Catherine Delahaye/Getty Images; Artwork by Hunter Newton/Bankrate
When you put your home up for sale, getting the best price can be a tricky balancing act. There are so many factors to consider, from local comps to national market trends. If you’re ready to upgrade your first home — or just ready to move on — here are all the steps you need to take to sell a home for the first time.
1. Work with a local real estate agent
It’s probably the most important thing you can do as a first-time home seller. An expert local agent will understand all the ins and outs of the market in your area. Good agents know the best time, price, and method to list a home for sale in order to sell it as quickly as possible, for the highest possible amount.
To find the best realtor, get recommendations from friends and family and look for names on signs in your area. Be sure to interview several agents before choosing one. Shaival Shah, co-founder and CEO of Ribbon, a New York-based tech-enabled home-buying company, recommends asking questions like, “At what price would you advise us to list based on current trends? ” and “What additional tools and resources have you used as an agent to close more deals quickly?”
2. Set a schedule
Certain times of the year are better for home sales than others. If you’re not particularly in a rush, ask your agent when is the best time to sell a home in your area. If you have time constraints – you need to travel on a specific date for work reasons, for example – work from your deadline. Your agent can help you roughly estimate how long everything will take, in total.
3. Set a competitive price for your home
To find the perfect asking price, your agent will likely create a comparative market analysis of recent home sales in your area. There are several strategies for getting the best possible price – too high a listing can deter buyers, and too low a listing can hurt your bottom line. Your agent will help you determine the best pricing strategy for your home and local market.
4. Prepare your home for sale
Preparing your home for sale is one of the most essential steps in the process of selling a home. “Buyers want to imagine what their home will look like when they move in,” says Shah. “Prepare your home to look its best. Clear clutter, organize areas, and organize it to increase your chances of a faster sale.
Clean thoroughly and make basic repairs. Increase your home’s curb appeal by refreshing the landscaping, pressure washing the driveway, or even simply repainting the front door. Hiring a professional home stager may also be worth the cost, depending on the condition of your home, so ask your agent what they recommend.
5. Get professional photos
According to 2022 data from the National Association of Realtors, 95% of all home buyers use the internet in their search. Good photos ensure your home makes a good first impression online. “Sellers need to have their home listed on leading real estate websites with the highest quality photos possible,” says Shah. Part of your agent interview process should include reviewing their active listings to see how good the photos are.
6. List and market your home
Your real estate agent will list your home on your area’s local multiple listing service, or MLS. This ensures it is seen by other agents with customers looking to buy, as well as on listing sites like Zillow. Their marketing plan will likely also include hosting an open house, so you’ll want to make sure it’s in perfect condition before any potential buyers show up in person, especially if you’re still living in your home for that you sell it.
7. Hire a real estate lawyer
Hiring a real estate attorney to assist with at least part of the transaction is legally required in many states. But even if you live in an area where a lawyer isn’t necessary, you should still consider hiring one to guide you through your first sale. Real estate contracts are complex and the sale of a home is one of the most important transactions of your life, with a lot of money at stake. Professional legal advice is worth it to ensure that all your interests are Covered.
8. Review and negotiate offers
Once you start getting offers, let your agent show you the way. It’s not necessarily about the money – the highest bid you receive may not be the best. Offers can include things like emergency clauses that could delay closing or frustrate a sale. Agents know what to look for and how to navigate this potentially tricky territory.
9. Understand your closing costs
Buyers and sellers usually pay at least some closing costs, but a lot comes from the proceeds of your sale. For example, the seller pays the real estate agent’s commissions on the transaction, both for your own agent and for the buyer. Sellers may also be required to cover transfer taxes, escrow fees, and other costs. Your agent should be able to create a net sheet for you to estimate what you will get from the sale after all deductions. And with your official closing disclosure, you’ll get the exact dollar amount of your proceeds at closing.
At the end of the line
Selling a home for the first time doesn’t have to be difficult. Focus on the things you can control – for example, you can’t control the heat of the real estate market, but you can make your home as attractive as possible by keeping it clean for viewing and making it look great in a listing High quality. Pictures. Work with a real estate agent to guide you through the process.