What Local Realtors Don’t Want to Admit (Myself Included!)

You’ve probably seen Realtors advertising sales at 10%, 15%, or even 20% over asking price. Given how hot the market is, you’re likely seeing this now more than ever. Truth be told, I’m as guilty of it as anybody. Maybe even more so.

I’ve always assumed that selling a house for 10% or 15% over the list price is pretty compelling stuff, and a great way to prove my value. But recently, I’ve been thinking about this more, and now I’m not so sure. Here’s why…

When agents advertise that we sold a home at 15% over asking price, we’re implying that we’re 100% responsible for that amazing outcome. If I force myself to be completely unbiased and objective, it’s clear that I’m not 100% responsible for that outcome, especially nowadays.

There’s actually a host of factors that come into play when a house sells for so much more than the list price in this market. Here’s what’s really going on…

Interest rates are shockingly low.

We’re talking once in a lifetime low.

This means buyers are extremely motivated right now.

COVID has caused housing demand to spike.

COVID has created a unique and powerful sense of urgency for buyers. They want to secure a home they can comfortably work out of and feel safe in with their family, while taking advantage of historically low interest rates.

There’s a serious shortage of housing inventory.

Even though houses are selling for record high prices, there still aren’t that many houses hitting the market.

All of these factors have combined to create market conditions that regularly lead to bidding wars. Sometimes these bidding wars result in home prices shooting up hundreds of thousands of dollars over the asking price.

Now don’t get me wrong. A highly skilled agent can absolutely impact how much your house sells for. But that agent’s skillset is just one of many important factors that are causing some houses to sell for 10, 15, or 20% over the list price in this current market.

The truth is, the ultimate sale price of your home is the one thing that an agent cannot fully control.

Yes, I can absolutely influence it. I can give you every possible advantage. But, I cannot fully control where that number lands. As I described, there are just too many outside factors that come into play. Anyone who says differently is either inexperienced or dishonest.

What I CAN control is how attractively your home is presented to the market through top quality staging, photography, video marketing, and more. I go over your property with a fine toothed comb, examining every single detail that will either attract buyers or deter them. Next, I figure out how best to highlight the former and downplay the latter.

Having a keen eye to guide the prep work that takes place before your home hits the market is critical.

I make sure your home has the optimal offer price to generate the most interest and invite the most offers. When those offers come in, I analyze every one for strengths and weaknesses. I speak with all the buyer’s agents and probe for more information. I’m looking for any little piece I can get that’ll reveal just how motivated their client truly is. You’d be amazed at how much you can learn if you just know the right questions to ask, and how to ask them.

After that, I leverage the offers against one another to put you in the best position during the negotiations. This I CAN control.

I can control how stressful this whole process is by finding out what’s most important to you upfront. I spot problems and red flags and take care of them before they ever become an inconvenience for you.

I can control what your overall home selling experience is like, because I understand that selling a house is much more than just a financial event. I know your home is where you’ve built your life in ways both big and small. With that in mind, I make sure this major life event is handled with genuine care, warmth, and consideration. I make sure you’re always in the loop and every question or concern is promptly and thoroughly addressed. I can control this.

At the end of the day, a Realtor who’s truly great at what they do deserves some of the credit for generating that wildly high sale price you’ve been seeing advertised. But, to take all the credit misses the point about how a skilled agent actually adds value for you during a home sale and about what they can influence versus what they can outright control.

So the next time you see me or another agent reference a home sale at 10, 15, or 20% over asking, know that there were a variety of factors that led to that outcome. And know that if the agent was exceptional, they added value for their client in many other ways and on a much deeper level than just the final sales price of the home.

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