Out-of-Town Home Sellers Need an Owner’s Representative
How do you sell a home remotely? Maybe you have a rental property or vacation home. Perhaps you inherited a property you intend to sell. It might seem straightforward enough to just contact a real estate agent in that area, list the property, and sell it, but how do you:
Contend with personal property that might be in the house?
Deal remotely with taking care of deferred maintenance issues?
Make sure the property gets the best possible price?
While real estate agents are absolutely your guide through the valuation of a property and the transaction of the sale, most agents don’t handle the tasks listed above. Instead, they will recommend another professional to deal with the logistics of preparing a property for sale.
And who is that professional? It’s called an owner’s representative—someone with professional training who knows what buyers are looking for and who knows how to make properties look their best. They’ll also have access to a network of tradespeople that will get the property in selling condition.
Not surprisingly, a home stager is often the best choice to serve as an owner’s representative.
An unprepared home and an absent seller
Let’s look at a hypothetical scenario.
Your beloved aunt across the country has passed away and gifted her estate to you. You decide that her house will be sold but, upon visiting the property on a brief trip to the area, you realize the landscaping has gone wild, all the rooms are dusty and the house is so full of personal items you’ll need an army to declutter, sort, sell, donate, or ship all of it. When your realtor visits the home she notices multiple areas of deferred maintenance that need to be addressed to maximize the value of the property. Where do you even begin?
That’s the moment when you should consider engaging a qualified home stager to serve as your owner’s representative. A professional home stager can identify all the tasks that need to be completed and take over the management of those things on your behalf. They can also serve as a local liaison with your realtor.
What does an owner’s rep do?
In simplest terms, an owner’s representative helps get the home prepped for sale when an owner simply isn’t able to engage in that work themselves. The owner’s rep, in dialogue with both you and the realtor, identifies what needs to be done and retains services on your behalf to get those things completed. They’ll make a prioritized list of recommendations and work with you to settle on a budget to complete those recommendations. The owner’s rep is an invaluable ally to both you and the realtor in the sale process.
In essence, this sort of work is what a skilled home stager already does on a regular basis. A good home stager will already have a contact list full of tradespeople and sub-contractors for most maintenance items. They will coordinate any needed work in conjunction with their work of staging the home for sale, creating a tighter timeline and more cohesive aesthetic results. They will know how best to declutter a space and what personal effects can be integrated into a beautiful staging plan. Home stagers often also have the experience of consigning or donating items owners don’t want, and arranging for the shipment of items they do want.
How to find a home stager to act as an owner’s rep
While home stagers can make a great owner’s representative, not all are up to the task. The work requires a methodical mind and top-notch communication skills. When seeking a home stager to act as an owner’s rep, you should be looking for a person who understands the local market and the features that prospective buyers want. They should have a track record of successfully transforming spaces that get buyers' attention online, and their staging work should be equally inspiring ‘off-line’ when folks visit a home in person.
Remote sellers can’t necessarily meet a potential home stager in person, so make sure to review the stager’s website, social media, and marketing materials with these questions in mind:
Do they work with properties similar in size and value to the one I’m selling?
Do they have strong testimonials and reviews?
Do they appear to conduct themselves in a professional manner and have professional credentials?
Do they have their own inventory of furniture and decor to use if we decide to simply empty the home and stage it in a more updated style or manner?
Once you contact the home stager, ask them if they can provide you with references. And most importantly, consider whether they communicate with you effectively. The stager will have to coordinate and exchange information between you, the realtor, cleaners, movers, possibly contractors, and more. Good communication skills are a must!
Don’t leave money on the table
An owner’s representative is not just your on-the-ground advocate trying to simplify your life, they are the potential link between a listed home and its top-dollar sale. While you might be tempted to just get through a remote property sale as quickly as possible, not adequately preparing a home for sale leaves a lot of potential money on the table.
When you calculate the costs involved—in both time and money—to try and manage all aspects of a remote sale yourself, you’ll quickly see that an owner’s rep is more cost effective than any DIY approach. At the end of the day, everyone prefers a process that yields maximum return with minimal stress. With out-of-area real estate sales the combination of a great realtor and a highly skilled owner’s rep can be what smooths out the entire process.