Setting the Stage
As the bard so aptly articulated centuries ago, all the world is a stage, and nowhere is that more evident than the current real estate market.
The importance of first impressions has never been more tantamount, to the point where, instead of just straightening the property up a few days before going on the market, it often becomes a much more involved process. In this arena, the role of the listing agent is increasingly centered around our ability to coordinate the many elements involved in putting on a successful production.
Early on, I will perform an assessment of what can be done to optimize the value, followed by a visit with a designer or stager to help give specific direction on repairs, fixtures and finishes to help the place pop. I generally pay for this visit out of pocket and also bring along our in-house project manager who helps oversee operations with the various vendors we bring in.
It has also become standard for sellers to get all the reports and disclosures up-front to clear the path for the increasing numbers of buyers driven by desperation to make non-contingent offers, helping mitigate their fears of unknown along with the possible issues and lingering liabilities that would result from an under-disclosed sale.
For these details, it helps to have an efficient and socially adept associate on our team who has my back along the way, helping ensure that all the contract, inspection, disclosure and marketing aspects of the project get correctly handled at the macro level as we go along.
Next comes the parade of contractors, installers, inspectors and other tradespeople to help with the property preparations. This can include clearing out clutter and hauling away debris before coming in with fresh landscaping and home elements to optimize the home’s overall presentability and appeal. On occasion it can also involve extensive repairs and remodeling, and amidst a rush to capitalize on the current market conditions, there’s often a new player in the drama: The element of time.
Tradespeople and inspectors have never been busier, and many are booked out weeks or even months in advance, so another key factor in choosing an established agent is the benefit of their longstanding working relationships that can get your project pushed to the top of the stack. Add to all of this the backdrop of a very slow planning department which has on more than one occasion necessitated workarounds such as a holdback in escrow to allow a sale to close with final permits not yet signed off.
I often wonder how the storyline of each transaction manages to get so complex, along the way involving all the players as it does. And yet, when the final curtain falls, as long as our clients are happy and protected in the end, then all the work has been worthwhile.