important steps to selling a home a first time home sellers guide - Robertson team

Steps to Selling a Home:
A First-Time Home Sellers Guide

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 - Robertson team

Guide for First-Time Home Sellers

There are 10 important steps involved in selling your home:

  1. Determine why you're selling.
  2. Know when is the best time to sell.
  3. Choose a real estate agent or sell it on your own.
  4. Update or improve your home.
  5. Competitively price your home.
  6. Stage your home.
  7. List and market your home.
  8. Be prepared for closing.
  9. Time to move.
  10. 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.
update or improve your home - Robertson Team

Update or Improve Your Home

If you've been considering a makeover for your home, the time has come to tackle those projects. When it comes to making over your home before putting it on the market, remember that less can be more. The last thing you want is for buyers to misunderstand how small your room truly is when they see too much furniture crammed into a space. Focus on making over the room that is most important to buyers, typically the kitchen or great room, while keeping other rooms simple.

Competitively Price Your Home

One of the most important aspects of selling your home is pricing it competitively. You don't want to price it too high and scare buyers away, but you also don't want to price it too low and leave money on the table. Work with a real estate agent to come up with a pricing strategy that will get you the best return on your investment.

In today's market, it is more important than ever to price your home competitively. With the rise of technology, buyers are able to do a lot of the research on their own and they are often looking for homes that are priced lower than the asking price.

In order to make sure that you're getting the most money for your home, you'll want to make sure that it is competitively priced with similar homes in your area. You can use online resources such as Zillow and Trulia to see what other homes are selling for in your area if you are selling it on your own.

Stage Your Home

Staging is one of the most important steps to selling your home. Staging is the process of preparing your home for viewing by potential buyers and it can be done before putting it on the market as well as after.

When staging a room, first take everything out and then put only what you need back. You want to group items together and use a minimal amount of furniture. You also want to make sure that each room has a focal point and that all the surfaces in the room are clear. Feel free to add local touches such as a portrait of Folly Beach or shots of Market St. in Downtown Charleston.

List and Market Your Home

Once you have staged your home to sell, it's time to list it. Work with a local real estate agent to list your home and take advantage of their marketing skills. A real estate agent will know how to market your home to potential buyers and will also have relationships with agents in other areas who may have buyers for your home.

In order to get the most exposure for your home, you'll want to list it on multiple websites and your area's Multiple Listing Service, or MLS as it's commonly referred to. You can also hold open houses and broker tours to show your home to as many potential buyers as possible.
time to move out - Robertson Team

Be Prepared for Closing

A closing is when the sale becomes official, and payment is made in exchange for the deed to your home. Work with your real estate agent to coordinate all activities leading up to closing day, which typically includes signing new loan documents, transferring existing insurance policies, and more.

Make sure that you are ready for the closing day by having a plan on where and how you're going to move. Now is also a good time to sell any unnecessary belongings you have leftover, so you won't have the added stress and expense of moving them.

Time to Move Out

Once you have successfully sold your home, it's time to start packing and preparing for your move. Take advantage of the resources available to you, such as boxes, packing materials, and moving services, to make your move as smooth as possible.

Close On Your Home

Once you have a buyer, all the inspections have been completed and their mortgage lender has given their final approval on the loan, you're ready to close. You or your real estate agent will coordinate with the buyer to set a time to meet at the title company to close on your loan.

You are probably familiar with this process from when you bought your home initially, however, you will have fewer documents to sign since you aren't getting a loan. Once you sign over the title and the buyer signs their documents, you will hand over the keys to the buyer.

Now your home is sold!

There are many regulations, procedures, and best practices involved in selling a home. You can sell your home on your own, however, working with an experienced real estate agent can prevent you from leaving money on the table and from making any costly mistakes.

Contact our team of Charleston real estate agents today to sell your home quickly and for the best price possible.

Ready to find your dream home?

Andrew Robertson - Charleston Broker

Andrew Robertson 

Real Estate Broker
(843) 513 7309

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