When it’s time to sell a home for the very first time it can be downright intimidating and stressful.
Where do you start, what should you expect, how do you prepare your home for sale are all questions that pop into first time home sellers minds. Below are tips I recommend for first time home sellers to not only get your home sold but, to do it for the highest price possible with the least amount of stress possible.
Hire A Real Estate Agent
Not just any real estate agent, one that you trust and who you know has a proven successful track record. You’re going to have a lot of questions before your home ever goes on the market and you need a trusted partner to give you honest answers. According to The National Association Of Realtors for sale by owners (FSBO) in 2018 accounted for only 8% of home sales and the typical FSBO home sold for $200,000 as compared to $265,500 when represented by an agent.
Allow Yourself Plenty Of Time To Prepare Your Home For Sale
As soon as you start to think about selling your home is when I recommend making your hiring decision for an agent and then enlisting their expertise to give you guidance on what your home needs to be market ready. Rushing your home to get it on the market never turns out well. You want a polished and well-presented product and that takes time. Very few of us live in our homes the way we position them to sell. Which is why allowing plenty of time to prepare for your sale is important, it will mean less stress and a favorable outcome than trying to pull an all-nighter to get your home ready.
Pricing is the biggest reason a home doesn’t sell and getting it correct from the very start is the best way to sell quickly and for top dollar. I always tell my clients no one pays top dollar for stale bread and if your home sits on the market for months on end that’s exactly what it will become. Pricing is unique to each home, its location, and updates. If you’re considering making updates before you sell it’s another reason to enlist the expertise of an agent early on in the process. A great agent who knows your neighborhood will be able to tell you what updates are going to give you a strong ROI and what updates aren’t a good use of your money. From there the agent will then be able to tell you where your home should be priced. If they’re really on top of their game they’ll be able to give you a comparison to show you where you can list if you do XYZ updates and where you can list if you opt not to make changes.
Speaking of updates, do you remember when you were touring homes as a buyer? What stood out to you, better yet, was there something in particular about your home that made you feel like it was the one? As hard as it can be, putting your buyer eyes on before you list your home and really being honest with yourself about its current condition will give you a lot of insight. Buyers like updated and turnkey ready homes and they’re willing to pay top dollar for them. If your home has maintenance issues, has become outdated, or even just needs some minor repairs the time to do them is before you list.
Knowing when to list your home for sale is not something that comes up as often as it should. Most homeowners contact an agent when they’re ready to list their home – as in get it listed as soon as possible. This all goes back to contacting an agent early on in the process. An agent can help you plan ahead and create and implement coming soon marketing if they have the lead time to do it. Think of a big motion picture, it doesn’t just pop into theatres one day unannounced. There is marketing dispersed to build curiosity and put it on moviegoers radar long in advance which of course boosts box office sales. Targeting home buyers before your home is for sale decreases the number of days it’s on the market and has them waiting and ready for it to go active.
Prepare For Photos
Updates and maintenance items are part of the big picture when preparing your home for sale but, then there are all those little details that come into play when preparing for photos. Any clutter has to go, it’s rare I see a seller who doesn’t have items to get rid of or donate that they no longer need. I recommend looking at it and asking yourself if you want to pay to move it. That normally helps with the decision making process. After you’ve de-cluttered then focus on de-personalizing. You want your home to feel welcoming and inviting but, not over-personalized. This allows as many buyers as possible to envision themselves living there. Some level of staging will also likely be needed, this is one to rely on your agent to assist with. The amount of staging needed for each home varies and it could be as simple as removing or rearranging furniture or as advanced as hiring a professional stager.
When your home is active your daily routine is going to change. If you leave for work every day you’re going to need to allow extra time each morning to get your home show-ready. Making beds, doing dishes, straightening pillows, opening blinds, cleaning off vanities isn’t something all of us do as part of our daily routine and it takes time to accomplish. If you have pets have a plan in place to remove them from the home for every showing and be sure to have their belongings tucked away. Be prepared to not be able to come home at your normal time and be flexible. Not all showings are going to give you a ton of advanced notice. I always suggest my sellers have a basket on hand to put extra items from the counter or bathrooms in quickly. If you get a last-minute showing request you can either stick it somewhere out of site or better yet just throw it in the car and take it with you. If your house can’t be shown it also can’t be sold.
After You’re Under Contract
Once you’ve accepted an offer on your home you may then need to be prepared to allow the buyers in for a home inspection, or your agent to meet the appraiser. Inspections that are needed vary and will be in the contract you’ve signed. Your agent will guide you on the next steps. You’ll also want to arrange for your actual move once you’re under contract. Whether it’s hiring movers or renting a moving truck it’s best to do so in advance to ensure you can get the date and time that’s best for your schedule.
Selling a home is a big undertaking but, when you work with an agent you trust to guide you through each step you’ll find your home goes under contract quickly and that all of your preparation pays off.
7 Crucial First Time Home Seller Tips via Luke Skar with Inlanta Mortgage of Madison