In the real estate industry you hear agents consistently talk about how they are an expert working with "first-time homebuyers". And, if you are young, you probably work with millennials, that are in the market for their first home purchase. But as people in their later 30s begin families, swap jobs, etc., we are finding these first-time home buyers are becoming first-time home SELLERS. The industry as a whole, in my opinion, spends a lot less time focusing in on these sellers. With your home being one of the largest investments you will make in your lifetime, when you choose to sell that investment, and for the first time, there are so many things to consider.
Emotions in selling a home can run very high, especially when it is your first home. Again, since this is a HUGE investment, sellers need to prepare themselves for the ride that is the home-selling project. First and foremost, do what needs to be done to detach your emotion from the house. And that is what it becomes. A house. This is no longer your home. This is one of the hardest issues to get across to first-time sellers, and really, sellers in general. Your home is now an asset, and you will want to get the most amount of money possible in the sale of the home. So numero uno: detach emotion from the sale.
The next thing you will want to do is prepare the house to be ready to accept buyers. This may not require thousands and thousands of dollars in repairs, however simple fixes like paint, cleaning floors and carpets, replaces old fixtures like lights, and replacing hardware on cabinets can be the difference between an offer or not. First impressions are the most important impressions to buyers! As a Compass agent, we have a wonderful program called "Compass Concierge" where we will pay upfront costs on staging, landscaping, minor cosmetic construction projects, deep cleaning, and much more. It's a HUGE benefit with listing with a Compass agent!
Now - this may feel a little salesy, so I apologize for that in advance. Do yourself a favor and hire a qualified realtor. Not just an agent, a REALTOR. Realtors are protected by the National Association of Realtors, who will back them in legal actions. So - first lesson, hire a realtor. For Sale By Owners, also known as FSBO, have over 85% failure rate (source: rochesterrealestateblog.com). People who try to sell their home without a realtor think they will save money on commissions, and maybe (if they actually DO sell their property) they will. However, since over 85% of FSBOs fail, you probably will end up spending more money than what commissions will cost. Also, according to realtor.com working with a realtor, average sales price at time of sale is 25% more than doing it on your own. And yes, typically sellers will have to pay a 6% commission on total sales price, but if national average sales price is $245K - commissions would be $15K, but as a FSBO you would only have made $185K. You do the math!
Next step for first time home sellers is to know your market. Now, even though I stated to take the emotion out of the home selling process, homeowners rarely listen to that logic when it comes to pricing. So many times, pricing is a contentious part of listing your home because as an owner, you think it is worth more and should be listed as such. The issue is, just because the owner thinks so, does not mean the market and the buyer in that market will agree. Have your agent pull all the comparable properties that have sold in the last year (or so) to give you the most accurate figures to position your home in the most competitive light possible. And whatever you do...please...do NOT use a Zestimate!!!
Another great tip - know where you are going. I have seen so many times when a market is hot, first time home sellers think they NEED to sell in order to get the most out their home. They list it, it sells, and then they are stuck. Make sure there is a plan before you put your house on the market. If it is a smoking market, other sellers are going to have the same ideas as you, so do your homework and be prepared!
Selling your first home should be an EXCITING time! But make sure you align yourself with a great Realtor (message me for the best Compass agent in your neighborhood) to guide you through the process. In no way should you be alone. And...happy selling!!!