You’ve already navigated the milestone of buying a house for the very first time. At some point, you’ll take on the role of selling a home for the first time.
While you might think it’s similar to buying, the process is very different. Along with varying paperwork and realtor fees, there are also separate emotions associated with a sale. While buying is all about falling in love with a house and negotiating a great deal, selling is about finding a great listing agent, getting a top price for the home, and losing as little cash as possible.
You’re in brand new territory and it’s important to do your research. Understanding the process of selling your first home will yield the best deal and a smoother process.
- Hire a Great Realtor
Remember, your realtor puts a lot of legwork into selling your property, but not all realtors are created equally. Some will work long hours, use every marketing advantage, and communicate constantly. Others will do the bare minimum for their paycheck.
Your realtor is earning a large commission from the sale of your home, so choose a realtor who will earn every cent of it. Read online reviews, ask around the neighborhood, and choose a reputable broker.
When hiring your realtor, have an out clause in the contract. In the event that the realtor isn’t doing his/her job, you’ll appreciate the ability to cut ties and hire someone new.
- Negotiate the Realtor’s Commission Rate
You can negotiate the commission paid to the realtor. The seller often pays both the buyer and seller fees, so you stand to benefit most from negotiations. Some realtors ask for more and others ask for less, but you can generally work with them on the price.
“Every time a home sells, there’s a six percent commission that goes to the seller and buyer’s agents,” reads an article from Houston property management and realty company Green Residential. “Traditionally, it’s split down the middle, with a small percentage going to any brokerage involved. However, as per antitrust laws for real estate commissions, no law can mandate a fixed commission across the board. Since this commission comes out of your overall sale, note that you can always negotiate the percentage of commission for your specific listing if you don’t think it sounds fair.”
You might also consider using a flat-fee realtor to represent you instead. You can often save a lot with a flat-rate fee rather than a percentage.
- Price Your Home Right
One of the most important pieces of selling your home is setting the right price. Don’t let a realtor, friends, or family members convince you to set the price higher than market conditions will allow. This only slows the sales process, and it might prevent you from selling your home.
Along with taking the advice of a trusted realtor, compare prices for similar properties in the area. Look on Realtor or Zillow for estimates on surrounding houses, what others have sold for this year, and how yours compares. This will help you sell your home more quickly.
- Hesitate to Take the First Offer
Unless the first offer is exactly what you’re looking for, don’t take it immediately. You don’t know exactly what the market holds, and you could end up with a better price.
“Hold off offers for approximately seven days, group show it and do a couple open houses, and that’s the best way to maximize your money,” says Shane Marrion, a realtor in Massachusetts. “It helps drive your price up and keeps everyone honest.”
That being said, don’t be foolish. If the house has been on the market for a couple months with no offers and you finally have a reasonable one, consider taking it. After a month or two, activity on homes slows down significantly, and this might be the best offer you’ll get.
- Be Prepared and Flexible for Home Showings
Most homebuyers try to sell their homes before they’ve vacated the dwelling, which creates problems with availability for showings. Sellers have more luck when they’re more available.
Even though you have a busy life, and it’s difficult to be away from your home, be flexible with showings. Start by having your house set and ready. It should be clean and well-decorated
Additionally, have a game plan in case your realtor asks to do a last-minute showing one day. You have the right to require 24-hour notice, but you don’t want to turn away a potential buyer when they come knocking. Have somewhere you can go for these scenarios.
Selling a home can be a stressful experience, but if you know what you’re getting into, you’ll know how to navigate the ups and downs. The savvy seller is the one who will sell their home quickly and profitably.