Murphy's Law For Sellers

Murphy's Law states that anything that can go wrong, WILL go wrong. Glitches in any real estate transaction are inevitable. If you are prepared, you won't be so shocked when they do.

Understand that your home may not be worth what you think.

The biggest shock most sellers face is what agents and buyers think their home is worth. Sometimes sellers can be pleasantly surprised, but the reality is that markets change and home values rise and fall. The truth is that buyers will determine the worth of your home, in this market, at this particular time, and that has very little to do with what you need to get out of the home.

People won't love your home like you do.

You love your home and expect others to appreciate the same qualities in it that you do. But, buyers have their own styles, preferences, tastes and attitudes. The changes of finding a buyer who will want your home "as is" are minimal to none. In fact, buyers will look at your home with an eye to how they can make it suit themselves. They may knock out that wall where you have your prize fish tank, they may tear down that designer wallpapers you had imported from England, and gut the kitchen where you spent so many wonderful holidays eating carefully prepared meals. All of those changes cost money. So, they will value your home less as they consider remodeling and decorating costs.

Remember, your home is competing against other homes with updates and features your home may not offer. Your home has to withstand the glare of scrutiny. So you must make it as competitive as possible within your means. Put it in good repair and make sure it is spotless and clutter free.

Sooner or later, you will lose your temper.

Your relationship with your buyer will be one of love and hate. They buyer is an adversary because they want to pay the least for your home while you want to net the most possible. The buyer, in order to improve bargaining leverage, may pick your home apart. Many of the buyer's complaints and requests for repairs may be legitimate, but some may not. In fact, some requests can be downright outrageous!

Stay focused on your goal to sell, and keep your cool. Let your agent tell their agent yes or no. Remember, your home can't close until everyone is happy. So, be flexible and willing to compromise. Don't let your feelings fester. If you are truly uncomfortable about anything, inform your Realtor.

Unexpected showings.

Buyers aren't going to operate on your schedule. They may want to see your home at any time of the day or evening. Your Realtor will ask you to keep your home in show condition. Don't worry that the bed wasn't made. Trust that a serious buyer will be allowed to see your home at any time.

Buyer rudeness.

Bad manners run rampant in our society. That's a fact. So, why be surprised when buyers visit your home and leave their sweaty hand prints, or their Timmy's coffee cup on your coffee table? Or leave the kitchen cabinets and closet doors open. Or miss their appointment, expecting you to reschedule at a moment's notice? As tempting as it may be to play Miss Manners, it's not worth passing up a good offer because the buyer had to change a dirty diaper and left it in your trash bin.


Inspections kill more deals than any other single factor besides overpricing. All older homes have some minor and some major problems, so address the problem before it becomes a problem. Get a seller's inspection and you'll have advance knowledge of any problems that must be fixed. A buyer who sees a favorable inspection report is more likely to make a fair price offer. (NOTE: Buyers should always have their own inspections performed).

Last minute problems that delay closing.

Service providers, from lenders to inspectors, to closing lawyers, may cause problems, sometimes without meaning to. In some areas, closings are happening at such a rate that all service providers associated with the real estate transaction are also overloaded. So, schedule all steps in the transaction early. Track the transaction with your Realtor so you know which steps have been fulfilled properly. Have your Realtor nudge anyone along who is late with their piece.