One of the things that may surprise people who are interested in residential real estate sales is that listings and real estate purchases fall through all the time.  It’s for this reason that you should never spend any of your commission money before it makes it to the bank.  I can’t stress that one enough.  Over the years, I’ve noticed that people who are really going to sell their home do certain things.  Here are five below.


  1. They are always available.  If you text them, they will text you back.  If you call them, they will call you back.  The same thing with email.  When someone is serious about selling their home, it is a priority for them.  When the home is sold, you should expect to be down on their list of importance and the communication will be less instant.
  2. They are finished with their current home.  Sellers have to be able to mentally “let go” of their home.  If they aren’t looking forward to a new home, that’s a sign that they aren’t serious.  They may go through many of the motions to list their home for sale, but if an offer comes in, they will be less likely to negotiate it in good faith.
  3. They listen and act on your staging advice.  At Deerwood Realty, we use stagers all the time.  If one of our sellers meets with a stager and they don’t move even one box or some clutter, it’s a sign that they aren’t really serious about selling their home. 
  4. They make obvious repairs before the listing is active.  As a serious seller, you want any buyer who comes to the home to be thrilled they’ve taken the time to come see it.  When buyers see burnt out lights, cracking paint, or dirty floors, they begin to think that if you don’t take care of the house, why should they?  Some sellers make the mistake of thinking that buyers are going to negotiate repairs anyway so it’s fine to leave things as they are.  It’s been my experience that this almost always results in a lower initial offer.
  5. They take comparable real estate sales seriously.  When you present a good record of comparable sales, the seller can usually tell you what they saw in a particular sold house because they’ve been to it.  When you work to price their home for sale, they aren’t surprised at the numbers being talked about, and they certainly don’t throw out numbers that are unrealistic for the home on the high side.


All of the above tells show a level of engagement by the seller.  When you are working with sellers, and they don’t show any sort of engagement, you need to be concerned that they might not sell if an offer comes in, and if one doesn’t, they are more likely to just cancel the listing.  This can be a huge waste of time and energy for the agent.  I’m convinced that many agents want to believe there is a seller in a situation where there’s no chance of a sale, and this eventually wears down an otherwise good agent.  I’m curious, what are some of the signs that you see when someone is ready to sell their home?


John Schink is a real estate broker in the St. Louis metropolitan area who specializes in full service listings and buyer agency.  He is a member of both the Saint Louis and Jefferson County Boards of Real Estate.  If you are looking to buy a home for sale in Saint Louis, Missouri or the surrounding metropolitan area or considering selling your home, or for general real estate related inquiries, he can be reached at 314-707-4821 or [email protected]