We pride ourselves on working with conscientious real estate agents who share our commitment to creating a transparent sales process for buyers and sellers alike. That’s why we feel so strongly about the importance of making sure sellers understand the many “hard costs” and “intangible costs” related to the sale of their property.
As evidence of this commitment, we offer a “Seller Net Proceeds Sheet” to our agents and the sellers they represent (more on this below). We also encourage agents to share with sellers as much information as possible about the many expenses they’ll likely incur along the way.
First and foremost, of course, is the cost of any renovations in the house. You know better than most the level of expectations buyers have these days. They expect the houses you show them to be, in most cases, “move-in-ready.” What this means for the seller is the need to renovate older areas of the house (especially the kitchen and bathrooms). In general, a fresh paint job for both the interior and exterior is necessary as this helps present the property in the best light.
Next up: Staging. Every real estate agent has his or her opinion on the benefits of home restaging, but it should always be considered (and the costs outlined to the seller). Staging helps would-be buyers to envision themselves living in the house; it also helps generate the best marketing materials (photography, fliers, etc.). A professional stager can do wonders with a house that otherwise presents poorly, so it may well be worth the money needed to hire one. It may even help boost the asking price.
Inspections represent another significant expense. Some real estate agents advise sellers to pay for an assessment of the house before putting it on the market, especially if the property hasn’t been inspected for a long time. This helps avoid any unpleasant surprises later on.
Your clients should be fully apprised of the commissions they’re expected to pay to both you and the buyer’s agent. There are also these frequently incurred expenses:
- Extra homeowner’s insurance, in the event the house is vacant during the sales process
- Additional utilities (heat and lighting) if the sellers move out
- Title search fees and notary fees
- Closing costs, including escrow company fees, property recording and transfer tax (where applicable) etc.
This is where you can perform an invaluable additional service to your clients. Give them an approximate idea of the intangibles relating to the selling process—the time required to show the property, expenses they may incur while they’re out of the house, the time and effort involved in communicating with you and others involved in the sales process. Most first-time sellers (and even veterans) underestimate the time, money and energy the sales process entails.
New Venture Escrow is ready to do our part in communicating the real costs to the sellers. We offer a “Seller Net Proceeds Sheet” to our agents, as well as sellers. This form enables you to sit with potential clients and review estimated costs they’re likely see. It also offers clarity to sellers with questions about escrow, taxes, inspections, etc.
The process of selling a house is complicated enough, without throwing in a lot of unpleasant surprises. When you provide your clients with an accurate picture of the time and expense involved, you’re demonstrating the best kind of service available. Their favorable experience translates into loyal, repeat customers—and what’s better for your business than that?