When you’ve decided to sell your first home, any previous first-time seller can tell you there will be tearful moments when you realize that someone else will live in a place where you’ve built up memories, as well as euphoric moments when you realize that someone else wants your home and you can move onto the next.
While first-time homebuyers receive plenty of advice and attention, if you’ve never sold a home before, you, too, need to prepare for a new experience.
Steps to take now to get ready to sell your home
As a first-time seller, your transaction will be far easier if you start preparing at least a month, but preferably a few months, before you’re ready to put your home on the market.
Determine your priorities. Carefully considering why you want to sell your place and your plan for moving can help you decide how much time and money to spend on renovations and how to price your home. If you need to move fast to relocate, you may want to focus on a quick sale. If you have time to wait while a new home is being built for you, you can take a more leisurely approach to the transaction.
Tour your own home as if you were a buyer. It can be nearly impossible to view your own home through fresh eyes. You probably no longer notice the little quirks like a spot where your floor creaks or the window that sticks when it’s humid, but a buyer might. Take a clipboard or your smartphone and walk through each room, writing down any necessary cleaning, repairs or painting that must be done before your home goes on the market. Start thinking about how you can neutralize your home and make it less cluttered and less personal.
Make a list of the best features of your home and your home improvement projects. While your listing agent will do most of your marketing, it’s always helpful to be prepared to point out what you like about your home and your community, since chances are someone else will like those features, too. A list of items such as when you replaced your water heater or your roof is important, too, so buyers know what to expect in terms of future expenses.
Check out the competition. Tour open houses and model homes that are in your community or in a similar price range since this is what your potential buyers will be comparing to your home. You can pick up simple ideas for staging your home or an appropriate paint color. In addition, this can give you a sense of where your home should be priced in order to compete.
Interview several Realtors. Many first-time sellers want to pick a friend as their agent or choose the one that recommends the highest listing price. But marketing your home professionally, at the right price and in the best condition is what will sell your house for the most money and in the shortest timeframe. Interview a few Realtors and ask about their marketing plans, success records and suggestions for how to improve the appeal of your home before deciding whom to choose.
After you’ve done these five items, you’ll want to take a few more steps—all of which we’ll outline in the second part of our blog, which will be published next week.