Friday, January 20, 2012


By James Sarles, President, Coldwell Banker James Sarles Realty


We all know that the real estate market in The Bahamas is very slow AND we also know it is not dead. The New Year has brought new buyers who are looking for Real Estate deals. Many people have made New Year’s resolutions for 2012 to invest or move to The Bahamas AND they are looking to BUY. So, if you are a seller, please listen to this advice that most real estate agents don’t have the guts to tell you:

If a local real estate agent brings a prospective buyer to see your house, instead of being so excited to tell them how great your house is and trying to become their new best friend, my respectful advice to you is: GET LOST.

This is the time to let the real estate agent do their job IF you really want to sell.

For example, let’s say you finally made the decision to sell your home or condo. You've spent hours cleaning and preparing, discarding old clutter, rearranging that abandoned closet, trimming your bougainvillea, and replanting your banana and papaya trees.

You've gone to Dolly Madison, Kelly's, Paint Fair and Furniture Outlet and have given your property a total facelift. Your bathroom is clean and sparkling. A fresh bouquet of flowers from Sylvan at Butler’s Food World is sitting on the dining room table.

Now comes the tricky part: allowing complete strangers to walk through your home. This is the time when the services of a trustworthy, reliable, real estate broker are essential. Although you may be tempted to be present when a realtor shows your home, the best advice I can offer to you is to GET LOST! WALK OUT THE DOOR, relax, read The Freeport News, visit a friend, grab a cup of coffee, and let your real estate agent present your home to its best possible advantage.

People are naturally sensitive when they are a guest in someone's home,  and will be reluctant to voice their concerns if you are there. An inhibited buyer is not an active buyer! Your real estate agent should be familiar with your home and should be ready to answer any questions an interested party may have without making them feel uncomfortable.

A good real estate agent has the experience to help potential buyers ask their questions and respond to them with reassurance. In the buyer's mind,  your very presence keeps the home your home and makes it more difficult for them to visualize the home as theirs. With a clean, airy, open residence, they can more easily imagine how it would feel to be enjoying the house as much as you do.

In addition, homeowners selling their house (especially for the first time) often appear a bit nervous, and naturally so. Your innocent defense of the purple paint in the guest room may make sense to you, but may chill the feet of an interested party. Don't take other people's preferences personally. Everyone has his or her own tastes. What you want is a sale. Moreover, the buyer might interpret your anxiety as a need to sell, which could result in lower bids and counter offers.

The purchase of a home is a formidable undertaking. Most people require a significant amount of time in a house they are seriously considering and may wish to visit the home again and again. The concern you may experience as a seller is just as real for the buyer. Prospective clients may need the opportunity to scrutinize and analyze your home freely. You must grant them the space to do so. This allows them to overcome their anxiety and go through the purchasing process with a happy and clear mind.

People are usually more willing to speak candidly with the real estate agent than they are with the seller directly. You may be able to profit from the observations of others. After a showing, ask your Realtor for a follow-up report. An accomplished agent will be able to process the feedback from prospective buyers constructively and let you know if any changes need to be made. Don't be afraid to hear everything and be open to suggestions.

Your real estate agent is experienced and is trained to support you in finding solutions to those possible sore thumbs. They can help potential buyers get past their stumbling blocks. While a certain invasion of privacy must be endured, and some changes may need to be made, remember your goal: to sell your home quickly and for the best price possible. That's the real estate agent's goal too, so work with your real estate agent to achieve everyone's mutual interests so we may SELL SELL SELL while you happily GET LOST LOST LOST. Until next week ...
 James Sarles

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