The Era of the ‘DSIY’ Seller

By: SUSAN KELLEHER
AUG 28, 2019

There’s a good chance that when a seller contacts an agent today, they’ve already jump-started the selling process — painting rooms, sprucing up the garden, remodeling a bathroom or researching what similar homes have sold for.

And while sellers haven’t gone full-on do-it-yourself, they are decidedly DSIY — “do some of it yourself” — when it comes to presale home improvements, staging and even finding buyers via social media.

Despite their can-do spirit, though, most DSIY sellers (85%) still enlist an agent. They want a strategic partner who has the market knowledge, marketing skills and legal know-how to do the heavy lifting that will get the sale to closing, according to the Zillow Group Consumer Housing Trends Report 2018.*

What they do and don’t do

Half of DSIY sellers (50%) who eventually work with an agent tackle home improvements, 39% determine a listing price for their home and 25% have a home inspection done.

But there are some areas they shy away from before reaching out for help, including conducting buyer tours (only 17% do), promoting their home on social media (11%) and receiving offers (8%).

The agent as strategic partner

Like all good partnerships, once the seller reaches out to an agent, their relationship involves a division of labor. Some of the activities sellers participate in with and without their agent’s help:

  • 43% participate in deciding when to put their home up for sale.
  • 37% engage in some aspect of staging their home.
  • 35% make home improvement recommendations for selling.
  • 23% come up with the listing price on their own.
  • 36% work with their agent to determine the listing price.

But half of sellers (50%) say agents alone still do the heavy lifting that requires expertise:

  • 81% say their agent guides them through the sales process.
  • 78% say their agent organizes and submits paperwork associated with the sale.
  • 75% rely on their agent to lead contract negotiations.
  • 73% say their agent finds interested buyers.
  • 55% say their agent determines the listing price of their home.

Who are the DSIY sellers?

Generally, the younger the seller, the more involved they get in selling activities.

Millennials are so confident in their ability to get the ball rolling that 58% say they like to take the lead, compared with 40% of Gen Xers, 29% of baby boomers and 24% of silent gen sellers.

Millennials also are more likely to have photographs taken of their home (32%), help find interested buyers (22%), promote their home on social networks (38%) and have video or other media taken of their home (19%).

Seller involvement helps homes sell faster

The upshot for the DSIY seller? Sellers who work with an agent and participate in five or more selling activities close the sale almost two months sooner than sellers who do fewer than five activities. That’s 5.5 months on average for more active sellers versus 7.4 months on average for less active sellers.

How important is speed to sellers? A third (33%) of active DSIY sellers say they wish they had started even sooner.

The takeaway

  • Sellers understand that there’s work involved in selling, and many get things started themselves. Ask sellers lots of questions about their home-selling journey to date. This will build rapport and help you determine what you need to do for a client going forward.
  • Show your deep knowledge of the selling process by strategizing around a listing price — even if the seller has already decided on one. Explain how you can help get them to that number, or why the number is out of whack with the market.
  • Find the right balance between guiding and collaborating. A great agent is an educator and a facilitator, so make sure you continue to show your knowledge and educate the seller throughout the transaction.

*In 2018, millennials were ages 24-38, Gen Xers were 39-53, boomers were 54-73 and the silent generation was 74 and older.

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