Selling on eBay is all about reputation. As you sell on eBay you receive positive – or possibly negative – comments about each transaction. Your reputation as a seller is right out there for everyone to see, and a poor reputation means your ebay sales will be non-existent. After having sold hundreds of items on eBay ranging from pickup trucks to tractors to smaller items such as motorcycle parts, bags and luggage, I have created a stellar reputation of 100% customer satisfaction in every single transaction. How? There are two steps.
The first key to a successful transaction on eBay is disclosure. Selling a product long distance to a complete stranger requires complete disclosure – and I mean everything, good and bad. You can’t over hype product. You have to take pictures of everything – every little scratch, dent, spec of dirt. You have to tell every thing that could possibly be wrong with the item – how old it is, how it has been used, any past repairs, everything. You have to go over and above board in your disclosure. This way the buyer knows exactly what they are getting and they feel more confident making a bid to a complete stranger on an item they cannot physically touch.
When selling your home, you have to fill out a 3 page disclosure statement, but this is just the basic disclosures. Smart sellers will go even further – taking pictures of pier work, explaining any past termite treatments, explaining past repairs. Some people might think “oh, if I disclose everything the buyer may not look at my house”. Actually the opposite is true. If you properly disclose with great detail, qualified buyers who are serious about your property will feel much more comfortable that you are an honest and upfront person and are more likely to take a look at your home and feel more comfortable making an offer – just like on eBay. In fact you AND your real estate agent are required by Oklahoma law to disclose all pertinent facts about your home. Failure to do so could result in a lawsuit even well after the sale. So you are better off just disclosing any possible items with your home up front in the beginning. In addition to the disclosure sheet, write up an extra document with pictures that explains everything about the home. Have your Realtor upload that to the MLS so potential buyers can see and read it. This way they feel more confident in both you and the home they are looking at.
Kay and I recently had a transaction where during the final walkthrough, we discovered a huge 4 foot long crack in the tile, right in the entry way to the kitchen. I called the selling agent about the cracks. He claimed they were always there and that we must not have been looking very hard. “People tend to look straight ahead and not down and you probably didn’t notice them” he claimed. Kay was in Europe at the time on vacation and I was handling the transaction and was not there during the inspection. I found it hard to believe that two very picky, experienced inspectors missed a huge crack that spread across 4 foot of tiles right in the middle of a kitchen during a 3 hour home inspection, not to mention that the new buyer spent 3 hours at the kitchen table during inspection and missed it, and Kay was there the entire time and SHE missed this huge crack. I explained this to the selling agent and told him the crack must have happened during the prior owners moving out. He checked with the sellers and they swore the crack had always been there.
We ended up with a standoff where the buyers claimed the cracks had always been there, the sellers had a really hard time believing the cracks were already there and 5 experience people missed them during inspections. The transaction was still completed but both sides felt slighted. This could have all been avoided by complete and proper disclosure by the sellers. They could have had pictures of the crack, explained it in the disclosures, and even been sure and pointed it out during the inspections. In all probability it wouldn’t have changed the buyers opinion, they still would have purchased the house, and things would have been much smoother and friendlier at the closing.
Make it Right
The second key to building a stellar reputation on eBay is anytime there is even the slightest question from a buyer about an item, you as a seller have to make it right – immediately, without question. You don’t ask or wonder aloud if the item maybe got scratched in shipping, or claim that the scratches were there in the pics prior to bidding. Despite my best efforts at disclosure on eBay, every now and then I get a buyer who was not 100% happy with the item. I still get 100% positive ratings because I just end up going over and above board to make sure the buyer is happy – whether that is returning the item and refunding their money, giving them an additional discount, or just sending them a t-shirt for any trouble such as slow shipping they may have encountered. Sometimes I may even lose a bit on a single transaction, but I more than make up for it by having a 100% customer satisfaction rating on eBay.
As a home seller you should take the same attitude. Always err on the side of buyer satisfaction. Make sure your home is in tip top shape, you disclose everything, and then if during the inspection the buyer finds something that is not to their liking, you make it right immediately. This helps build the buyers confidence in you as a person and their confidence in how you take care of your property. Then if some type of bigger problem does arise, they are most likely to feel confident in what you have to say. The result? A smooth transaction, a happy buyer, and you as a seller know you have done the right thing for another person.