A Special Report from The Pujals Team, Coldwell Banker Brokers of the Valley
When you’re a first-time home buyer, you can easily find a lot of advice and suggestions to make the home buying process easier. But what about when you’re a first-time home seller? There’s much less information about this life milestone. Yet at some point you’ll want to sell that first home. And if you’ve never done something before, it often feels overwhelming and even scary.
When most people decide to sell their first home, they feel confused. “Who do I call? What do I list my home for? Do I need to update my home? What is the process for selling a home? Is it expensive?” The list of questions is endless.
Being a first-time home seller doesn’t have to be stressful. By following the tips below, you can sell your first home quickly and for top dollar.
1. Choose the Right Listing Agent
When you bought your home, you hired a buyer’s agent. Now that you’re selling it, you’ll need a listing agent. Most real estate agents can work for either buyers or sellers; the key is to enlist the help of an agent with a proven track record and who is dedicated to working for you.
Since your home is likely one of your largest assets, you want to hire someone you can trust and who can deliver the results you deserve. Therefore, don’t sign with just any real estate agent. Interview a few and ask them the following questions:
- How do you ensure my home is priced properly? While you want top dollar, if your listing agent advises you to over-price your home, it could sit on the market for months. When you price your home correctly from the beginning, you often get multiple offers on the same day, which can then drive up the sales price. Your listing agent should have the know-how, research tools, and expertise that comes from experience to help you come up with the best listing price.
- How will you market my home? Ideally, your listing agent should take a multi-faceted approach to marketing your home. This can include such things as open houses, online exposure via home finding sites and social media, and Realtor tours, just to name a few. Your listing agent should also be able to offer staging advice, as staging is a vital aspect of marketing.
- How often will we be in communication? You want a listing agent who communicates often. This includes getting feedback after showings, providing regular marketing updates, and sharing comments from potential buyers and other real estate agents, Set your communication expectations high. The last thing you need is to feel ignored or not important to your listing agent. Ideally, you want to feel like family.
Check out the agent’s track record by researching homes they’ve recently sold. Do they routinely sell homes in your area? Have the homes they sold sat on the market for months? Do you see marketing materials the agent has made for other homes? These are important questions to get answered.
Once you’ve found an agent you feel comfortable with and who has a track record of success, you can feel confident signing with them and having them represent your home. Having a great real estate agent working for you really is one of the best ways to ease any fears that come with being a first-time home seller.
2. Get an Outside Perspective on What Home Improvements You Need to Make
Whether you’ve owned your home for 4 years or 40 years, chances are your home needs a few updates to appeal to today’s buyers. But how do you know where to begin? Home decorating and renovation shows are great for inspiration, but not everyone has the funds to do a full house remodel.
If you’re a first-time home seller, it’s important that you get an outside opinion of what needs to be updated, fixed, or changed in your home, especially if you’ve lived in the home for many years. Why? Often, when you’re emotionally invested in something, like your family home, it’s easy to not see those things that could hinder a sale. After all, you may love the bright walls, the flowery wallpaper, or the creative way you’re using the dining room as an office. But remember that not everyone will see things as you do.
As a result of not knowing what outsiders see as potential issues, you may end up working haphazardly or guessing at what you should update or fix. Obviously, this is not the best strategy. Instead, ask your Realtor or a trusted friend what improvements could be made to help you sell your home.
Be open to the feedback you receive. Yes, it can be difficult to hear that the wall where you measured your kids’ heights over the years should be painted over, or that your prized movie memorabilia collection should be put in storage. But keep your eye on the goal, which is to sell your home for the highest price possible.
Take what others say to heart, remain objective, and do your pre-listing staging and updating with this new perspective in mind. It’s a great strategy for reducing the stress of being a first-time home seller and making sure your home is market-ready.
3. Understand Your Closing Costs
When you were a first-time home buyer, you paid closing costs. Now that you’re a first-time home seller, you’ll pay closing again, but this time they’ll be different costs. You need to understand what closing costs you’re responsible for so you can make an informed decision on what range of offers you can afford to accept for your home.
As a seller, you’ll typically be responsible for the following closing costs:
- Fees for buyer’s title insurance policy
- Mortgage payoff and pre-payment penalty (if applicable)
- Any outstanding amounts owed on the property
- Seller’s attorney fees (if applicable)
- Transfer taxes and recording fees
- Real estate commissions (also called brokerage fees)
In addition, the buyer may ask you to cover some of their closing costs as part of the offer. If you choose to accept, these costs will be added to yours.
All your closing costs will be deducted from the proceeds of selling your home. Therefore, if you have a mortgage on your current home, it’s important to keep an updated mortgage pay-off balance handy. That way, when you receive a purchase offer, you can determine what your closing expenses will be and there are no surprises a few days before closing.
Be a Successful First-Time Home Seller
Being a first-time home seller is both exciting and stressful. But you can make the process much easier when you take these suggestions to heart. As with anything in life, knowledge is power. The more you know about the home sales process and what to expect, the easier the experience will be.
Let us help you sell your Napa Valley home for top dollar. When you’re ready to make your move, contact us 707.249.0518 or firstname.lastname@example.org.