WHAT FIRST TIME SELLERS NEED TO KNOW ABOUT A SALE
What First Time Sellers Need to Know About a Sale
Selling can be emotional. Even for those that never shed a tear, the thought of leaving a home you’ve created a life in for some time can bring a tear to your eye. Sometimes homeowners are glad to move on, good riddance, onto the next thing. But regardless of how you feel about selling, if you’ve never done it before, it can be quite overwhelming. Usually, the longer you’ve stayed in a home, the more attached you are and the more likely you’ll be offended by potential buyers. This is a new territory. So what do first time sellers need to know? Read on…
Don’t be shocked by how much you have to do.
You might think your home is perfect and to you, it probably is. But people who have never seen it before can spot every little flaw, mistake, damage or repair needed. Don’t be offended when your agent walks through and points out things you’ve become blind to because it will happen. Buyers want a move-in ready house and although you think it is, to a buyer, there is much to be done.
This goes far beyond simple cleaning, although that should be your first task. Clean like you’ve never cleaned before then have a trusted friend or your agent go through the home with a fine-tooth comb and make notes and suggestions on every little thing. Don’t get overwhelmed because you may not have to do everything. If you choose to leave the home as is you could be risking the $10,000-$15,000 price reduction over a similar property that has done all the repairs or upgrades that are needed.
Your agent will show you similar properties in the area to give you an idea of what homes are going for, how much you could get from the sale of your home and the difference between selling as is versus doing some updates. Ultimately, it is up to you whether or not you choose to fix all the repairs but if you choose not to do any of the updates or repairs, choose not to thoroughly clean and expect a higher price, you will be greatly disappointed.
Depending on how long you’ve lived in the home you probably have collected quite a bit of stuff. The longer people live in a home the more stuff you will collect, so, when it comes time to sell, decluttering is your friend. Think of it this way; you have to pack up the stuff and move it anyway, why not start now? Pack up at least half of the items in closets, cupboards, drawers, pantries and storage areas. This will show buyers there’s plenty of space and you’ve already done half the packing.
One little tip: make sure you don’t stack all of these boxes in the garage as buyers will eventually realize all of the things in the boxes were in the house. If you can, rent a storage facility or pod while your home is on the market. Don’t let this overwhelm you either; simply clear one room at a time. Take a weekend and clear one room or space each day until you are ready to list the home. You might also ask a professional organizer or home stager to help.
I’ve had dozens, if not hundreds of homeowners over the years ask me every day after the listing hit the market whether or not they had an offer. After a week, I’ve had some get very frustrated. But with some education, the seller should realize that days on the market for a particular area vary greatly and depending on how much work the homeowner has done and what the home is priced at, you could expect to see an offer within a week or within a month. Don’t get frustrated with your agent if you don’t have an offer on the table within the first couple of weeks. It’s not the time to reduce the sale price yet, but it might be time to look at comparable properties again to find out who selling and who’s not and why.
There are so many factors involved in selling, pricing, and how quickly a home will sell that it really is based on the micro-market of a neighborhood or community. It’s important for your agent to figure out all of these details so you have a good understanding of how the deal will go.
One suggestion is to use an Excel spreadsheet to help analyze competing bids, take notes of contingencies, understand what’s selling, what’s not selling, the price, and the type of buyers out there. Be willing to listen to feedback from buyers agents and buyers so that you can constantly tweak your home and price in order to get it sold.