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What’s really important to sellers?

What’s really important to sellers?

By Kathy Schmidt, Broker/Owner, Schmidt Realty Group Inc.

Time to BUY? That means it’s time to really understand what’s important to sellers!

Last month I talked about what sellers need to understand about what’s important to buyers. This month I’m flipping things around to look at what buyers need to know about how sellers are feeling about the process!

Here are 5 key things to be aware of to ensure that your offer is positively received by the seller.

  1. Understand the first question sellers ask.

No matter what the market is doing, the first question any seller asks is… Are they pre-approved ?”  Writing an offer without being properly pre-approved puts your agent in an awkward position when the time comes to present your offer.  We have to respond honestly and if you’re not approved, or we don’t know, we have to say so!  Keep in mind that an online mortgage affordability calculator is not the same thing as being properly pre-approved.  You’ll want to meet with your lender and provide as many documents as possible to verify your income and your monthly payments.  Ask your lender to provide you with a pre-approval letter that you can share with potential sellers.  This will show the sellers that you are serious about buying and that you’ve done your homework to be ready!

Takeaway: Don’t take shortcuts when it comes to getting properly pre-approved!

  1. Give sellers a “thank goodness” moment!

When looking at your offer, the first thing the sellers are going to look at is the price.  Of course you want to make a smart purchase and get the property for the best price possible.  But did you know that the best way to do that is to start out with a respectful offer?  When a seller sees an unrealistic “lowball” offer, they understandably start viewing you as a difficult buyer.  By starting out with a respectful offer in the right range, based on your REALTOR®’s guidance, you will often end up with a better price in the end!

Takeaway: Create goodwill by being respectful with your initial offer price.

  1. Don’t fall into the “show home” trap.

HGTV is a fun channel to watch but it often creates unrealistic expectations for buyers.  Most sellers will spend time ensuring that minor repairs are handled prior to listing their home, and some will go a step or two further and will do some painting or other minor upgrades. As a buyer, remember that you’re looking at a resale home, not a show home.  There are going to be things you’re going to want to do when you move in to make it your own – that’s part of the fun of home ownership!  After the inspection, don’t go to the sellers with a list of improvements you expect them to make to turn their 50 year old bungalow into a show home perfect property. Keep your focus on what’s most important – safety, systems, and the overall structure.  Make sure your expectations regarding the condition of the home are fair, and if in doubt, ask your agent!

Takeaway: Remember you’re not buying a show home. Be realistic about what you expect the seller to do before putting the house on the market.

  1. Sellers need what they need. 

Don’t buyers need what they need as well? Of course they do! You have your own goals in mind. And so do the sellers. Just like you, they want to make sure they’re making a wise financial decision. Just like you they may be getting tons of “expert” real estate advice from friends and family. Just like you when you sold your last property, they want to feel that they are being treated respectfully.  Don’t get bugged by sellers who say no to your request for a shorter (or longer) possession date. They may not be able to accommodate your request, even if they want to, due to work or other commitments.  The same goes for price. You don’t have to agree with the seller about the price. You never know what’s going on behind the scenes. There may be reasons they can’t share as to why they are sticking firmly to their price. In the end, if their price expectations and yours don’t line up, you can move on to another home!

Takeaway: Don’t take it personally. You and the sellers are both negotiating for your best interests, hoping to find a place to meet that can work for all parties.

  1. It’s never just about the money.

Sure, all sellers want to get a good deal. But a good deal doesn’t just mean a higher price. It means the sellers are getting a solid deal they can rely on. What does that look like? Usually it means a good deposit, evidence of financial capacity to buy (aka pre-approval letter), and buyers who are respectful from the first showing to the offer to the inspection to possession day. Working with a reasonable and respectful buyer adds value. Just like you, the sellers are feeling nervous and stressed about moving.  Everything matters. From showing up on time for your first viewing of the home, to ensuring that you give the sellers sufficient notice for your inspection, everything you do increases or decreases the seller’s opinion of you. You’ll find out how important that opinion is if you decide to write an offer.

Takeaway: Remember that the sellers are just like you – wanting to get the sale done well and with as little stress as possible. By helping them have more of what they want, you can often receive more of what you want as well!

The simplest way to look at all of this is to remember that the sellers are just like you…. They’re trying to make a huge financial decision in the best way they know how in order to look after their family.  Just like you, they want to be treated with respect and courtesy.  The good news is, doing this isn’t hard, and it will create an easier, happier and more successful purchase for you!

Questions? Contact us any time at 780-437-2030 or

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