Tips for First-Time Home Sellers from the Experts
The spring home selling season is here and has quickly picked up momentum! Our latest survey findings indicate that this already hot real estate market is roaring into this decade, as one in five homeowners (20%) plans to sell in the next 12 months.
We know that selling a home can be stressful, especially for first-time home sellers, so we gathered five Coldwell Banker-affiliated agents from across the country to offer their best tips for getting the most out of selling your home.
Our “Guiding You Home Since 1906” ad, re-launched this week during the NCAA Men’s College Basketball Tournament and on streaming platforms, showcases how Coldwell Banker-affiliated agents are a vital aspect in any home selling experience – especially in this fast-paced seller’s market, in which sellers need the most trusted guidance in the industry to help them navigate this new normal. Trust our agents to help YOU navigate the home selling process and receive the best offers on your home!
Be Informed: Know Your Market
Being informed and knowing your local market results in successfully selling your home. It’s important to do your own research to have an understanding of the market, but don’t feel like you need to know everything about real estate prior to meeting with an agent.
Britney Kensmoe with Coldwell Banker Howard Perry & Walston in Holly Springs, NC, loves making sure clients are well informed from start to finish in order to make the process less overwhelming. Our network of agents can help you understand terminology, local trends, pricing and what buyers are looking for.
Megan Vaden with Coldwell Banker The Brokers in Billings, MT, stresses the importance of knowing the local buyers, noting that buyers can often tell when a home listing is overpriced, which can lead to little or no offers on a home. Instead, if a home is priced fairly the first time it hits the market, there’s a better chance of getting an offer of equal or greater value to the listed asking price.
Closing costs – should you cover them? According to Ant Stroud with Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty in Jacksonville, FL, it depends. Before immediately rejecting a buyer’s request to cover closing costs, he advises considering if you received assistance from the previous seller during your buying process, plus asking your agent if it’s common in your market for closing costs to be covered by the seller.
Prepare Your Home for Listing
The most important thing to do when you’re ready to sell your current home is to prepare it for listing. Take a step back and look at it from the eyes of a potential buyer.
Ed Feijo with Coldwell Banker Realty in Cambridge, MA, understands that preparing the home for showing can be the biggest hurdle to overcome when selling and that the process is made more difficult because of COVID-19 – if your whole family is always home, when do you clean, organize and do minor repairs? For this reason, he tries to help sellers overcome any anxieties by doing what he can to maximize the sell.
“The days and weeks leading up to listing are what’s really important,” echoes Jessie Simmons with Coldwell Banker Lake Chelan Properties in Lake Chelan, WA. The effort placed into organizing, staging and marketing the home in those weeks [is] essential and will be what sets the home apart for a successful listing on the market.
Kensmoe is big on helping sellers set up their homes for success on the market and shares that, as a seller, “you only get one first impression.” For this reason, she properly prepares clients by setting up staging, professional photography/videography and creating a website for the listing so that the home is able to “shine like the star it’s meant to be.”
Stroud has two key terms he shares with customers: buyer value and return value.
“Buyer value is when you improve your property, but it might not show you any signs of financial return,” he says. He shares the example of curb appeal, which cannot be added to a listing price but helps buyers fall in love with the property upon driving up to it and can ultimately influence their decision to purchase the home.
On the other hand, Stroud explains that return value means “upgrades we can actually add to your listing [to] improve the listing price.” Renovated kitchens or bathrooms are a perfect example of return value as they can be included in the listing and can help raise the price of a home on the market.
Trust Your Agent and Take Advantage of the Current Market
Real estate agents are always available to help you along the home selling process, and Coldwell Banker-affiliated agents in particular are the best prepared and have the most experience to answer any questions you may have.
Stroud’s most important tip? Understand the value of your real estate agent because an agent’s job starts way before the offers roll in. They help you understand the process, help with inspections, negotiate repair requests, communicate with the lender for loan approval and coordinate with the title officer to make sure a closing date is set.
Trust your agent’s guidance and advice but know that ultimately, you will be the one making decisions. Once the home is listed, you can relax and trust that your agent will handle the process while keeping you informed and finding the best offers for your home!
As for finding the right time to sell, Feijo advises that right now is “a great time to take advantage of selling [since] you’ve got low inventory and low interest rates out there.” With limited inventory in most markets, finding a new home after the sale is a pain point that may keep many want-to-be sellers on the sidelines. “There are options and strategies to help you jump that hurdle,” remarks Feijo. “Don’t let fear keep you from having the home of your dreams. Trust your agent to work for you.”
No one is better suited to help you on your home-selling journey than a Coldwell Banker agent. After all, we’re the only real estate company that’s been guiding people home for 115 years!