effect of their home maintenance plan
Talk about a glaring light when it had come to the home Buyer’s at inspection time. Remember all those things they always meant to get done that needed repairing? Well, they sure did pop up at inspection time as discussed above and look what Michael and Karen where then faced with having to address. What seemed like a little thing to them at the time, actually became a big deal.
Also, recommendations to fix all the little things that had been neglected over the years. Neglected items visible to prospective home Buyers simply screams that that home has likely not been maintained very well over the years. Many home Buyers use that to offer a home Seller a lower price that will be well below what it would actually have cost to make the nominal repairs.
The effect of their home inspection
The Agent should have suggested to Michael and Karen that it’s best to not attend the inspection. The reasoning behind; inspections can get a little nerve wracking if needed repairs are revealed and with all parties present you don’t want anyone saying something they later regret that can result in lost monies. It’s best to leave the inspection results discussions between the two Agent’s representing both parties to the transaction. The $3500 that the Buyers had demanded might not have occurred if Michael didn’t get the Buyer bent out of shape with his anger. And, it’s likely, a much lower amount could have been negotiated had you hired a Agent skilled at negotiations.
Also, why accept a 15 day inspection period when Michael and Karen had already waited so long for their home to sell. If I had to bet, and I’m not a betting woman, but I would imagine the Buyers would have been okay with a shortened inspection period. Here in southeast Florida our standard default on our Real Estate contracts is to allow 15 days, yet the field is blank allowing any number of days to be filled in for the inspection time period. Why 15 days you wonder?… it’s just one of those things in Real Estate that just are…just because and likely answered in the book of totally useless information in Real Estate (hmmm, now that’s an idea for an upcoming article).
The effect of the Buyer they chose for their home
Next time, Michael and Karen wanted to get a better assurance of the Buyer’s ability to secure a mortgage. They did some research and came across this article that tells of the importance of a Mortgage Pre Approval letter; “Why do I need to get a Mortgage Pre Approval?”. They made sure that their Agent got this.
When 87% of home Buyers purchasing their primary residence used a mortgage*, it’s more important than ever to ensure their financing qualifications.
One thing after another amounts to a failed home sale. Actually, it’s the domino effect of a horrific home sale. Michael and Karen’s story illustrated what can happen when steps during the home selling process go terribly wrong. The errors of their ways.
Instead of letting the domino effect result in something horrific, let you dominos begin and end with getting it right and avoid any horror in selling a home.
Would you like to read some more helpful home selling resources in addition to those highlighted within the article? Find more below:
Home Seller’s biggest regrets from Realtor.com
Home Selling mistakes to avoid by Karen Highland
Home Selling Myths by Xavier De Buck
Why is your home not getting any showings by Kevin Vitali
Timely Closing Tips by Michelle Gibson
Be sure to leave a comment in the comment section. Share your experiences or ask your questions.
Today’s Real Estate article “How to avoid the horror experienced in selling your home” was written by Lynn Pineda, a licensed, top Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Realty serving southeast Florida. You’ll find Lynn selling homes in Southeast Florida in the cities of Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, Coral Springs, Delray Beach, Coconut Creek, Deerfield Beach, Margate, Parkland, Pompano Beach, Tamarac, Sunrise, Plantation and Ft Lauderdale areas within Broward and Palm Beach counties. You’ll find Lynn selling homes from Boca Raton to Coral Springs and around since 2005. Real Estate promises delivered.
Are you ready to sell your home and need a proven Real Estate professional to guide you? Call/Text Lynn Pineda at 954-464-1100 or email at LynnP@ImagineYourHouse.com to avoid the horror in selling your home.
2017 NAR Investment and Vacation Home Buyer’s Survey
NAR Quick Real Estate statistics