Friday, February 11, 2011

5 Tips for First Time Home Sellers

5 Tips for First Time Home Sellers

Selling your home can be a seamless, smooth and successful transaction – but only if you have the right information to help you make it through the real estate maze. This is particularly important for first time home sellers, who certainly can’t afford to “experiment” with selling their house; because the consequences of any mistakes can cost thousands, or more likely tens of thousands of dollars.

However, generally speaking there are 5 solid tips that first time home sellers should know:

1. Have a customized plan. If there’s one thing that all first time home sellers must have – but not all of them do – it’s a customized plan. Each market is different. And within markets, there are sub-markets that are categorized into neighbourhoods, or types of homes, or proximity to amenities (e.g. malls, hospitals, schools, etc.), and more. It’s vital to work with your Realtor and create your unique plan. Even if you know someone who “was in the same boat as you and sold their house without any problem,” I can assure you that there are key details that will differ.

2. Stage your house. There was a time when simply cleaning your house was enough to make it attractive and compelling for buyers – those times have changed. Now, home staging is essential to not merely attracting the right kinds of buyers, but influencing them to make an offer that will make you happy. Staging goes far beyond merely cleaning. It looks at your house “though a buyer’s eyes” and proactively beautifies anything that may detract from your home’s overall appeal. As an experienced Realtor, I can always immediately tell the difference between a staged home and one that’s just merely clean. And guess what? Buyers can tell the difference, too!

3. Make any major repairs. Home staging is about cosmetic (how things look) improvements, but if there’s something that needs to be fixed – like, say, a big hole in the roof or the gutters are about the fly off – then you certainly want to repair those before you start showing your home. This not only helps attract favourable offers, but it prevents potential buyers from having contingencies in their offer (e.g. the seller must repair A, B and C by a certain date, and it must pass an inspection, or else the offer is null and void).

4. Be competitive. The real estate market is competitive. The price that your next door neighbour sells his or her house for will influence the value of your home. And the same goes for a comparable house in your neighbourhood, or even for a comparable house on the other side of the city. It’s important to work with a Realtor who will scope out the competition and give your home an edge.

5. Work with a Realtor. Your home is your biggest asset. Just as you wouldn’t perform surgery on yourself, you shouldn’t try and “go it alone” or, often just as mistakenly, choose a low-cost or discount option. When you’re talking about an asset that is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, spending a few thousand dollars on the services of a Realtor more than pays for itself. You’ll get the peace of mind you need, plus you’ll access a variety of services that will help your home sell for top dollar. Obviously, there are more tips out there – and as noted above, your unique situation and plan will determine the selling strategies that work best for you. However, the 5 tips above are the essentials that you should always keep on-hand and ready to help you experience a smooth, stress-free and successful first time home sale.

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Chris Proctor