Getting ready to sell your very first home?
Maybe you are moving for a new job or have a growing family and just need more space. Whatever the reason may be, selling your very first home may seem like an overwhelming task.
You probably remember what buying your home was like. New, scary, somewhat unsure of what to do. But you don’t have to worry. We will help you learn what every first-time home seller should know before they decide to sell.
Here are some key tips on what to think about and what you should consider before you start preparing your home to sell.
Getting Your Home Ready To Sell
Living in a home with a family, loved ones, or even just a pet, there are going to be things needing to be done to fix the place up. It’s pretty normal for any home to have some wear and tear. That’s just part of being a homeowner.
So you will need to clean the place up and fix any maintenance issues. Even small ones. And you are going to want to do this before you put your home up for sale.
You must Must MUST prepare your home for sale BEFORE you put it on the market. Here’s why:
Once your home is listed on the market you’re starting the timer. If the home is not ready to sell or if you are still working on fixing up some things, it can easily deter buyers. They might not want to wait and move on to another home that is move-in ready, or they might not want to deal with a fixer-upper.
The point is that it can scare off potential buyers. And the longer your home sits on the market, the less interest it will generate. Buyers will start to look over your listing and then even if you are able to get an interested buyer to make an offer they are going to offer you less. The longer your property sits available on the market the less negotiating power you will have.
One of the best things you can do to prepare your home to sell and really peak buyer’s interest is by doing some minor updating as well. Things like putting up some fresh paint and making some easy changes around the house can really make heads turn.
Is It Even the Best Time To Sell?
Timing is everything. Especially when selling a house. You need to make sure that it is the right time of year to sell.
As it starts to get colder out, the amount of buyers looking for a home is going to go down. Now don’t get us wrong, there are still going to be buyers looking for properties, even during fall and winter.
However, people are less likely to want to move around this time of year. It’s colder out here in Florida and freezing cold in other places around the country. Not to mention the holidays.
People want to spend time with friends and family around the holidays. There are always social events, holiday parties, and don’t forget the gift-giving. Many of these things take priority and buyers will wait until after the holidays in the warmer months to start looking at homes.
A good rule of thumb is to get your house on the market and sold before Thanksgiving. After Thanksgiving, the housing market will begin to slow down. But it doesn’t halt completely. There will still be some buyers out there looking for homes.
And sometimes it works out. Even though there are fewer buyers searching for homes there are also fewer homes listed around this time of year.
However, we still recommend getting your house ready and listed during the warmer months before the holidays.
Think About Inspecting Before You List
Most people think that an inspection is only something that you do once you have an interested buyer. But that isn’t always true.
Before you put your home on the market, it can be very beneficial to have the home inspected. The last thing you want is to go through the entire process of preparing your home, listing your home, hosting open houses, receiving offers, going through negotiations, and then finally having the sale fall through because there are issues found during the closing inspection.
Getting an inspection done first can help to avoid this type of complication with your home sale. That will give you the chance to have anything the inspector might catch fixed before the home is listed on the market.
Then you won’t need to stress out about the closing inspection. And you can provide the pre-listing inspection paperwork as an additional benefit for interested buyers. That will put their mind at ease as well knowing that you’ve already had an inspection performed on the property.
Don’t Forget To Save the Paperwork!
Another key tip that every first-time home seller should know: always save your paperwork. That includes any maintenance, repairs, updates, you name it.
It shows interested buyers that the house has been well maintained. Also, it helps buyers to know what has been more recently fixed up or updated.
The paperwork is just how buyers can see the records of the house and help them prepare for what to expect when it comes to the inspection.
If you haven’t been saving the paperwork for your home, don’t worry. Just start doing it now. And if there are any big repairs or updates that have been done, call the companies and see if you can get a copy of the records they have on file (Most companies will keep those records).
Stage Your Home
We cannot stress enough how much staging your home can help it sell. And you have options when it comes to staging. You can do it yourself or you can find companies that stage homes for you.
Staging your house is a proven process that helps to show off the best aspects of the home. Staging leads to higher/more offers and fast sales.
If you have some experience when it comes to modern home design then you can do the staging yourself. Most homeowners choose to go with a professional staging company though. And most sellers find it to be well worth the extra money.
Staging helps to put your home’s “best foot forward” and really appeals to buyers. It will quickly generate interest and definitely elevate your home, especially when taking your listing photos.
Have Professional Photos Taken
Always have professional photos taken of your home for your listing photos. This is the biggest mistake that a first-time home seller can make. A professional real estate photographer is worth literally every penny.
They know how to take pictures at the most flattering angles for different rooms and areas of the home. They understand lighting, time of day, and will be able to photograph your home in a way that buyers will notice.
Trying to photograph your house yourself might seem like a good way to cut costs, however, it is not recommended. Even if you have a friend or family member that “does photography” you should still consider going with a professional.
The first thing that buyers are going to see is the listing photos. And if the pictures aren’t in focus, are dark, or there just aren’t enough of them, buyers will just keep scrolling without giving it another thought.
This is another way that you will be putting your house’s “best foot forward”.
Pick the Right Real Estate Agent
You need to pick the right real estate agent to sell your home. The biggest tip we can give you when it comes to real estate agents: (don’t just look at commission percentage).
Obviously, looking for an agent is more than just the commission prices. But a lot of homeowners want to find an agent with a lower commission percentage so that they can save money.
But you aren’t really saving money if your agent can’t help you sell your home. Remember that agents with really low commission prices are often new to real estate or have a bad sales record. And that doesn’t bode well for you.
Getting an agent with a higher (yet reasonable) commission percentage rate with a proven sales record is more important than trying to save a few bucks. In the long run, a better agent is going to help you get more for your home, and help you sell it quickly. Honestly, it’s worth it.
Remember To Negotiate
Negotiating. This is often stressful for any home seller let alone a first-time home seller. You want to sale to go through but you also want to get what you think the home is worth.
Obviously, the buyers want to get the home for as little as possible. It’s just all a part of the sales process. Having an experienced and confident real estate agent on your side to help you through negotiations is vital.
They won’t only advocate for you, but they will be honest with you about what your home is actually worth and if you should accept an offer. The negotiating process can be brutal, but once you are through it and the sale is getting ready to close, you can begin to relax and know the hardest part is over.
Enjoy Your First Home Sale
Now, it is time to celebrate! Once all the paperwork is done and you go through the closing process, you are now a first-time home seller!