Is it time to move?  Have you outgrown your ‘starter home’? Is your job taking you out of town or is your commute just too long?  Remember the excitement and emotion in buying your first home?  Well, I’m happy to tell you that selling your first home is a lot less about emotion and more about maximizing your profit potential.  Here are 6 tips to get you started in the process.

1. Price Your Home Correctly!  Do not rely on Zillow or your next door neighbor who dabbles in real estate.  Your house is most likely your biggest investment and you want to put your trust in a professional.  Hire a Realtor who is experienced and reputable.  

Your agent will analyze sales in your neighborhood and prepare an estimate of value (often called a CMA or Comparative Market Analysis).  Sometimes we will tell you your house is not worth as much as you think it is, which is never an easy conversation.  Keep in mind that we have a fiduciary responsibility to you and want to maximize your return on investment!

2. Choose an Agent  When hiring an agent, your first question should not be, “What’s your commission?”  The answers may vary and oftentimes you get what you pay for.  A discount broker will, for a minimum fee, get your listing in the MLS and put up a sign. A full service realtor will hold your hand throughout the process, handle the multitude of details, offer counsel on you decisions, look out for your best interest and most importantly market your home to sell!

Interview prospective agents for the best fit for you.  Look at their experience and track record, but keep in mind that this is a relationship that will last for several months (and hopefully past closing).  You want to work with someone you can trust and who will listen to your concerns and answer your questions.

3. When Your Agent Tells You How to Prepare Your Home – Listen!  Your agent is experienced with both Buyers and Sellers and has likely toured 100’s if not 1000’s of homes.  We know what turns a Buyer off and makes them leave and not come back.  Most likely you will have to clear out a good portion of your belongings because it looks crowded. (Keep in mind one of the reasons you’re moving is because you’ve outgrown your house!)  You may need to rent storage or put items (neatly) in boxes in the garage.

We may advise you to make minor repairs or go a little more neutral with your paint or décor.  The goal is to make repairs in advance that ‘any buyer’ would ask for – not to make the house new again.  We want to maximize your investment – less work for new owner will not only increase your sales price, but it will make your house sell faster!  Yes -  you can sell “as-is”, but you may be leaving money on the table!

4. Do Not Put Your House on the Market Until it’s Ready!  You only get one chance to make a good first impression.  If you are half moved-out and the house it dirty, you’re better off waiting until you’re out and the house is clean.  Buyers who see a messy house will assume you have been equally sloppy with your home maintenance.  They will not come back a week later to see it clean.  There are buyers in the market for your house from the first day it goes in the MLS –  as my mom would say, make sure you’ve got your lipstick on!

5. Be Flexible with Showings.  Living in a house that’s on the market is stressful – it needs to be clean all the time.  But mandating showings only on weekends or during certain times will make it difficult for Buyers to see.  This is a good time to test out that minimalist lifestyle you’ve read about.  Make sure you leave the house for EVERY showing – make sure the curtains are open, the lights are on and the temperature is perfect.  You want your home to be bright and welcoming!

6. Communicate with your Agent  Be responsive to communication.  Most real estate transactions are a series of deadlines – some very short!  A big part of our job is making sure all the timelines in the contract are followed.  At the same time, we want your feedback.  If there is something about the listing that you are not happy with or not accurate – tell us!  If you have a question, please ask us before asking Google – the laws are different in every state and you may read the wrong information.   We are quite used to the crazy hours, and random questions at 10:00 at night (as are our families!)