Myth: The seller determines the selling price.

Truth: The seller determines the asking or list price; the buyer determines the selling price. Granted there may be negotiations that involve compromise. However, in the final analysis, a buyer will not purchase the home if the sales price is not acceptable to them.

Myth: Neighbors are often a good source of sales information.

Truth: Neighbors are usually a poor source of sales information. They often feel their prestige is on the line so they tend to shade the truth somewhat when asked about their sales price. They’ll say something like, “We got what we wanted” which is interpreted to imply they got their asking price. Your real estate agent can provide you accurate information concerning sales prices that are a matter of public record in Hawaii.

Myth: The agent I interview that suggests the highest sales price should be able to sell my home for the highest price.

Truth: This is the oldest scam in real estate sales. Tell the seller what they want to hear, compliment the home and agree to sell it an unrealistic high price merely to get the listing. Then after the home has sat on the market for a few weeks with no activity, tell the seller that the asking price is too high and they need to reduce it.

A good sales agent that does high volume is not afraid to risk losing a sale by telling the seller the truth up-front when being interviewed such as the seller’s desired asking price is too high. Granted, they’ll lose a listing now & then but they won’t compromise themselves merely to obtain an overpriced listing. Moreover, it is far easier for agents to work in reality vice some perception held only by the seller.

Myth: A home should be repainted prior to putting it on the market for sale.

Truth: While this may be an excellent suggestion, it may not be cost effective particularly if you have to hire painters. It is a good idea to get input from your listing agent as to what fix-up items will be cost effective. We often recommend selling a home “as is” at a discounted price vice pouring funds into fixing it up, particularly if the funds will be spent on items that the buyer could do themselves.

Myth: My Property Manager has done a good job managing my property; therefore, I should use them to sell my home.

Truth: Being good at property management and being good at selling homes involve entirely different skills/knowledge. Most good property managers need to manage a sizable number of rentals to make it cost effective for them to concentrate in that area of real estate. Therefore, they are seldom able to spend much time in sales and as a result, do not achieve the same level of experience and expertise as an agent that concentrates on selling homes. Stott Real Estate, Inc. is our sales division. Stott Property Management, LLC is our property management division. If you are considering using your property manager as a sales agent, ask them to provide you a list of homes they have successfully sold over the past year and compare that list to similar lists provided to you by those agents you interview that concentrate solely on handling sales.

Myth: Once I sign a listing agreement, I’m stuck with that agent/company even if we don’t mesh with each other.

Truth: Most listing agreements in Hawaii are written for six months to a year with a 30-90 day cancellation provision; e.g., your listing with ABC company is for six months and can be canceled at any time by you with 45 days notice to the listing company. Stott Real Estate, Inc. will cancel your listing at any time with 24 hours written notification regardless of the time, money and effort we have spent marketing the property. To our knowledge, we are the only real estate company that puts this clause in every listing contract. If we didn’t feel confident about our level of performance, we could not use such a clause.

Myth: Part (1) A large office is more likely to sell my home because of all their agents. Part (2) A small office will take better care of my individual needs.

Truth: Your primary contact will be with the agent you select to handle your listing. Whether they are associated with a large company or a small company usually has very little to do with the quality of service they provide to their clients. If they work for a large office, they may say that their large size will help you sell your home because all those agents will be working for you, which is nonsense. When you see a lot of “for sale” signs from one company, keep in mind that all those properties are homes that company has been unable to sell. An agent from a small company may say that you will receive personalized service not available at a large company, which is also nonsense.