Most sellers don’t deal with real estate on a daily basis, and they are looking to you for professional guidance. With the spring market in full swing, set expectations early to help your sellers have a stress-free selling season.

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What a time it is to be a homeowner! Low inventory, high demand and favorable interest rates are coming together to create a robust seller’s market we haven’t seen in quite some time.

It would be easy to think that a seller could not lose in this market, but that simply isn’t true. As the saying goes, “Those who fail to prepare, prepare to fail.”

You could make the case that in this market, the stakes are even higher for ensuring that sellers are making sound decisions that will yield them the best results. Here are four practical and easy ways to set expectations with sellers, and help them have a stellar spring season.

1. Establish a game plan

As professionals, we know just how active buyers have been this season. From shortened days on market to multiple-offer situations, it’s safe to say that if these trends continue, your future listings will most likely partake in the same level of action.

From the get-go, it’s important to establish a game plan with your selling clients. What are your protocols going to be for showings and overlapping appointments? Yes, vaccinations are going up, but some level of COVID-safety procedures should still be followed.

How will you handle multiple offers? Will you set a deadline for best and finals, or decide as they come in? What will be the communication method with cooperating agents to keep them in the loop? Will your client allow escalation clauses?

With so many “what ifs” to consider, working out the details with your sellers early on before ever hitting the market will not only ensure a smooth transaction but increase your level of professionalism amongst your clients and peers as well.

2. First impressions are everything

If there ever was a time to stress this to sellers, it most certainly is now. Especially if they want to increase their chances at potentially getting a premium for their property.

Low inventory does not necessarily mean you can just put a house on the market in any condition and get the price you want. There’s still work to be done, and if addressed ahead of time, your selling clients may find themselves in a highly favorable position.

If there are rooms that need to be decluttered or you notice some repairs that sellers would benefit from addressing, bring those issues to their attention. Better it be you than a prospective buyer, who may start noticing other things — which can eventually add up.

3. Be a realist

One of the fiduciary duties we have to clients is honesty. Desperate times can cause unethical practices, but when the pressure is on, the cream of the crop will rise to the challenge.

Throwing out a number you think your sellers will want to hear (and land you the listing) will not only hurt you in the long run but the seller as well, especially if there’s no data to support it.

Be realistic about pricing and where the property would be best positioned. You want prospective buyers to see the value in the home, not feel like they’re paying an inflated price that will come back to bite them down the road. Additionally, you may have to factor in things like appraisal contingencies and if the property will even meet its agreed-upon value.

4. Cover your bases

One common question I’m sure many of us have gotten from sellers is: “How long do you think we’ll be on the market?” While in some circumstances we may know this answer, for the majority of transactions, we probably won’t.

As a result, it’s important to cover your bases. No one wants to have the property that isn’t selling for whatever reason, especially in the hot season that we are in and moving deeper into.

But in the off chance that is your predicament, having this conversation early on with a seller before going live will make navigating the hurdles much easier.

Whether creating a price adjustment schedule based on days on market, addressing sensible cosmetic issues, or something more detailed such as writing a contingency for the seller’s next property, providing your client with options for different scenarios further shows your value and keeps you both on the same page. 

Most sellers don’t deal with real estate on a daily basis, and they are looking to us for professional guidance. They want to know how to approach certain situations, and more importantly, they want us to take the lead. Communicating early on prepares everyone and lessens the chances of surprises and unknowns. With the spring market in full swing, set expectations early to help your sellers have an amazing selling season.

Anthony West is a real estate agent, the founder of The Luxury Life KC at Moffitt Realty, and an entrepreneur in Kansas City.

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