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First Time Home Seller's Guide

(Published on - 6/8/2020 4:30:57 PM)

People who are selling their home for the first time tend to feel similar emotions as those buying a home for the first time. The one major question that comes to mind is, “where do I start?” Anyone doing anything for the first time will feel overwhelmed because it is in fact a new experience. The typical homeowner lives in their home for about 13 years, (not necessarily the case for everyone), but this is the average. Also, homeowners like to stay for at least 5 years to build up enough equity. So, let us just say a homeowner lives in their home between 5 to 13 years. That is a long time for someone to be in the same place, so you can imagine the topic of selling your home being a farfetched idea. The point behind this statement is that homeowners tend not to think about selling their home until they reach that point and decide they want to sell their home. When that day comes, the, “where do I start” question happens to pop up. Last week, we outlined questions to ask yourself and some things to consider when buying your first home, and this week we will do the same with selling your first home.

  1. What is your motivation in selling?

This question is an important one. For one thing, you want to make sure you are selling for the right reasons and ultimately when breaking down the reasons for selling, you might find that maybe now is not the time.  Selling your home is still expensive, so make sure you are certain. Upon doing this you will want to do a few other things:

  • Make a list of reasons you want to sell and what will you gain upon selling and moving or selling and buying a new home. For instance, selling because you got a higher paying job in another part of town may be a standard reason to sell. Selling because you’ve been there too long may not be a good enough reason. This is not to say that you cannot move simply because you want to, but just make sure you are prepared mentally and financially as well as know what you are getting yourself into.
  • Make a list of deal breakers or must haves upon selling; things like sale price, time frame for moving, budget for prelisting home improvements, etc.
  • Call your loan servicer to discuss the remaining mortgage balance. That is the first step in seeing how much equity you will have upon selling.
  • Figure out if this is the right time to sell in your area. This is done by researching and understanding the state of your local market. Nationally, the best time of year to sell your home, both to maximize your profits and to minimize time on market, is the first half of May. Homes listed for sale in this window sold six days faster than average and for $1,600 more, according to Zillow research. If you have any flexibility on when you want to sell and get into your new home, then waiting might be your best bet.

These points will help you determine whether you really want or need to sell and whether you want to wait and hold off for a better time. A better time might be later because you realized you do not know how much you want to sell for, or you do not have that home improvement budget ready. It can also be because you realized you are not doing it for the right reasons.

  1. Have a representation strategy.

This is where you, the home seller, ask yourself whether you want to sell your home on your own or go through a real estate agent. About 10% of home sellers in the last year have decided to sell their house on their own. That statement concludes that most sellers do go through a real estate agent. This is not to say that one is better than the other because each has its pros and cons and preference is another factor to consider. (Tomorrow’s blog will list out the pros and cons!)

 

 

                                                                                                          

 

  1. Stage your house.

Once you’ve come up with a sale price, contacted your loan servicer, and figured out how you want to go about selling your home, you then want to stage your home for potential buyers when they come see the house. Presentation is everything. You are showing potential buyers how great this house is, but they can not see that if there is clutter. Think of yourself going to look at a house for the first time, you saw the pictures online and it looks great. Then, you go see it and it did not meet your expectations simply because it was messy; there was no appeal. You would not want that, so buyers looking at your home probably will not either. Some tips are rearranging furniture to create more openness, declutter, clean, and depersonalize. Potential buyers want to experience the home as if it will be theirs and they cannot do that with your stuff all over. This is still your home after all and you are not expected to remove your belongings, but you intend to pass this home to someone else and you want to give them the space to visualize themselves in it. Below is an example of a non staged room versus one that is. (For more information on staging, blog post will be featured next week!)

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