I was meeting with a potential seller in Liberty MO this last week and they asked me a great question. “Do I really need to make repairs and stage my home before putting it on the market? I’ve heard we’re in a very strong seller’s market in Kansas City and buyers will buy anything right now.” Let me share with you some information I gave to this seller.

Yes, it’s true that we are in a very strong seller’s market, but trust me, not every home is selling in 48 hours at a super high price. Let’s look at Clay County, Missouri in the Kansas City North just as an example.

Kansas City Regional Association of Realtors statistics show that in the past year, the average sales price in Clay County rose 5.7% to $195,482 (three years ago that number was $165,452). The low inventory of available homes is what’s driving that. We currently have a 40% less homes on the market than we did one year ago but we’ve sold 19.3% more homes. Buyers are having to compete for the very best homes and it’s not uncommon for my sellers to receive multiple offers driving the sales price even higher.

Now, with all that craziness and such a low inventory, why is it that the average home in Clay County, MO sits on the market for 57 days before receiving a contract? It’s because too many sellers are not doing repairs or making small updates to improve the condition of their home. It’s also because they choose the wrong agent that does not advertise the home properly or give the sellers good advice.

Let me explain it another way. When I meet with a potential seller client, I take quite a bit of time to walk through the home and suggest repairs and improvements. Sometimes it’s as simple as changing out a few light fixtures or faucets to give a more updated look. Other times it may be something more time consuming like repainting a few rooms, or costly like replacing that eight year old, pet stained carpet with something fresh and new.

Most sellers understand this and they appreciate the advice but it’s surprising how many people tell me they interviewed two or three other agents and I was the only one that gave them such good advice. It’s been my experience that many agents today simply want to get the home on the market quickly so they can be done with it and get paid, where my strategy is to act more as a consultant and advise the homeowners of things they can do to truly maximize their final sales price. I tell every single seller, “My ultimate goal is to get you the absolute most money possible in the sale of your home, and to get it sold in a very quick timeline too.”

Ask either one of my buyers agents, Scott Parman or Karen Henderson, what is their biggest frustration with showing homes to buyers today and they will both tell you it’s the other agents that do not get their sellers to fix up the home. If they show ten homes, six of them will be junk (old carpet, no updates, peeling paint, obvious repairs that need to be done), two of them will be WAY overpriced (typically $5,000 to $20,000) and the last two will either be “just Ok” to “WOW, we better go back to the office and right up on offer this minute”. This is why the average home sits on the market for so long. Keep in mind I said earlier the average “days on market” is 57 days, but it’s still not uncommon for us to see homes that have been on the market for over 100 days.

Again, back to the question, “Do I really need to make repairs and stage my home before putting it on the market?” As an alternative to what Scott and Karen are seeing, I’m showing my seller clients a better way. I want my sellers to receive multiple offers in the first 48 hours and have several great offers to choose from. I want my sellers to be able to not only get a super high sales price, but also have the opportunity to choose their own closing date. I want offers from buyers that state the buyer is willing to wave the inspections and take the home “as is”. I want buyer offers that are willing to waive the restrictions on an appraisal (I currently have three of those willing to buy the home at the agreed price even if the appraisal comes in low).

I have one more statistic for you. The average home in Clay County sells for 94.5% of the sellers asking price. That means a home originally priced at $200,000 would end up sitting on the market for 57 days and receive a final sales price of only $189,000. On the other hand, my sellers receive, on average, 101% of their asking price!

Just this last Friday, I put three homes on the market. All three sellers spent anywhere from 30 to 90 days preparing their home for the market and all three homes were move in ready, clean, and professionally staged. I had my photographer take fabulous, high resolution photos of each home and then I did some “coming soon” marketing to all the other top Realtors in the area for several days prior to going live on the MLS.

The first home received 27 showings and 10 offers in the first 24 hours. It sold $7,000 over the asking price (105% of the listed price). The second home sold in less than 24 hours at $5,000 over the seller’s asking price (102% of the listed price). The third home sold in 24 hours with 6 offers at $10,000 over asking price to an all cash buyer (106% over listed price). I think the real irony about all three of these homes is that the sellers’ homes were priced at, or above, the comparable sales in the area when we hit the market. I certainly wasn’t under-pricing these homes, and if anything I felt like two of them could have been overpriced to begin with, but through my strategic marketing and the sellers’ willingness to listen to me and get their homes in perfect shape, they all benefited by receiving $5,000 to $10,000 more for their homes than they thought possible.

Thinking about selling your home and want to know exactly how we do this? Call Ron Henderson at 816-651-9001.