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10 essential tips for first time home sellers

Essential tips for first time home sellers

The buzz around a first-time home purchase is undeniable, but what about those selling for the first time?

In today’s home market, sellers hold the advantage. With a limited number of houses listed and plenty of interested buyers, properties are selling for the asking price and they’re going fast. By learning how to sell your house with these real estate tips, you’ll be on your way to becoming an empowered home seller — especially in the current climate.

Here are the top ten home seller tips you need to know moving forward, including finding the right agent, staging your home for sale, pricing your listing and so much more.

Staging a home to sell

Home seller tip #1: Staging matters

A crucial step when listing your home is staging your house for sale. In fact, the fastest way to sell your house may be through staging. Fifty-three percent of listing agents indicate that staging a home decreases the amount of time the property spends on the market. Why? Because a staged property tends to increase buyer interest along with in-person traffic to the property.

To best stage your house, start by decluttering your space. Be sure to stash away any personal photos or mementos and ensure that all surfaces are tidy and clean. With this neutral home foundation, you can begin to stage each room in the home. Here are some simple yet effective styling tips for sellers to get you started:

  • Use subtle wall colors and re-paint if necessary.
  • Sparingly incorporate plants, throw pillows and other decorative items.
  • If items like towels or dishes are displayed, make sure they match.

Home seller tip #2: Maximize your curb appeal

Now that you’ve mastered the art of staging the inside of your home, it’s time to enhance the curb appeal of your home’s exterior. Whether interested buyers pass by your house on the street or scroll by your property online, the first image they’ll likely see is of the front of your home. In order to make the best first impression, you’ll want the face of your home to stand out.

To solicit a strong set of offers, start with a bright and tidy homefront. Here are some specific tips to boost your curb appeal:

  • Pressure-wash your siding.
  • Wash every window until it sparkles.
  • Consistently mow and water your lawn.
  • Maintain your garden with fresh flowers, plants and mulch.

Home seller tip #3: Clean up and declutter

A clean home will work in your favor for a handful of reasons. Not only will it appear more spacious and fresh, but it will also allow the buyer to see the home as a fresh canvas that they can easily insert their own lives into.

There are a variety of methods to begin to declutter your home, such as:

  • KonMari
  • Swedish Death Cleaning
  • The Four Box Method
  • 12-12-12 Challenge

Pick and follow one of these decluttering methods.

Next, be sure to deep clean these typical trouble spots, and follow that up with a general cleaning of your usual spaces. By mixing up your cleaning routine, you’ll be more likely to stay motivated (and fit!) as you prepare to sell

Photographing your home to sell

Home seller tip #4: Use high-quality listing photos

In the era of the internet, it’s no surprise that listing photos can make quite an impact on your home sale. The numbers support this notion too, as 89 percent of homebuyers indicate that photos are one of the most useful features on real estate websites.

Whether your REALTOR® has a listing photographer that they use, or they are able to take high-quality photos themselves, be sure to have bright, crisp images of your home online.

Home seller tip #5: Price your home carefully

While you may think an ultra-high listing price can be negotiated down to your ideal sale price later on, this typically isn’t the case. One of the most surprising things first-time sellers don't know is that pricing your home too high can actually hurt your home sale in the long run.

It’s important to price your home reasonably from the beginning. This will help you get the best price at closing and it may cut down the amount of time your home spends on the market.

While you may understand the importance of a sweet-spot listing price, it can still be difficult to determine what that price is. By working with a REALTOR® who understands the market and your home’s assets, you can come up with a number that makes you feel confident and excited about selling your home.

Home seller tip #6: Hire a trustworthy agent

A real estate agent will be your greatest asset throughout the home sale process. This professional will have your best interests in mind as they help score you a successful home sale. Start by interviewing multiple agents until you find the right fit. Whether you chat with one or a few Realtors, you’ll gain a better sense of their personality, communication style and how they will market your home.

When interviewing and hiring an agent, ask questions on the following topics:

  • Their Realtor network and contacts
  • Resources that could be of value to you
  • Tips when preparing your home for sale
  • Their familiarity with your neighborhood
  • Past home sales and experiences

Home seller tip #7: Be prepared to show at all times

When an interested buyer is available to tour your home, you’ll want to be ready, too. Here are some easy ways to keep your home prepared to show any day:

  • Wash dishes immediately after every meal.
  • Ensure the trash is never overflowing.
  • Make beds every morning.
  • Consistently clean up toys, mail and other clutter.
  • Have a designated place or sitter for pets.

By taking these small steps every day, you’ll be prepared to open your doors to potential buyers on the fly.

Home seller tip #8: Make simple repairs and upgrades

While some buyers are up for the challenge of purchasing a fixer-upper home, many appreciate the convenience of a turnkey abode. Therefore, it’s important to focus on the details. Take a walk through your house and make note of any dings or scratches on the walls, stained carpet, squeaky cabinets or mismatched fixtures. Then, make simple repairs and upgrades to these items.

For some larger-scale ideas — that also have a decent return on investment (ROI) — check out these tasks. These home improvements have been researched and are shown to have the best ROI upon resale:

  • Garage door replacement
  • Siding replacement
  • Manufactured stone veneer addition
  • Entry door replacement
  • Window replacement

Home seller tip #9: Remove odors

As potential buyers pass through the hallways of your for-sale home, they’ll likely pay attention to every detail, including the smell of your home. You want them to be met with the best first impression possible.

To create a pleasant experience for interested buyers, make it a point to eliminate household odors. Here are a few tips to follow:

  • Boil a small amount of vinegar in water to rid your kitchen of strong odors.
  • Make odor absorbers with coffee grounds or baking soda.
  • Plug in a dehumidifier in your basement or other areas that tend to hold extra moisture.
  • Use lightly-scented essential oils or room sprays.
  • Bake a yummy treat, like a tray of muffins or cookies.

Home seller tip #10: Don’t rush the process

Take your time and ask yourself these important questions before selling. Listing a house for sale and eventually closing the deal is an important process that takes time. Whether you’re at the beginning stages of a home sale or almost to the closing table, know that you’re in charge and can make each decision at your own pace.

Sell your home quickly and easily with Edina Realty

Now that you know the best tips to sell a home, it’s time to reach out to Edina Realty or your agent. We’re available seven days a week to answer your questions and assist you throughout your home sale.

Remember, working with a real estate professional will keep you on track for a successful home sale — especially as a first-time seller.

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Status Definitions

For sale: Properties which are available for showings and purchase

Active contingent: Properties which are available for showing but are under contract with another buyer

Pending: Properties which are under contract with a buyer and are no longer available for showings

Sold: Properties on which the sale has closed.

Coming soon: Properties which will be on the market soon and are not available for showings.

Contingent and Pending statuses may not be available for all listings