Selling your first home can be both exciting and challenging. Perhaps you bought a house right out of college and are looking for a new home to grow a family in. Regardless, you’ve made an investment, and you’re ready to realize some return and have enough to fund a down payment for your next house. Before you list your house, you’ll need to do a bit of homework to maximize your profit and take the stress out of the selling process.
Research Your Local Real Estate Market
Choosing a listing price for your house is typically based on the value of the rest of the neighborhood, called comps, or comparable properties. Ideally, your house should be listed near the top, although larger homes or those with better amenities may command higher prices than smaller ones in less desirable locations. It’s important to consider what other buyers in your market are spending when selling your home.
Identity Any Potential Needed Home Repairs
Home buyers seek “move-in ready” homes. This means that before you think about selling your home, any cosmetic repairs, such as replacing window screens, applying fresh paint, and replacing or deep cleaning carpets needs to be finished. Prospective home-buyers are likely to avoid homes for sale with issues needing repairs. Due to this, many first-time home sellers end up with surprises at closing time when buyers ask for concessions after their home inspection. Concessions typically include lowering the selling price to make up for any needed repairs that the buyer discovers. To avoid this, many sellers chose to have a home inspection before listing and may be able to fix any repairs for less than a buyer’s concession would be.
Settle on a Reasonable ‘For Sale’ Price
When selling your home, you’ll want to set a price that is high enough for you to make a profit without pricing yourself out of the market. If you list a little higher than you’re willing to settle for, you’ll have room to negotiate with buyers without feeling like you’re losing money. Consider your comps, and also any specific amenities you have, such as proximity to a local school or upgrades you’ve made to the home to find that “sweet spot” that attracts multiple offers.
Make Your Home Tour-Ready
One often-overlooked aspect of making your home ready to sell is making it easy for potential buyers to imagine themselves living there. Removing family photos, knick-knacks, and other clutter allows buyers to see the structure of the house, including any built-in shelving, fireplaces, and closet space. During home tours, buyers will be inspecting every nook and cranny, so it’s important to de-clutter, packing excess belongings into containers and storing them neatly. Too many personal items on display make it harder for a buyer to picture their own family living in the home.
Remember This is a Business Transaction
Selling your home can be an emotional time, especially if it’s your first house. This is where you may have started a family, or a nest purchased after your wedding. Your first home has many memories attached to it, and you’ve probably invested a lot of time and energy into creating a home for those you love. Potential buyers, however, don’t have the emotional attachment to the home and may be critical of the location, size, or even the colors of your walls. Try to avoid being present when a realtor is showing your home and remember that buyers are making a large purchase – it’s not personal if they don’t like some aspects of your house.
Selling your first home can be a stressful time, but it doesn’t have to be. With a little preparation, you’ll be ready to sign the papers in no time.