Tips first time home sellers

Home Selling

10 Clever Tips for First-Time Home Sellers

July 14, 2018 | by Andrew Schmeerbauch

At A Glance

Selling your home can be a daunting task — especially if it’s your first time. Luckily, there are plenty of things you can do to prepare, ensure a smooth process, and an optimal outcome on the sale. Here are 10 selling tips to help set you down the path to success.

Tips first time home sellers

Updated 6/14/19

Are you thinking about selling your first home but feeling a little overwhelmed by the prospect? That’s not surprising.

The home selling process is not only a huge commitment in terms of time and energy — it’s also an incredibly complex and high-stakes process.

As such, it’s generally recommended that all sellers — not just first-timers — seek help from an experienced professional.

A full-service real estate agent will help guide you through every aspect of the home selling process, from answering your questions and setting realistic expectations, to handling offers, negotiations, contracts, and more.

If you’re planning to sell in the near future, it’s never too early to connect with an agent and start getting ready.

Get in touch with Clever and we’ll connect you with one of our a top-rated, local Partner Agents for a free, no-obligation consultation!

In the meantime, we’ve outlined 10 helpful tips that will help make the overall process smoother, less stressful, and ultimately, more lucrative.

1. Find a Great Listing Agent

Yes, we’re being a bit redundant here, but it’s worth re-emphasizing: for the vast majority of home sellers, this really should be the first step taken in the entire process.

Unless you’re a seasoned real estate professional who’s extremely well-versed in home valuations, local market trends, pricing negotiations, legal documents, and tax protocol, chances are you’d benefit immensely from a full-service agent’s help.

Agents save you a ton of time, energy, and stress. They reduce fiscal and legal liability, handle difficult negotiations, and help you sell your home faster. Most sellers agree that a good agent always ends up justifying the added cost — especially relative to what you lose when you choose to go it alone.

2. Define Your Home Selling Goals

Once you’ve found a great agent, you’ll work with them to evaluate your specific situation and home selling goals.

Your goals and/or circumstances will impact how you go about selling your home — and potentially the price you’re ultimately able to get for it.

For example, if you have a tight timeline (maybe you need to relocate quickly for a new job, etc.), you’ll likely need to lower your initial listing price to attract more offers right out the gate.

If your timeline is a bit more flexible, you may want to make some impactful repairs and wait for the optimal time of year to sell in order to maximize the sale price.

Either way, when you work with a top agent, they’ll be able to make recommendations that maximize your chances at an optimal outcome.

3. Price Your Home to Sell

The ultimate goal of any home seller is to get the highest offer in the shortest amount of time possible. To make that happen you’ll need to list your home for the right selling price. Find that “sweet spot” takes some work, however.

You’ll want to get a comparative market analysis (CMA) on the house. This will help you compare your home to other similar homes in the area to see where yours fits in terms of prevailing market value. This will also help you understand how much profit you can make selling your home.

Take a look at similar homes on the market, paying attention to the length of time they were on the market and how much they fell in price. An experienced realtor will be able to give you a lot of the information you’re looking for and help you attract more offers faster.

4. Gauge the Market and Pick the Right Time to Sell

It’s no secret that the real estate market is in a state of constant flux. You may have noticed that the streets in your area are lined with “For Sale” signs all spring and summer, but most seem to disappear come fall and winter.

That’s because in most markets, houses tend to sell faster, and at a higher price point, during the warmer months. Those looking in the cooler months are typically relocating for a job or have a similar reason for moving.

The right time to list depends on the area and neighborhood, as well as the season.

Learn More: When is the Best Time to Sell a House?

5. Increase Your Home’s Curb Appeal

First impressions matter, and not just at job interviews. No doubt about it, prospective buyers are super judge-y and they form their opinions quickly. If your yard could use some extra love, there’s no time like the present.

Be sure to keep the hedges and grass trimmed, the front porch swept, and remove items that don’t belong.

Additionally, if the siding on your house is falling off or in need of some fresh paint, it’s typically worth the investment. Exterior damage is an immediate red flag for would-be buyers — not to mention home inspectors and appraisers.

Taking the time to fix those things now doesn’t just help you make a good first impression — it’ll attract more attention online and off, get you more offers faster, and ultimately, a better price at closing.

6. Stage Your Home Like a Pro to Get Better Offers Faster

Regardless of what you’ve been told, home staging really does make a difference when it comes to the final sale price.

