7 Tips For First-Time Home Sellers

Posted by Ed DePrato on Wednesday, November 5th, 2014 at 8:31am.

Selling your home can be a complex, time consuming, emotional and challenging process, especially so if you’re a first time home seller. Strangers will be walking through your home even when you aren’t there, poking through your cupboards and closets, criticizing your choice in decor or talking about the changes they’d have to make, and then offering you less money than you think your home is worth. It's a brutal process! It can be easy to make mistakes when it comes time to sell your home but we have some tips that can help you to avoid some of the common pitfalls.

Don’t get emotional. Yes, this is your home where you’ve spent many years and maybe even started your family but you need to emotionally detach from it to be able to sell it with a level head. You need to look at the house as commodity and you are the seller. Being emotionally attached to the house will prevent you from doing the things that need to be done to sell it and to turn down reasonable offers.

Hire an agent. Now I’m not saying this just because I’m an agent. There are certainly many homeowners who choose to sell without an agent and we’ve discussed FSBO previously. However, an agent does a lot to earn their commission. They will set a competitive price for your home to encourage a quick sale by doing a comparable market analysis. They interact directly with buyers so you don’t have to plus they keep you from having to deal with tire-kickers who have no intention of making an offer and will just waste your time. They are more experienced in negotiating home sales and will help ensure all the paperwork processing goes smoothly. Use your time to look for your new home or start planning your move and hire an expert to handle your home sale.

Be realistic about your price. Listen to your realtor and go with the listing price he or she recommends. They’ve calculated it based on comparable homes in the area as well as leaving a bit of room negotiate while getting you the price you want for your house. Overpriced homes don’t sell and overestimating a home’s value is a sign that you’re still emotionally attached to it.

Have great photos taken. We actually hire a professional photographer to come take photos of your home in order to present it in the best possible light. Photos are absolutely vital to getting a large number of buyers to view your home. Some homeowners or realtors will go in with a smartphone or little point-and-shoot camera and end up taking dark, blurry, narrow photos from all the wrong angles and heights. They may think it’s good enough but it could actually be detrimental to your traffic. A professional photographer has the right equipment and knowledge to achieve a quality photo that will capture buyers’ attention and draw people in. Don’t skimp on this.

Yes, you have to stage your home. We’ve discussed this in several other posts but I’m just going to say it briefly again. If you home is cluttered, dirty, or worn down, your home will take longer to sell and will sell for less. Take the time and expense to paint, fix any physical or mechanical issues, deep clean and declutter. Make your home feel inviting and comfortable and you’ll find it will sell more quickly and for closer to your asking price.

Don’t hide problems. If there is a significant issue with your home, it will be discovered during the inspection and you’ll either lose the buyer or extend the time it takes to close the sale. Get it fixed before your home goes to market or expect that you’ll have to disclose the problem up front and compensate for it in your asking price. Just be aware that if you choose not to fix it before going to market that you may turn away potential buyers and lose more money in the end that it would have cost you to fix it.

Be accommodating. You need to be accommodating to potential buyers even when it isn’t convenient for you if you want to sell your home. This is another area where a realtor is valuable. They can show your home when you’re at work, out running errands, and living your normal life. If you choose to sell your home without a realtor, you must be able to be extremely flexible with your schedule or it will take a very long time to sell. If you aren't able to be flexible, you need representation.

These are just a few tips for selling your home that will hopefully help you to be better prepared for the process. DePrato Associates can help you every step of the way and relieve the stress and complexity of the sales process. Click here to see the 20 things we do to help you sell your home. I call it the DePrato Advantage.

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