Vector real estate concept in flat style - hand real estate agent holding holds a key with a tag in the form of homes, and buyers with different color skin are pulling hands. Demand and supply

If you didn’t already know this, selling your house is a lot of work, and it’s stressful. Here are 20 things most agents won’t tell you to expect when selling your home:

Article By: Neil O’Donnell

If you didn’t already know this, selling your house is a lot of work, and it’s stressful. Here are 20 things most agents won’t tell you to expect when selling your home:


  1. You have an incredible amount of stuff. I know you think you don’t, but when it’s time to start prepping your house for sale and clearing all your clutter, you’ll realize just how much has accumulated. Throw out, donate and store your stuff – think of it as pre-packing for your upcoming move after a successful sale.
  2. Your feelings will probably be hurt by what the Stager recommends.  When working with our value-driven approach, we’ll send in our Stager (don’t worry, we pay for that).  They will walk through your home, room by room, and tell you what needs to be done to improve the saleability of your house. I won’t lie – this part of the selling process is personal…and it’s usually pretty painful. Keep in mind: our goal is to market your home to its highest and best use and appeal to as many Buyers as possible – it’s not a personal attack on your decor style. Professional stagers know what Buyers want to see and what catches their attention, online and in person. It’s OK if you hate that bowl of red apples- trust the people you’ve hired to do their thing and trust that it will contribute to a faster sale, a higher price, or both.
  3. Your renovations may not have added as much value as you think.  We thank the HGTV curse for this – the idea that everybody has been brainwashed into thinking that if they invest $10,000 into renovating before they sell, that they’ll make $20,000 in return. Truth is it doesn’t always work out that way, in fact sometimes, people lose money on the work they’ve done. Its the truth. Before you invest even a penny into renovating pre-sale, call us. We’ll be able to tell you what’s worth doing and what’s not.
  4. Home inspections are meant to find problems.  With most homes the problems they will find will be minor but the other agent will use them to help negotiate the price lower to fix those items.  You may not see these as problems as you have lived just fine with these ‘issues’. Also, if there are a lot of ‘little things’ wrong with the home some buyers may wonder if there are other bigger issues and back out of the sale.  We recommend getting the home inspection done before you sell and fix as many of the ‘little things’ as you can to remove any possible objection a buyer may have.
  5. Some agents are rude: they may show up for a showing appointment early, late, or not at all. Some will even use your bathroom and many of them will leave their shoes on, despite our sign that tells them to remove them.  We can’t defend this behaviour, but at least, we can warn you. With 80,000+ agents in southern Ontario, you can expect a good chunk of them won’t respect your time or the cleanliness of your home(sorry).
  6. While your property is on the market, you’ll have daily stress about the number of showings: shouldn’t there have been more showings by now? What’s normal? The number of expected showings will change depending on how long you’re on the market, and we will let you know at the first sign of something that isn’t normal and expected so you can react and adjust accordingly.
  7. While your property is on the market, you’ll wonder about every showing: was that my Buyer? Did they like it? Are they going to make an offer? In most cases your agent won’t actually be at the showing, unless we are bringing our own potential Buyer through the home. We will ask for feedback – but we’ll usually wait a day or so to do it so as not to signal desperation. Unfortunately, most agents won’t actually give much, if any, feedback. 
  8. Between the time after you’ve accepted an offer and the close, you’re responsible for making sure that nothing happens to the home. Buyers are entitled to the home in the same condition it was in when they purchased it, so if something breaks, you’ll need to fix it before close.  We had a client whose furnace broke the week before it closed so he had to get it fixed. Stuff happens. If it was already broken – hooray! Not your problem. It goes without saying (I hope) that you’ll need to maintain home insurance until you don’t own it anymore.
  9. Speaking of insurance; sometimes, sales don’t close on the day they’re supposed to, and while this is a huge pain, you may want to consider extending the insurance on your home a day or two past the closing date, just in case. If you don’t do that, and something goes wrong, and the closing gets delayed, don’t forget to call the insurer and tell them to extend your insurance! You don’t want to be the person telling the ‘if only I would’ve’ story at a cocktail party.
  10. You need to disclose defects. As much as I’m sure it’s fun to fantasize about not telling potential Buyers about your leaky basement or what’s wrong with your home, that’ll hurt you in the end. As a Seller, you have a legal duty to disclose anything that could impact the new Buyer’s enjoyment of the house.
  11. You’re likely to be expected to leave the property in “broom-swept” condition on closing. Your Agreement of Purchase and Sale probably stipulates that you can’t just move out and leave your home a mess. You wouldn’t like to move into a mess and neither will your buyer.  Either keep it clean or have it professionally cleaned before you move out.
  12. If agents bring their clients back to see your property a second or third time, that’s a good sign, but still not a guarantee of an offer.
  13. Most Buyers will probably see your home for the first time online. Motivated Buyers are online, obsessively checking listings, multiple times per day. If your home doesn’t look good online – spectacular photos and wicked marketing content – and they aren’t falling in love right away – it could be a long road ahead of you. Sorry.
  14. You’re going to become all stalker-ish. While you’re listed, you’ll wonder about your competition, how many showings they’re getting and how busy their open houses are. We’ve had Sellers go undercover to their competitors’ open houses.  We’ve done that too. You’ll also wonder how much everything around you is selling for. Totally normal. We will pre-load you with all that information and keep you up to date as things progress.
  15. Unfortunately buyers don’t care what’s convenient for you-they want to see your home on their own schedule. Sellers who turn down showing appointment requests often don’t realize the risks they are taking. Stats show that 50% of the showings that get refused don’t get rebooked. Buyers are fickle that way, and you may have just refused a Buyer with buckets of money who wants to close when you do.
  16. If priced right the average house gets an offer after 8-10 showings. Those are totally unscientific stats, but in our experience in selling hundreds of homes, it’s almost always the case – at least if the property is property staged, photographed, marketed and it’s easy for agents to show.  You may not accept the offer but you should get one at that point. If not, then you need to adjust.
  17. Leaving your home every time there’s a showing sucks – but it’s worth it. No Buyer can comfortably look through your home while you’re there, watching their every move. You’ll spend a lot of time at Starbucks, in your condo lobby or at your in-laws – but that discomfort will pay back, I promise.
  18. Unless you own the universal dream home (most of us don’t), expect some low ball offers and don’t let your feelings get hurt. Even in bidding wars, we see low ball offers regularly. Don’t be afraid of negotiating. Even if the offer was $50K below asking and you felt insulted you should consider negotiating. Yes your feelings were hurt, but there is no promise the buyer will come back with another offer and it could take several more weeks to sell.  Negotiate.
  19. Bidding wars don’t always work. I know you read about crazy bidding wars all the time, but it doesn’t always work. Getting multiple Buyers at the table at the same time depends on your property, your neighbourhood, your competition, your asking price, the marketing and more. Don’t assume you’ll get a bidding war – and be prepared with a backup strategy if you don’t.
  20. Every property sells when the price is right. It doesn’t matter if you own a really disgusting house full of mould or a condo next to the party room and across from the elevator – there’s a market for every home.

For a more in-depth discussion on these topics, go to: Request a FREE Copy of our latest book, “The Value-Driven Approach to Sell Real Estate: How to protect yourself from Real Estate Greed and bank extra profit by thinking like the great Warren Buffett.”

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