In this first-Time Home Sellers Guide, we will go over everything you need to do to get the most money for your home.
You've lived in your first home for a while now and you might be thinking, "How do I sell my home?"
Don't worry, many first-time home sellers have no clue where to start. Homeowners live in their homes for 13 years on average, the average number ranges between 8-18 years depending on which part of the country you're located in. In this article, we will go over the steps to Selling a Home for First-Time Home Sellers.
Maybe you need more space for a growing family, or maybe the space you have is just way too much house causing you to downsize. You could also need to move thanks to a new job or business opportunity.
Regardless of your reason for selling, you must be prepared for the emotional, mental, physical, and financial stress associated with selling your home. You have called this place home for years and have probably accumulated quite a bit of sentimental belongings, part ways can be tough. Not to mention the financial and physical stress of moving.
Even though this is your first time selling your home, you have the experience of having gone through the sales process from the buyer's side. When you were a buyer, most of your prep work involved gathering your financials for prequalifying for a mortgage and looking for the right home. As a seller, your prep work will be preparing your home to sell by making it look attractive to potential buyers.
You also may need to find a new home as well. Fortunately, you've been through the buying process, and we will walk you through everything you need to know about the sale process in this article.
Guide for First-Time Home Sellers
There are 10 important steps involved in selling your home:
- Determine why you're selling.
- Know when is the best time to sell.
- Choose a real estate agent or sell it on your own.
- Update or improve your home.
- Competitively price your home.
- Stage your home.
- List and market your home.
- Be prepared for closing.
- Time to move.
- Close on your home.
Determine Why You're Selling.
Before you can begin to take the necessary steps to sell your home, you need to determine why you're selling. This will help you focus your efforts on what needs to be done and what can wait until after the house has sold.
Are you downsizing? Upgrading? Relocating for a job or other opportunity? Divorcing? Retiring? Wanting to move to Mount Pleasant to raise a family? Maybe you want to move into Downtown Charleston and live in a historic townhome. You could be looking for a slice of island life on Daniel Island.
The answers to these questions will help you determine what needs to be done to your home before putting it on the market.
Know When is the Best Time to Sell.
Timing is everything in real estate, and this is especially true for first-time home sellers. You want to make sure that you're timing the sale of your home just right to get the best price possible. Understanding market conditions is critical for making this determination.
The best time to sell a home has traditionally been during the first half of May when children are ending the school year and the home buying process is less stressful on the family as a whole.
In 2020, we saw the Charleston home buying
season extend way into the off-season as the demand for real estate increased with buyers moving away from expensive metro areas. With the demand increasing and with a growing number of people working remotely, people not only had more time to search for their perfect home, but they also had to extend their search to find a home that both fit their needs and their budget.
Choose a Real Estate Agent or Sell It On Your Own
When listing your home for sale, you need to determine whether you will list it with a real estate agent
or list it on your own, also known as "for sale by owner" (FSBO for short). Consider the pros and cons of both and keep in mind that only 20% of sellers choose to list their home FSBO, and only half of those successfully sold their homes on their own.
Selling your home FSBO will save you money on commissions, however, keep in mind that you will need to cover the costs that most real estate agents handle such as marketing and staging, and you will still need to pay a commission to the real estate agent for the buyer of your home. You will also need to account for the potential time and money lost by making mistakes that you avoid by hiring a professional real estate agent.
Listing your home with a real estate agent will effectively double the commission you must pay; however, this will come out of the sale price at closing and not your own pocket. The positive to this is that a real estate agent will handle everything for you when they list your home for sale including marketing, staging, showings, preparing your home to close, and all the communications with potential buyers and their agents.
A seasoned real estate agent is skilled in the art of pricing and negotiating the highest and best offer for your home, potentially offsetting the commission you pay them for selling your home.