The buzz about first-time homebuyers is undeniable, but what about those selling for the first time? As you prepare to list your first home, you may run into questions surrounding inspections, pricing and staging. Below is a guide that will help anyone selling their first home in Minnesota and western Wisconsin.
Get started on your next move
The total number of homes for sale in our 13-county metro area is tight, with less than three months’ supply of inventory currently on the market. That could be great for you as a seller, but if you’re also planning to buy another home, you should work with your REALTOR® and mortgage loan officer to get started on the buying process.
The best way to be thoughtful about your next step is to get preapproved on a mortgage so you know what you can afford. In the preapproval process, you submit all pertinent financial information to a lender, along with a mortgage application. The lender reviews your full financial, income and credit history and offers a specific loan amount that you can expect (provided loan interest rates hold).
Prep for buyers
Though we are in a sellers’ market, you should still aim to list your home in tip-top shape. Start by staging your home, a process where you try to present a neutral, but appealing, palette so any buyer can easily picture themselves living in your home.
To get this effect, it’s important that you remove the majority of your personal photos and knick-knacks, and clear out rooms that have too much furniture in them. If you have rooms with themed décor or extremely bright patterns, you may want to swap for something less bold.
Last, don’t forget that inexpensive aesthetic upgrades go a long way. Consider repainting the walls and cleaning or even replacing carpet, especially if damage or wear are apparent.
Make way for the inspector
Of course, it’s not all about the physical appeal of the home—buyers also want to know that the house is in good working order. In fact, 92 percent of buyers will request a home inspection before purchasing a home, so it might benefit you to order a presale inspection yourself. By doing so, you can ensure that you are taking care of any issues upfront and marketing the house fairly.
Keep in mind that 13 cities across the Twin Cities metro also require a “truth in housing” inspection. These inspections are focused more on the health and safety of your home, but can still be a hurdle homeowners need to pass. Here is a guide to the cities requiring the inspection, along with tips on how to pass this safety inspection.
Hire a professional
An inspector isn’t the only professional you should hire to help you with your home sale—it’s also highly recommended that you use a real estate agent instead of selling your home For Sale By Owner (FSBO).
As a local real estate company with more than 60 years of experience and 2,300 agents working across Minnesota and western Wisconsin, we may be a little biased in this regard. But the numbers don’t lie—in 2014, sellers who used a real estate agent netted 25 percent more on their home sale than those who completed a FSBO transaction (National Association of Realtors). That means that even after paying agent commission, sellers who hired a Realtor came out ahead.
It’s not just about the money, though. By hiring an agent you can also outsource the process of listing your home, marketing the property online and offline, offering showings and open houses to buyers, and even the negotiations and final closing paperwork. In short, a listing agent spends dozens of hours making sure your house sells at a fair price in the least amount of time. By interviewing and hiring the right Realtor, you’ll save lots of time and stress—and you can use that energy to focus on where you and your family are moving next.
Price it right
Our slight sellers’ market doesn’t mean that you should overprice your home. While you are at an advantage, the reality is that today’s homebuyers are savvy, and many are willing to wait for the right home at the right price.
According to the National Association of Realtors, the majority of home activity occurs within the first two weeks after a home is listed—and most homes in 2014 sold in just five weeks. By pricing your home fairly, you may get more showings and bids upfront. When activity comes early, you are more likely to earn close to the listing price. When buyers see a home has stayed on the market for months, they are more likely to underbid in hopes of securing a great deal.
Together, you and your Realtor can work to assess your home’s current market value by taking into account its condition, as well as the prices of recently sold homes nearby. Can’t wait? Get a free, no-obligation analysis of your home’s value from one of our local market experts.
Once you’ve priced your home and it’s on the market, try to be as flexible as possible about home showings, broker opens and open houses. Remember, it just takes one eager buyer to close the deal. By cleaning up the dishes every morning and regularly doing the laundry, you’ll be more likely to allow last-minute showings that could lead to a sale.
Don’t forget to set expectations with your Realtor. Are you comfortable with having a lockbox on your front door so agents can show the property at their clients’ convenience? Do you want to communicate via text, email, phone calls—and should your partner be included on all communications? By setting expectations, you can be sure that the selling process is as painless as possible.
It’s go time
Remember, the average home sells in as little as five weeks. That means that by planning for the next phase and staying patient, you can sell your current property and be onto your next phase sooner than you think.
Ready to get started? Call, chat or email today to get connected with a local home selling specialist.