Selling your home for the first time can be an exciting, nerve-wracking, and confusing experience. There are so many moving parts making it easy to make costly mistakes if you don't plan properly. However, you don't need to be an expert in real estate to ensure you get the best price for your home and sell it quickly. We've put together a list of tips to keep in mind when preparing your house for sale for the first time.
Declutter and depersonalize
When you're selling your home for the first time, you might be tempted to hang on to decor you've collected over the years. But when it comes time to put your house on the market, it's best to depersonalize it as much as possible.
That doesn't mean you have to sell all your belongings and move into a hotel room while your house is shown to prospective buyers. But it does mean that you should consider what matters most to you in terms of efficiently selling your home.
If you've been living in the house for years, you might have collected a lot of things that aren't necessarily helpful when selling your home. This includes old furniture or decorations that don't fit your current style. It can also include sentimental items like photos, souvenirs from trips or events, and memorabilia from childhood or college—all of which are best kept out of sight until after the sale closes.
Pre-inspect and repair
A pre-inspection is an inspection done by a licensed inspector before the property goes on the market. This inspection should include an assessment of any issues that may affect the price of your house or its ability to sell quickly and without hassle. The results of this inspection can help you decide whether or not to repair any problems with your home before listing it and also give you an idea of what needs fixing as soon as possible so that potential buyers don't walk away worried about making an offer on a house that has significant problems.
This is an excellent opportunity to check leaks in the roof, broken windows or doors, or other problems that may have gone unnoticed. You'll also want to check for pest infestations, mold growth, rodent damage, and structural issues like cracked foundations and walls.
Spruce up the curb appeal
Before potential buyers walk through the front door, they're already forming opinions about the interior. You can take steps now that will make it easier for them to imagine themselves living in your home and spending time there, which means they'll be more likely to move forward with an offer on the property.
If you want your home to sell quickly, you must do everything possible to maximize the curb appeal of your property. The curb appeal is the first thing potential buyers see when they pull up to your house. It's your chance to entice them and make them want to take a closer look.
This can be as simple as adding a fresh coat of paint to your front door or fixing cracks in the driveway. Or it could mean adding some greenery to your front yard or landscaping your front porch. Whatever it is, take this opportunity to make your home appear more appealing and welcoming to potential buyers.
Price it right from the start
One of the most important things you can do when pricing your listing is to ensure it's accurate from the start. You don't want to go too high or too low, and it's always better to overestimate than underestimate.
You'll want to consider a few factors: location, condition of the property, and comparable properties in the area. You might also want to consider what kind of interest rate you're getting on your mortgage and what other expenses are associated with selling, like closing fees.
If you're selling a home for the first time, it's important to remember that buyers only pay what they think a house is worth. So, if you price your listing below market value, it might attract a crowd, but a highly skeptical one may think something is wrong with the property. If you price your house high, it'll be difficult for you to sell, especially in a competitive market. You may have to lower the price and make sacrifices on repairs—something no one wants to do.
Know when to move out
Like many critical decisions made during the sale process, choosing when to move out of your home has a few trade-offs. The easy part is there are only three options: before, during, or after the sales.
Moving out before the sale makes preparing your home for the market easier. There will be minimal inconveniences during repairs and showings, and original owners won't have to worry about maintaining the house while living there. The house can be staged and ready for buyers 24/7. However, the threat of a double mortgage is real. If this isn't financially conducive for you, you may want to opt out of this choice.
If you choose to move during the sale process, you might decide to move right before the closing date. This means you continue to live there while your house is shown to prospects. You'll have the responsibility of maintaining the property throughout the entire duration of the process. We also recommend decluttering and moving less pertinent items into storage out of sight of visitors.
Lastly, you can choose to move after the sale. This option includes a rent-back option that can last up to 60 days. After the close, you can rent your house for up to two months while you move into your next location. These terms are typically a part of the home sale contract as an agreement between the original owner and the new one. In this scenario, you'll pay rent to the new owner until you vacate the property, which can be a further financial strain. You'll also have to be sure you can move out within those 60 days or risk legal action from the buyer.
Take great pictures and videos
One thing you might not have considered is how great photos and videos can make your home look like a million bucks. When potential buyers browse through listings online, they'll form an impression of your house based on what they see and don't see. Your property will stand out from the crowd if you have great pictures and videos.
You don't need an expensive camera or professional lighting equipment. Just be sure you're taking advantage of natural sunlight when possible, and try not to use filters or effects too heavily. If you can't take the time to take these photos yourself, hire a professional!
Prep for open houses
Have you ever wondered how to prepare for an open house? You're not alone! It's a common question for many first-time home sellers. Here are some easy tips on how to prep for your first open house:
Make sure the place is clean and tidy. You should remove clutter from the home, and bathrooms should be cleaned thoroughly.
Declutter closets, cabinets, and drawers. Remove items you don't need or use anymore so the buyer can see what's available in those spaces.
Remove non-permanent fixtures like window treatments and rugs or replace them with neutral alternatives (e.g., white rugs instead of patterned ones).
Clean your windows inside and out.
Deodorize carpets, upholstery, and your entire home.
Add staging elements like plants and artwork to liven up your space.
Make sure that furniture is arranged appropriately in each room so buyers can visualize themselves living in this space.
Follow a professional real estate agent's advice
If you're a first-time home seller, you might be nervous about what to do and how to do it. Avoid these feelings by working with a professional real estate agent. In fact, 90% of homebuyers in 2021 used a real estate agent to sell their home successfully.
An excellent real estate agent will know how to price your house for its best potential in the market and will help you determine what kind of upgrades and renovations will make it more appealing to buyers. They'll also know how much time buyers will spend looking at houses in your neighborhood, so they can advise on how much time and effort you should put into staging your home. They'll be able to tell you how many other houses are currently on the market in your area so that you can better understand how competitive your listing will be.
If you're thinking about listing your property for sale, we'd love to help! Mala Sander and her team specialize in assisting clients in buying and selling their luxury homes in the Hamptons. To find out more about their success in Hampton estate sales and how they can help you get your home on and off the market as quickly as possible, contact the team today!