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10 Essential Tips for First-Time Home Sellers

Key Insights: There are a number of steps you should take when preparing to sell your home Addressing repairs, odors, and staging can help you attract top-dollar A qualified REALTOR® can help guide you through...

Essential tips for first time home sellers

Key Insights:

  • There are a number of steps you should take when preparing to sell your home
  • Addressing repairs, odors, and staging can help you attract top-dollar
  • A qualified REALTOR® can help guide you through the process - from home prep to closing

The buzz around a first-time home purchase is undeniable, but what about those selling for the first time?

In today’s home market, sellers hold the advantage. With a limited number of houses listed and plenty of interested buyers, many properties are selling for the asking price and they’re going fast. By learning how to sell your house with these real estate tips, you’ll be on your way to becoming an empowered home seller — especially in the current climate.

Here are the 10 home seller tips you need to know moving forward, including finding the right agent, staging your home for sale, pricing your listing, and so much more.

Home Seller Tip #1: Staging Matters

A crucial step when listing your home is staging your house for sale. In fact, the fastest way to sell your house may be through staging. According to the National Association of REALTORS, 48% of listing agents indicate that staging a home decreases the time the property spends on the market. Why? Because a staged property tends to increase buyer interest along with in-person traffic to the property.

To best stage your house, start by decluttering your space. Be sure to stash away any personal photos or mementos and ensure that all surfaces are tidy and clean. With this neutral home foundation, you can begin to stage each room in the home. Here are some simple yet effective styling tips for sellers to get you started:

  • Use subtle wall colors and re-paint if necessary.
  • Sparingly incorporate plants, throw pillows, and other decorative items.
  • If items like towels or dishes are displayed, make sure they match.

Home Seller Tip #2: Maximize Your Curb Appeal

Now that you’ve mastered the art of staging the inside of your home, it’s time to enhance the curb appeal of your home’s exterior. Whether interested buyers pass by your house on the street or scroll by your property online, the first image they’ll likely see is of the front of your home. In order to make the best first impression, you’ll want the face of your home to stand out.

To solicit a strong set of offers, start with a bright and tidy homefront. Here are some specific tips to boost your curb appeal, depending on the time of year you’re selling:

  • Pressure-wash your siding.
  • Wash every window until it sparkles.
  • Keep a well-manicured lawn and yard.
  • Maintain your garden, plants, and mulch.
  • Shovel snow from your sidewalk and driveway.

Home Seller Tip #3: Clean Up and Declutter

A clean home will work in your favor for a handful of reasons. Not only will it appear more spacious and fresh, but it will also allow potential buyers to more easily picture themselves living there.

There are a variety of methods to begin to declutter your home, such as:

  • KonMari
  • Swedish Death Cleaning
  • The Four Box Method
  • 12-12-12 Challenge

Next, be sure to deep clean these typical trouble spots and follow that up with a general cleaning of your usual spaces. By mixing up your cleaning routine, you’ll be more likely to stay motivated (and fit!) as you prepare to sell.

Photographing your home to sell Caption: Photographing your home to sell

Home Seller Tip #4: Use High-Quality Listing Photos

In the era of the internet, it’s no surprise that listing photos can make quite an impact on your home sale. The numbers support this notion too, as 83% of homebuyers indicate that photos are one of the most important ways they choose which houses to tour.

Whether your REALTOR has a listing photographer that they use, or they are able to take high-quality photos themselves, be sure to have bright, crisp images of your home online.

Home Seller Tip #5: Price Your Home Carefully

While you may think an ultra-high listing price can be negotiated down to your ideal sale price later on, this typically isn’t the case. One of the most surprising things first-time sellers don't know is that pricing your home too high can actually hurt your home sale in the long run.

It’s important to price your home reasonably from the beginning. This will help you get the best price at closing and it may cut down the amount of time your home spends on the market.

While you may understand the importance of a sweet-spot listing price, it can still be difficult to determine what that price is. By working with a REALTOR who understands the market and your home’s assets, you can come up with a number that makes you feel confident and excited about selling your home.

Home Seller Tip #6: Hire a Trustworthy Agent

A real estate agent will be your greatest asset throughout the home sale process. This professional will have your best interests in mind as they help you score a successful home sale. Start by interviewing multiple agents until you find the right fit. When you chat with one or a few REALTORS, you’ll gain a better sense of their personality, communication style, and how they will market your home.

When interviewing and hiring an agent, ask questions on the following topics:

  • Their REALTOR network and contacts
  • Resources that could be of value to you
  • Tips when preparing your home for sale
  • Their familiarity with your neighborhood
  • Past home sales and experiences

Home Seller Tip #7: Be Prepared to Show at All Times

When an interested buyer is available to tour your home, you’ll want to be ready, too. Here are some easy ways to keep your home prepared to show anytime:

  • Wash dishes immediately after every meal.
  • Ensure the trash is never overflowing.
  • Make beds every morning.
  • Consistently clean up toys, mail, and other clutter.
  • Have a designated place or sitter for pets.

By taking these small steps every day, you’ll be prepared to open your doors to potential buyers on the fly.

Home Seller Tip #8: Make Simple Repairs and Upgrades

While some buyers are up for the challenge of purchasing a fixer-upper home, many appreciate the convenience of a turnkey abode. Therefore, it’s important to focus on the details. Take a walk through your house and make note of any dings or scratches on the walls, stained carpet, squeaky cabinets, or mismatched fixtures. Then, make simple repairs and upgrades to these items.

For some larger-scale ideas — that also have a decent return on investment (ROI) — check out these tasks. These home improvements have been researched and are shown to have the best ROI upon resale:

  • HVAC conversion/electrification
  • Garage door replacement
  • Siding replacement
  • Manufactured stone veneer addition
  • Entry door replacement

Home Seller Tip #9: Remove Odors

As potential buyers pass through the hallways and rooms of your house, they’ll likely pay attention to every detail, including the smell of your home. You want them to be met with the best first impression possible.

To create a pleasant experience for interested buyers, make it a point to eliminate household odors. Here are a few tips to follow:

  • Boil a small amount of vinegar in water to rid your kitchen of strong odors.
  • Make odor absorbers with coffee grounds or baking soda.
  • Plug in a dehumidifier in your basement or other areas that tend to hold extra moisture.
  • Use air purifiers that are rated to remove odors.
  • Use lightly scented essential oils or room sprays.
  • Bake a yummy treat, like a tray of muffins or cookies.

Home Seller Tip #10: Don’t Rush the Process

Take your time and ask yourself these important questions before selling. Listing a house for sale and eventually closing the deal is an important process that takes time. Whether you’re at the beginning stages of a home sale or almost to the closing table, know that you’re in charge and can make each decision at your own pace.

Ready to Sell Your Home?

Now that you know the best tips to sell a home, it’s time to reach out to Edina Realty or your agent. We’re available seven days a week to answer your questions and assist you throughout your home sale.

Remember, working with a real estate professional will keep you on track for a successful home sale — especially as a first-time seller.