Are you a first time seller getting ready to list your property? You’re probably starting to realize there’s a lot you need to know! Wouldn’t it be great if all the information you needed was in one place?
Well, don’t worry. We’ve got your back with this blog post, which is full of tips every home seller will appreciate. Consider it the ultimate checklist for putting your property on the market! Here’s what you need to do as you get ready to list:
Find an agent
Working with a trustworthy realtor will smooth out your selling process and help you get the best deal possible. Look for someone who is established in the area. They will be able to recommend good contractors, inspectors, real estate photographers, and so on. They’re also an invaluable resource for finding accurate comps (more on that in the next section) as well as working closely with buyers agents to set up showings and negotiate offers. And don’t forget—they’re pros at explaining the mountains of paperwork you’re likely to be sifting through during this process.
Settle on a listing price
Overpricing a listing is a common but costly mistake that a first time seller can make. This can happen for many reasons, for example:
A home seller’s emotional attachment to the property could affect their perception of its worth. Or, they could be listing based on what they need to make off the sale in order to break even or turn a profit and not based on the property’s actual value.
Finding comparable sales is a little more complex than looking for homes with the same bed and bath count. A realtor will know which local areas are appropriate to pull comps from and they will look at specifics about each property that make them similar or dissimilar to the listing in question.
Changes in the economy have an impact on property values, and sometimes these changes come on relatively quickly. If you considered selling a year ago, then waited to list until now, the market could look different than it did when you starting thinking about numbers.
Many first time sellers price on the high side, mistakenly assuming it is all part of the negotiating process—buyers will send in lower offers and they’ll eventually meet somewhere in the middle. The fact is, many of today’s buyers are considering properties based on search criteria. So, if you’re hoping to get $260,000-$265,000 for your home and you list it at $269,000, buyers who are searching for homes between $200,000 and $260,000 probably will not even see your listing!
All of this illustrates how important it is to look carefully and objectively at the market before listing your property. You don’t want to overprice, causing it to “sit” on the market for too long (which some buyers will see as a red flag) but underpricing could cause you to lose out on money.
Start staging your property
Once you’ve got a price in mind, it’s time to make your property appealing to buyers. You want to do this before taking listing photos if at all possible!
Fix any glaring problems that could affect a sale and give your home a refresh, both outdoors and inside. Looks are a big part of what really sells real estate, so go for two things: clean and neutral. That means, if you will be living in your home while you are selling it, clear out as many personal items as possible. While you’re doing this, it’s a great time to double up on the next item on our checklist!
Prep for the big move
If you’re selling your home, chances are you’ve got some packing to do! Prep early for the move, even if you’re not sure how long it will take to sell. Renting off-site storage for nonessentials will help you get that clean and neutral look we mentioned before.
Even though it may be too early to book the moving truck, start pricing out expenses so you can budget appropriately. Moving expenses could take a first time seller by surprise, especially if it has been a while since they moved into their current home!
Make a plan for showings
Once your listing is live, hopefully the showings will start to roll in. This is a challenging time for sellers, who may need to pack up and head out on very short notice. Plan ahead for showings by keeping a bag packed for yourself and any kids or pets in the home. It helps to have a quick-clean checklist that you can scan when you get a call for a showing. Wipe down counters? Check. Open curtains? Check. Hide that box of cookies you were eating on the couch while watching late night TV? Double check.
Make sure you have a place to go while you wait. Whether it’s hanging out at the local library, spending the afternoon at Grandma’s, or just taking a long drive with some music playing.
Get quality listing photos
It’s hard to overstate the importance of good real estate photography. Especially now, when both buyers and their agents can click through several properties per minute on the web, a first impression may be all you get. Our guide to real estate photography will tell you everything you need to know, but here it is in a nutshell: your listing photos should look like your home would look for a showing, and with the best lighting available.
List that property!
Got your realtor, price, staging, move prep, listing photos, and showing plan all worked out? You’re ready to take your listing live! Congratulations on putting your home on the market and good luck, first time seller!