There is no shortage of blogs for first time home buyers. But what about first time home sellers? Marketing and selling your largest asset can be an intimidating process. Here are some of my best tips for first time home sellers.
Choosing an Agent
This is one of the most important tips for first time home sellers. You may be inclined to rely on a friend or family member, but I recommend doing a little research. Your home is likely your most valuable asset. You want to choose someone who knows the market and is excellent in marketing and negotiation. It’s standard procedure to interview a few agents to see who fits you best. But be careful not to fall for agent tricks!
Pricing it Right
This is probably one of the second most important tips for first time home sellers, pricing is not always easy, but it is vitally important. There’s risk and reward with every strategy. Price too high and you’ll risk sitting on the market and becoming stale. Price low to attract multiple offers and you may leave money on the table if multiple offers don’t come in.
The demand for your neighborhood, price range, and the time of year are also important factors to consider. Your agent should discuss the pros and cons of each approach and advise you based on your situation. The truth is, no one really knows what your home is worth. We may have an idea, but only the market can tell us the real value.
Getting Your Home Ready for Sale
What improvements are worth doing (aka net you more money) and what are just a waste of money? This dilemma always comes up when getting a home ready for the market. Don’t assume each dollar spent nets you 5 dollars more.
Getting Ready for Showings
Tip #1: You want to make your home as easily accessible as possible. The more hoops a buyer has to jump through to see it, the fewer showings you’ll have. That doesn’t mean you need an open door policy. It just means to try to be reasonable and accommodating. An hour or two notice is totally reasonable. If you’re in the luxury market, 24 hr notice is standard.
Tip #2: If you’re handling the showing, don’t crowd the buyer. Nothing makes a buyer want to run out of a house more than an overzealous seller who shows them everything they’ve ever done to the house. I’m sure your new shelf paper is lovely, but the buyer doesn’t really care. You want the buyer to visualize themselves living in the house. That’s difficult to do if they’re distracted by the seller.
It Can Feel a Bit Uncomfortable
This is likely the first time you’ll have strangers walking through your bedroom, going through your closets, and opening your kitchen drawers. It can feel a bit violating. That’s why it’s best to let the buyer and agent walk around by themselves. Ignorance is bliss, right? But make sure you prep the house so no one stumbles upon anything embarrassing. Believe me, it’s embarrassing for all of us!
Your Rights are Different Than the Buyers
You may remember when you bought your home that you had 17 days to do your due diligence and cancel the sale with no penalty. Not so for the seller. Once you agree, there’s no backing out without being in breech. The only way a seller can cancel is if the buyer isn’t performing in accordance with the contract. Even then, you have to provide two days notice for the buyer to cure the problem before cancelling. So when you accept the offer, make sure you’re ready to make the move. There’s no turning back!
Selling your home is an emotional transaction. We all understand that. Unfortunately, emotions can often cloud our judgment. Generally speaking, the longer you’re on the market, the lower your offers are likely to be. I’ve seen sellers get a bit too greedy when a quick offer comes in (or multiple offers) and scare off the buyers and never see that price again. I’ve seen sellers get upset at a lower offer and blow the negotiation before it even starts. Navigating the offers and properly vetting the buyers is your agent’s job. This goes back to the importance of choosing the right agent. You want someone who knows how to handle offers and emotions properly and can negotiate the best terms without scaring anyone away.
Buying Your Next Home
If this is the first time you’ve sold a home, there’s a good chance you’re moving up to another home. How can you manage that? Here’s a blog to help guide you.