Just as when you are buying your first home, there are important things to know as a seller when you are selling for the first time. Understanding the process is essential for your success.
As this is a new experience, you are sure to feel some anxiety about what to do and what not to do. And since selling your home to move to a new one (possibly a relocation) causes a fair degree of anxiousness anyhow, combined with being a newbie you are likely feeling pretty tense...as well as lacking in knowledge.
As a first time home seller, there are things you should do and things you shouldn't. And you have certain responsibilities in terms of paperwork, disclosures and more (this, of course, varies by state). Bear in mind some of this is legally mandated, so don't take it lightly. The more you know about what to expect, the better prepared you will be and the less anxiety you will likely feel when problems arise. Education is critical for you as the selling consumer. You need to make sure you understand the required paperwork that you can expect, including the listing agreement and the terms and conditions.
As a first time seller, I strongly urge you to work with a knowledgeable agent (a REALTOR who is also a CRS is a wise move). Going about a home sale, your first, as an unrepresented seller, especially in this market, is probably not wise. But if you are considering selling on your own, you may want to read my 5-part series on the issues to consider if you are pondering going it alone, BEFORE you make that decision: So You Are Thinking of Selling Your Home Yourself (there are links to all 5 articles).
There are some key steps in the selling process to be aware of, and things you should expect as a first time home seller. Because there is so much information, I have written a series elsewhere on these steps, so you can read further if you want more information.
Here are the key phases of the process and things you should know:
1. Getting Started - some initial thoughts on selling your first home and things you should think about before you enlist the help of an agent. How do you go about finding one, or should you use your Buyer's Agent? You need to change your perspective now, from buyer to seller.
2. The Agent Interview - why you should have interviews with prospective agents, and what you should know about how you hire a listing agent to help you so you make the right decision. Read a great article by Ryan Hukill about How Do You Choose a Listing Agent.
3. Questions You Should Ask Potential Agents - some key things you need answers to, such as showings (how are they handled, hours), commissions (they ARE negotiable, but you need to know what you are paying for), marketing (do they have a written marketing plan that will be effective for your targeted market?) and signage
4. Starting the process - here is where the fun begins as your home goes on the market; what if you are NOT seeing many buyers? Did you make the right decision about pricing? What options do you have during the early phase of the listing?
5. Showings - a critical phase, and you need to know how to be prepared for showings and what you can expect
6. Your Behavior During Showings - essentially you should NOT be there. It makes buyers nervous and less likely to spend time touring your home. Read more about why this is so important to the sale of your house.
7. Offer Time- how an offer happens and what to expect as the seller once you receive an offer.
8. How to Respond to Offers - key things you need to know about how to respond to offers and what the process entails until you have acceptance, or not. You have some options here, just as the buyers do. You should know how NOT to respond when you get a low offer, which is likely.
9. Due Diligence - this is the critical period after acceptance when the buyers are having their home inspection and other key tasks need to take place as they conduct their due diligence, such as you providing certain state and federally required disclosures.
10. Repairs Request - this is a source of great anxiety for buyers and sellers alike. You need to know about what to do with the buyers' request for repairs and your options as the first time home seller. Many deals fall apart during this phase - don't let that happen to you.
Being a well educated consumer is important when you are the buyers, but equally important when you are the seller. Make sure you understand the paperwork, the tasks you are required to perform, and the ways that you can maximize the likelihood that you will be successful in selling your first home in short order and for top dollar. You have been a buyer before, so don't forget what that is like - it will help keep your perspective when you start down the road as a first time home seller.
As always, if I can help in any way with questions about the process, providing a market analysis, sharing information about market conditions, or any related matter on home selling, please feel free to contact me at (760) 840-1360 or email me at JDowler@remax.net.
Here is the full series if you are interested in more reading.
FIRST TIME SELLER SERIES