Sometimes, in the real estate world, it seems like first-time home buyers get all the credit. Sure, owning your very own home is an exciting and hopefully fruitful endeavor, but what about selling?
First-time home sellers often enter the selling process a bit less prepared than they should be for the next transition in their lives.
Fortunately, there are many tips to keep in mind that can help you navigate through the process with your realtor, whether you’re selling a single family home (a home with one living unit), a multi-family home (a home with more than one living unit), or a modular home (a home that’s 60% to 90% completed in a factory-controlled environment, and transported and assembled at the final building site). Here are just a few proven strategies all first-time home sellers should keep in mind when putting their homes on the market.
1. Choose Your Agent Carefully
When it comes time to research potential real estate agents, you’ll likely be inundated by flashy websites with promises of quick and easy sales. But it’s not these ‘guarantees’ that are important — it’s experience that matters. About 78% of recent buyers found their real estate agent to be a very useful source of information, and realtors can be equally as useful for those who are in the selling stage. With this in mind, choose a realtor that not only has years of experience, but has years of localized experience.
“Enlist the help of a reputable listing agent. Don’t choose your cousin’s sister-in-law, for example, who dabbles in real estate. You’ll fare much better if you select an experienced real estate agent who sells a fair number of listings, preferably in your neighborhood,” writes Elizabeth Weintraub on The Balance.
HGTV.com recommends sellers to take 15% to 20% off what the home is worth when selling, but in the end, your realtor will be able to compare similar sales in the area to help you set a fair price. Choosing the right agent will help get your home-selling process off to a running start.
2. Consider the Market and Timing
Typically, there are three different real estate markets or ‘climates’: sellers markets, buyers markets, and balanced markets. Every area has its fair share of ebbs and flows regarding this trend, but in many places, spring months are sellers markets.
“Since the spring months are typically stronger months to sell a home, many home owners have to decide whether they should list their home in the fall and winter months or wait until spring. Obviously a sellers market is preferred when selling a home for the first time. A sellers market typically will lead to lots of demand for a property and the possibility of receiving multiple offers,” writes Kyle Hiscock on Rochester Real Estate Blog.
3. Anticipate Moving Costs/Obligations
Finally, if you’re putting your home up for sale during the spring or summer months, be aware that if it sells quickly, you’ll need to have — and put into action — a detailed plan for moving. Experts say May is the busiest time of year for moving companies, and waiting too long may make it almost impossible to find movers available for the day you need. Planning for the logistics of your move early enough also gives you more time to cushion your savings account for the increased costs. According to a Bankrate study, 32% of Americans between the ages of 53 and 62 reported they had zero dollars saved, more than any other age group, so planning ahead is ideal for movers working with tight budgets.
Keeping these tips in mind when planning to sell your home can help make sure the process goes as smoothly as possible from start to finish.
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