It is quite normal to feel overwhelmed when selling your home, especially if you are a first-time home seller. Take a deep breath, relax and uncover tips on the process of selling your home, some home selling advice, finding an agent, and what to expect.
When should you sell your home?
Most professionals agree that the best time to sell the home would be the spring. The winter months offer fewer prospects due to the holidays and other obligations. Before listing your home for sale, it is recommended to obtain a home inspection. This will allow you time to handle any repairs that may negate the sale of your home or affect the sale price of your home.
What does a home inspection consist of?
The American Society of Home Inspectors state that home inspections should consist of the following:
- Foundation, basements
- Plumbing, electric, heating, cooling
- Windows, flooring, ceilings, doors
The purpose of the home inspection is to address the big items before listing your home so that you can handle it on the front end. The last thing you would want to do is give a buyer negotiating tools to use during the closing process.
First time home seller
If you are a first-time home seller, you probably have a lot of questions running through your mind, such as:
- Finding a new home
- Should you go through a real estate agent
- Where to begin/when to sell
Your first step would be to find a trustworthy real estate agent. Next, you will need to determine when you want to start selling your home and what the home should be priced at. You need to create a plan that includes your budget, what your anticipated selling costs should be, and checklists for staging and inspecting your home, and preparations for moving out of your home.
Finding a real estate agent
To find the right agent to handle the selling of your home, you need to do the following:
- Ask for references
- Interview at least 3 agents- make sure to ask the right questions
- Ask about any certifications that the agent has completed- You want to make sure that you are hiring the right agent for you
- View agents last 3 years of home sales
- Check reviews on prospective agents
- Communicate strategies for selling your home
Asking the right questions
The importance of asking the right questions will help determine if you and the agent will be a good fit. When you are considering hiring an agent, the following are questions that will help you with the selection process:
- How long the individual has been an agent- You should look for someone with a few years of experience under their belt. The more experience the agent has more knowledge of the in’s and outs of the process the person has.
- What is their availability- You need an agent that will be available when urgent matters arise? If they are part-time ask how urgent matters are handled.
- Do they work alone, or as a team? An ideal agent will have a person that you can go to if they are unavailable.
- What is their specialty: buying or listing? What is their percentage of working with buyers/sellers? You are selling your home, you want someone that focuses on selling.
- How many clients are they currently working with? You want to make sure that your agent will have time to service your needs adequately, not someone that is too busy to perform their duties.
- What type of communication protocol do they follow? You should have a guideline regarding the best way to communicate with one another, and the appropriate amount of time to respond. You can set up weekly or daily updates depending on how busy the market is.
Understanding what an agent will do for you
The listing agent will do the following for you:
- Price and markets your home
- Organize showings with buyers/ handles open houses
- Will negotiate with buyers
- Presides over home inspection and closing procedures
- Suggest home improvement and staging of the home
Home selling costs
A big mistake that first-time home sellers tend to make is with calculating the costs of selling their home. Therefore, they end up disappointed when it comes to the final number after everything is all said and done. Keep these costs in mind when choosing to sell:
- Real estate agent commission (this amount can vary, make sure to verify the amount when hiring an agent)
- Remaining mortgage owed
- The cost of staging your home
- Moving costs and next home (whether it is renting or buying)
- 3%-4% for seller’s concessions
- Necessary repairs per home inspection
- 1%-3% for closing costs
Average time frame to sell your home
The average time to sell a home from start to finish takes about 2 to 4 months. This depends on the current market, your location and your house. Once you determine that you are selling your home, the average time to list your home is 3-5 days, after signing with an agent. Most offers will come in around 1-2 months after listing the home. The closing can take up to 50 days once an offer is accepted.
When should you move?
While you are in the process of selling your home, you should already have a moving timeline. During the decluttering and staging process, you can begin to obtain temporary storage space so that you have somewhere to put your personal belongings.
While it doesn’t hurt to prepare to pack and move before selling your home, it is recommended to wait until your home is sold before you buy another home. If you buy before selling your current home, you are risking the responsibility of two mortgage payments at one time. Which is fine if you are comfortably able to handle two mortgages.
To do‘s and don’ts
If you are a first-time home seller, there are certain do’s and don’ts that will help you successfully sell your home.
- Stage your home/landscape the lawn
- Have flexibility with showings/always be available to show home
- Use a professional photographer to take pictures of your home
- Use a licensed and experienced agent
- Follow the advice of your agent regarding repairs
- Make sure to take advantage of all marketing channels
- Choose the best time of year to sell- spring and summer are most favored
- Make sure the house is clean
- Overprice your home
- Avoid repairs or fail to disclose needed repairs
- Get emotionally involved
- Sell during the winter
- Be around for showings
Selling your home doesn’t have to be a stressful situation, as long as you follow the selling home advice tips that you have just read. This information was obtained from real estate professionals and is proven to be effective in selling your home.