A properly staged home — ideally handled by a home-staging professional or your realtor — helps would-be buyers envision themselves living there.

Talk to your real estate agent about different home-staging options and they’ll help you find an approach that helps you get a great result without breaking the bank.

7. Make Impactful Repairs and Improvements Before Listing Your Home

Making minor (or sometimes even major) repairs and cleaning up both the interior and exterior is a must if you want to get a great price for your home.

That said, it’s common for some first-time home sellers to go overboard and sink too much into pre-sale renovations and home improvements, which can eat into margins and jeopardize the sale’s profitability.

If your house is on the older side, a fresh coat of paint on the cabinets and new countertops in the kitchen and bathroom goes a long way. If you want to go the extra mile, replace the flooring and update the appliances for an instant “new-kitchen” look.

8. Get Ready for Life with an Active Listing

After you list your house, expect some big — and not always convenient — lifestyle changes.

First, you’ll need to be ready for a showing as soon as you get a call. Make sure to keep clutter off of surfaces, keep the sink free of dishes and the house smelling fresh. You’ll also want to make sure to keep the floors vacuumed and swept.

Second, be ready to take the pets out with you while your home is being shown. It may be a challenge, but it won’t be forever — especially when the potential buyers can feel right at home in the space.

Finally, be ready for the fact that a great showing can quickly lead to a profitable home sale. You need to be ready to swing into action the moment you’ve got an interested buyer on the hook.

9. Don’t Lose Your Patience

Selling a home requires some patience and flexibility, and it helps if you have both! You will probably have to drop everything and go so someone can walk through your house. You will also have to deep clean and you may need to bend to some of the buyer’s demands.

It’s all part of the package, and being flexible will keep the process running as smooth as can be. Having a realtor who is a strong negotiator can help you get the maximum benefit from the sales process.

10. Get Organized and Plan Ahead!

Planning is essential if you want to keep your head during the home selling process.

Make a timeline for each of the projects that need to be completed before you list your home. Keep the house clean so you’re not rushing around when you get the call that some prospective buyers are on their way over for a showing.

Be aware of when the home inspection will happen, and be ready for any changes that are requested afterward.

Importantly, you’ll need to have closed on your next property — or at least have somewhere you can stay temporarily — by the time the buyers are ready to move into your current home.

How to Find a Great Real Estate Agent and Save on Commission

While most home sellers recognize the value that full-service real estate agent brings to the table, they usually aren’t overly thrilled about shelling out the typical 6% commission fee.

The good news is that now, you can benefit from listing with a top-rated, full-service agent without paying full price.

When you list with Clever, we partner you up with top-rated, local agents from major brands and regional brokerages like Keller Williams, Coldwell Banker, RE/MAX, and more. The only difference is that you pay a fraction of their typical fee.

Our Partners provide full service for a flat fee of $3,000, or just 1% if the home sells for more than $350,000.

Want to learn more? Fill out this online form and one of our representatives will be in touch to answer your questions and connect you with a top-rated Clever Partner Agent in your area for a no-obligation consultation.

FAQs About Selling Your Home

1. How Can I Get My Home Ready to Sell Fast?

The two most important parts of a quick home sale are having the right price and making the property appealing to buyers. You should deep clean, declutter, and make the house as neutral as possible. Stage the home so buyers can immediately see themselves living there.

2. How Do I Get the Most Money For My House?

To maximize your profit, you need to sell for a great price and keep your expenses low. Working with a Clever Partner Agent will allow you to get a full-service sales experience while paying a low flat listing fee.

3. How Long Will My House Take to Sell?

The time on the market varies depending on your local area. Many markets favor sellers in 2019, meaning homes sell quickly. Working with a high-quality realtor will help you reach an accepted offer quickly. From the time you have an accepted offer, you can expect 30 - 40 days until closing.

4. What Should I Do to My House Before I Sell It?

The key to getting a home ready to sell is making high-impact improvements that will help buyers decide on your property. You should also declutter and depersonalize the home so that buyers see themselves in it, instead of your personal flair. Your listing agent will have other ideas for improvements that make a big difference in your specific market.

5. How Much Profit Do You Make Selling a House?

The profit you make is the home sale price minus your expenses. The biggest expense is often your realtor commission, which is generally 6%. 3% goes to the buyer’s agent and 3% to the listing agent. By working with a Clever Partner Agent, you pay a flat fee to the listing agent instead, which can save you thousands.

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