First Time Home Sellers Guide
When selling your home for the first time, everyone you talk to seems to have ideas about the best way to go about it. So, how do you know what advice to follow? What “ideas” will give you the best chance of selling your house for top dollar and, how do you make it through the process without going crazy? Below, we’ll cover our best “ideas” for first time sellers.
Remove the Emotion
You need to start thinking of the place you are selling differently. Where you may have referred to it as your "home" - now you need to think of it as a "house". This may sound easier said than done as the subdile reminders such as doorways signifying the height of each child as they have grown, are all around you. Your home is where you have made your memories. Selling the place where you have laughed and cried with your loved ones is not easy. You will want to turn these sudbide reminders that bring on nostalgia into a punch list of things to do. Although these things have a special place in your heart, they are detrimental to getting your home sold. You will want potential buyers to be able to see you house as a fresh, new place where they can make a home. Don't let you emotions play into the asking price. Your home has value, but that value is determined by factors that have little to do with your precious memories. Being fair is not easy when you have emotions for the house. To set the right price, you need someone that is impartial because adjusting the price down the road can cause problems.
Prepare Your House for Sale
Below is a general list of things that should be done to get your home ready to show. This is a generic list but your Realtor should walk with you through your home and help you with a more specific list of to-do's.
- Declutter - store seasonal, pet, and children's items before the open house
- Paint inside and out - use a neutral palette to appeal to the majority of buyers
- Fix broken faucets and fixtures - indoors, outdoors, and in basements or attics
- Repair leaks - remember to check the garage and other buildings on the property
- Secure gutters and inspect the roof
- Weed the yard
- Repair and paint the fence
- Fertilize or replenish the grass
- Refresh the landscaping and mulch
- Repair trip hazards like sidewalk cracks and holes in the driveway
- Add a bonus feature - fire pit, fountain, accent wall, appliance package, or barbecue
- Have your home staged and ready to show.
- Invest in a few minor upgrades such as hardware if needed
Major vs Minor Upgrades
When looking at potential upgrades to your home for the purpose of selling, its important to remember that ALL investments won't necessarily bring a return on investment. For instance, a top-of-the-line dishwasher will appeal to most demographics, but unless the current appliances are extremely out of date, you may not see that investment flow back to you in the form of a higher offer. If you current carpet is extremely worn or stained, new carpet can bring a fresh look to the home with little investment. If your lighting fixtures are out of date, investing in new fixtures can pay off too -- but do not upgrade simply to change. A local agent can tell you which upgrades make the most sense for your market.
Make First Views Count
One of the best ways to get top dollar for your home is to make sure it has immaculate curb appeal. You can do simple things like painting the front door a bright color and adding a couple of potted plants on each side of the door. When you add lighting along the sidewalk, you improve the way your yard looks and make it safer at night. Making sure that potential buyers feel welcome and wants to walk in the front door is the first step to selling your house.
Select The Initial Sale Price Carefully
It is very important to remember that you home will get more showing activity in the first 30 days that your home is listed. Many first time home sellers think it is a good idea to price the home high, with the intention of dropping the price over time. This has been proven to have negative effects on getting to dollar for your home. If your home is overpriced during the time that it gets the most attention of the most serious buyers, by the time you price the home correctly, you may have missed that critical time during the listing period. Sometimes, potential home buyers see price drops as a sign that something is wrong with your property. Once homes are on the market for a long time, they can become stigmatized. Serious home buyers are looking daily for the newest homes for sale and they will see the older listings over and over. Many individuals search online for properties where homes go into groupings by size, bedrooms, and price. Your agent can help you pick the right comparison homes to guide you to the best selling price. Bankrate says that a price difference of $5,000 can mean landing in one price category versus a lower one with more potential buyers.
Have Your House Ready To Show
Be ready for tons of house hunters interrupting your schedule wanting to see the home. Keep your property accessible and ready for showings at any time. You want your home to be easy for other agents to show. Do not require long advanced notifications as this can have your home pushed back on the list of showings. Understand that some buyers may work shifts opposite your schedule and need to see the property in the evening or on the weekend. Market Watch says that potential buyers will move on to another property if scheduling is not easy and requires too much prior notification.
Be Prepared For Negotiations
Talking to your real estate agent about the fees and costs you are willing to agree to before your home goes up for sale will speed up the process. Decide upfront if you are going to pay the closing costs. Your agent can help you consider upgrades or repairs in case the buyer asks you to cover extra costs. Knowing how you want to negotiate your home sale before you get in the middle of the transaction will speed up decision making and get the gut-wrenching part of the process over faster.
Selling your first home is going to be an emotional roller coaster. Making as many early decisions as you can may help speed up the sale. Listening to your agent can make the process smoother. Selecting a local representative that has the channels to get your home on the top sites further improves your chance of a quick transaction. Once you decide to sell a home, you should detach yourself from the property and think of it as a business transaction to get the right price. Using these tips and following the advice of a trustworthy real estate agent can help you get through your first home sale without tearing your hair out.