Warning: Spoilers below!
When you sit down to watch your favorite episode of “Game of Thrones,” real estate is probably the furthest thing from your mind. After all, if you’re in the midst of getting your home ready to sell, watching this HBO series is probably a nice escape from it all.
But when it comes to selling a house, there’s a lot to learn from the politicking characters and dangerous situations you’ll find on the show.
Don’t believe us? Well, here are six things the show can teach you about selling your house faster — and for more money.
1. The stakes are high. Don’t lose your head.
When the two were children, the “Mountain” burnt half of his brother Sandor “The Hound” Clegane’s face in a fire. This cruelty left The Hound with a paralyzing fear of fire. We’ve seen him stress out in the past when fire’s near, but chances are he’ll have to overcome his fear if he wants to be victorious in the long-anticipated CleganeBowl.
This will be the fight of his life but he’ll have to control his stress.
Thankfully, you won’t have to brace yourself for battle with a zombie brother anytime soon (or so we'd imagine). But when you consider the amount of money on the line in your home sale, it might be more relaxing to suit up in the Hound’s armor.
Most people drastically underestimate the amount of work and time involved in selling a house on your own, let alone how complex the market is. Selling your home can be difficult, time-consuming and incredibly overwhelming. Working with a real estate agent can take a lot of stress off your hands. A good agent is the Needle to your Arya, the Brienne of Tarth to your Podrick, and the Lord of Light to your Hound. They’ll help you through every step of the process, from the tedious tasks necessary to prepare your home for listing to completing the closing transaction.
2. It matters who is by your side.
Take a tip from the Hound and choose your weapons and your traveling partners wisely.
There is a lot to consider when finding the right real estate agent to help you list and sell your home. Each person has individual needs, but most everyone will want an experienced professional who knows how to navigate those stressful challenges that come along with selling a home, including:
- Preparing and improving the house prior to listing
- Setting the right price
- Understanding and completing all necessary paperwork
- Getting your home sold within the desired time period
- Managing time needed to handle all aspects of the sale
3. Know your worth (or at least what your home is worth).
In season one, Ned Stark didn’t take the time to fully understand his market (aka King’s Landing) when he accepted the job as Robert Baratheon’s Hand. This caused him to lose his head ... literally.
Take your cues from Littlefinger and Varys instead. Start the home selling process by learning everything you possibly can about your local housing market. Leave no stone unturned and no whispers unheard.
For starters, here are three basic questions to put in your next raven to your agent.
- What is the average sale price of homes in your area?
- What is the average days on market?
- When is the best time of year to sell?
Your real estate agent should know the local market, tap the expertise of their tea and help you understand current housing market trends in your neighborhood.
All your research, backchanneling and late night cellar chats should lead up to one thing: pricing your home just right. So much comes down to the initial listing price of your home, you might even say the price is your Trial by Combat.
In season five, Oberyn Martell got a little presumptuous, thinking he had successfully out-battled The Mountain, and his arrogance came back to crush him. You should avoid his mistake. Don’t get ahead of yourself and overprice your home but at the same time be careful not to list your home for less than its fair market value.
You can use free home value estimator tools online to get a rough estimated price range, but you and your real estate agent need to conduct your own comparable analysis to determine fair market value.
4. Know your weaknesses.
You don’t want to get blindsided in the battlefield. In season six, during the Battle of the Bastards, Ramsay Bolton used Jon Snow’s loyalty to his family to his advantage, and Jon led his army into a trap that nearly destroyed them, if not for a last-minute save.
Take heed and carefully consider your home’s weaknesses to keep them from getting exploited. You'll want to ask yourself things like:
- Where is my house falling short?
- What updates or repairs does the house need most?
- What tasks should be a priority when getting the house ready to sell?
Make a list of your priorities and have your real estate agent go through it with you. Something that should top the list of things to do is to make sure you’ve decluttered and deep cleaned. You may love your pets as much as the Starks love their direwolves, but that doesn’t mean your house should smell like them when potential buyers are walking through.
5. Control your impulses.
Maybe if Jaime Lannister would have thought it through before shoving Bran Stark out of the tower window in the first season, he wouldn’t have done it and the War of the Five Kings would have never begun. Jaime acted out of impulse instead of carefully considering the risk of his decision and coming to a logical conclusion. That said, don’t act on impulse and gut your kitchen!
Before you go crazy with updates and renovations, really think them through. Studies show that most major remodeling projects don’t result in positive return on the investment after a home sale. That big kitchen overhaul, bathroom floor redux and knocked out wall will probably only waste your money and delay your sale.
It's a good idea to only make improvements that will provide the most return on investment. Usually that means fresh paint on the walls, touch-ups around the exterior and landscaping work to boost your home’s curb appeal. Your agent can help you determine which costs are necessary and which costs can be cut.
6. Know when to listen & when to act.
Don’t be afraid to admit that you don’t know everything when it comes to selling your home in today’s competitive market. If you’re gearing up to sell your house, just imagine that you sit on the Iron Throne as the King or Queen of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros. When you hire a real estate agent, you’re appointing them as your Hand. Ask your agent for help and really listen to what they have to say.
Brooke Moore is the content coordinator for HomeLight.