In today’s competitive real estate market, selling a house takes more than just posting a “For Sale” sign on your front lawn and uploading photos taken with a cellphone camera.
Selling a home for the first is a completely different ballgame from what you may have experienced as a first-time buyer. It can be time-consuming and emotionally challenging. And, buyers may offer you less money than you think your home is worth.
Having an experienced realtor on your side can make all the difference. According to Zillow research, 36% of sellers attempt to sell their homes themselves, but challenges along the way lead many of them to eventually hire an agent. In the end, only 11% of sellers end up selling their home without a real estate agent.
8 Great Tips from RE/MAX for First-time Sellers
- Hire an experienced real estate agent: A real estate transaction is filled with complexities and nuances that a professional, skilled agent can help you navigate.
- Detach yourself from the process: You’ve made memories to last a lifetime in your first home, and saying goodbye is hard. But be careful not to let your emotional attachment get in the way of making sound decisions, particularly when it comes to staging and pricing your home. Try to see your home as a potential buyer would. Pretend you’re a potential buyer and walk through your home. Make a list of what you like about each room and the things you’d change.
- Don’t overprice: Some sellers might think that in today’s low-inventory market they can overprice their home and get top dollar. In reality, if you price it competitively, you’ll create a flurry of activity and (possibly) get in a situation where multiple offers are rolling in. Overpricing at the start hurts your chances of getting a quick sale, especially if numerous price reductions are needed.
- Declutter and stage for a quick sale: Buyers who tour your home will have a hard time picturing themselves living in it if they only see paint colors or decor that fits your own unique style. Repaint the walls with neutral, earth-tone colors, and remove excess decorations from walls. Consider renting a storage unit to store large furniture that overpowers your main living areas; rooms should appear as spacious as possible.
- Make the necessary repairs/upgrades: Ensure that all systems and appliances are functioning properly, as these items will come up in a home inspection that might cost you more money and, possibly, the whole sale down the road. The rule of thumb is to make improvements to your home that will help the property show well, but don’t put a ton of money into capital investments such as a basement refinish or high-end flooring, particularly if such upgrades aren’t consistent for your neighborhood. You likely won’t get that money back in the sale.
- Give your home curb appeal: Your home’s front exterior is the first thing potential buyers will see when they drive by, and it’s likely the first photo that will appear in an online search. Give your front door a fresh coat of paint, add some bright flowers to your entryway, and make sure that any cracks or major cement damage is fixed. Consider renting a pressure washer to get rid of the grime and buildup on the outside of your house, and definitely keep the yard mowed and tidy. A little elbow grease goes a long way to making a positive first impression on buyers.
- Keep an open mind for negotiations: What’s more important to you: Walking away with your asking price (or more)? A quick closing time? Putting out as little upfront cash in closing costs as possible? All of these are considerations you’ll need to make as you evaluate offers. Also, keep in mind that you have the ability to negotiate with counter-offers. Sometimes, you can sweeten the deal by offering to pay a buyer’s closing costs (if feasible), or leaving some appliances behind. A few concessions can go a long way in the negotiation process, and your Realtor can work with you to carefully evaluate and respond to each offer.
- Get ready for closing: Once you’ve accepted an offer and signed a sales agreement, you’ll start prepping for a closing. Also called “escrow” or “settlement,” closing is the final meeting between the buyer, seller, their agents and a loan officer (or an attorney, in some states) where the buyer pays their portion of the costs to the seller and the buyer’s new title and any mortgage liens are properly recorded. The closing agent will calculate what monies are due to the owner and what credits need to be applied to the transaction, such as taxes, title fees and other closing costs.
Another important tip for all sellers is to get a pre-sale home inspection. This pro-active measure gives you time to make the necessary repairs, if needed and helps to price your home appropriately. If you wait until the buyer calls for an inspection, however, you’re on a time crunch to make repairs within your budget. The national average cost of a home inspection is $326. A small price to pay to sell your home on schedule.
Florida Real Estate Contracts and Contract Forms
St. Petersburg Communities
Greater Pinellas Point
Historic Old Northeast
Historic Roser Park
Isla del Sol
If you’re interested in any of these of communities or live in one of them and are thinking of selling, call Estelia today.