By Ron Wynn
Everyone hopes for the perfect real estate transaction. A perfect real estate transaction is one without a single problem from start to finish. Although a good realtor should be able to mitigate most problems, things do come up. Selling a home can be a stressful experience. When you select a real estate agent, one of the most important things to anticipate is, who will be the best and most proactive at mitigating or handling problems before they come up. A real estate transaction can be broken down into 6 stressful stages.
1. Preparing the house for sale. Although some people will sell their home “as is” with no or minimal staging, equally there are situations more advantageous to make some repairs, freshen it up, and stage. A good real estate agent will know how to guide you through the process, without adding stress to your life. If you are still living in your house, it makes it more difficult; especially if you have children and pets. A good real estate agent will guide you through the process and provide recommendations, to keep the process comfortable
2. Showing the house. Showings can be stressful because a house needs to look good when it is shown, which can be especially challenging if you are still living in your house. You might’ve stayed up late doing homework with your kids or you have a non-cooperative dog. It can be stressful to deal with everything, including cooking and housekeeping, while the house needs to be ready with a moment’s notice. A good real estate agent is able to schedule times that work for you in order to add some comfort to your life. They would have these discussions with you in advance.
3. Qualifying the client. It can be stressful finding out if a client will qualify for a loan, and finding out when a contingent escrow is going to close. A good real estate agent will screen “wild card” offers and present those that are accompanied with preapproval letters and verification of funds. We like to provide offer guidelines in advance allowing people to know exactly what is expected of them to keep positively moving forward. The more information provided and the more communication, the better the chance of a flawless transaction. You need to be confident that your real estate agent is going to bring you qualified people only; not only financially qualified but also people who are emotionally ready to make a big purchase, without getting “cold feet”.
4. The negotiating process. It can be stressful going through the negotiation process. You may wonder if your real estate agent is prepared to “out-negotiate” the agent on the other side. Is your agent good enough to hold your ground and still not lose a qualified buyer? You must be confident your realtor is an expert negotiator and has a great track record with this skillset. The more you know about your agent’s track record and the more confident you are, the less stressed you will be during the negotiating process.
5. Clearing contingencies. This can be a very stressful time. Your house is in escrow and you are preparing to move, yet you still know that things can go wrong. A good real estate agent knows how to clear contingencies quickly and will not let things go out of hand. In order to have a non-stressful experience, you need to feel confident your real estate agent is “hands on” and tenacious at clearing contingencies; avoiding extensions and delays.
6. Closing and walkthrough. It is stressful at this time because now you need to get the house all packed up and start thinking about your final move. Not only are you moving out, but you are also moving in to your new place. All the arrangements need to be synchronized. It is important you are not left with one escrow closing, and the other not. There can’t be any last minute flaws or hiccups. Even one trailing document can cause an escrow not to close. Is your real estate agent “hands on” and knowledgeable enough to know how to synchronize your move and make sure everything happens when it is supposed to? Look at their track record and make sure they have a good track record for closing on time and providing their client the necessary time to move out, whether that is a leaseback or complimentary prearranged holdover.
Of course selling your home for top dollar seems always to be a homeowner’s top priority, but if you’ve ever endured a transaction before you already know how important it is to have a “hands on” agent in your corner. Stress is rarely dodged 100% but hiring an agent who is a master at “stress management” can be the difference between an enjoyable transaction and the “transaction from hell”.