Posted in: Selling a home

Four surprising things first-time sellers don't know

first time home seller tips

Key Insights

  • Follow the advice of your REALTOR® and stage your home properly to set yourself up for the best sale price.
  • When pricing your home, don’t start high and be willing to settle for less. That could actually cost money over time.
  • Remember, sellers do have to pay some closing costs. Know what to expect before you go to collect your check at closing.

First-time homebuyers are often the focus of conversation, but selling a house for the first time is a major endeavor, too! Here are four insights first-time sellers should keep in mind as they prepare to list their homes for sale in Minnesota or western Wisconsin.

1. Pricing your home too high could cost you time and money

It’s a common theory among sellers that they should at least try to list their house for a high amount. With this mentality, sellers are hoping to go for the “moonshot” — thinking they can always lower the price of their home later on if needed. But data shows that this could be a costly and time-consuming mistake.

According to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 63 percent of homes sold in the first three weeks on the market in 2021 — and those homes sold for 99% of their original list price. Homes that lagged on the market for more than 17 weeks earned 94%, by comparison. This is still a high amount, due to the lack of inventory in the market. But it’s easy to wonder if the “moonshot” is really worth it when it could lead to three months of showings, low-ball offers and long-lasting negotiations with buyers who are eager for a discount.

There are a few reasons that new listings tend to perform best in the market:

  1. 1. The “buzz” on a new listing is important. App alerts and emails are sent out the moment a property is listed, which then creates instant interest for buyers.
  2. 2. Buyers may be disinterested in “old” properties, especially when they know the market is moving quickly. If a home has been listed for a while, buyers may wonder what’s wrong with it.
  3. 3. Sellers tend to lower their prices when the home doesn’t sell, which can lead to a lower offer from buyers who think they can get a deal.

The reality is clear: If you price it right from the beginning, you’re more likely to earn a fair price at closing in a shorter timeline.

2. Buyers need a neutral canvas

Buyers aren’t interested in how you live; instead, they want to envision how they could live in your home. To allow buyers to see themselves in the space, you should consider staging your home.

Here are some home staging basics:

  • Declutter. Personal photos, knick knacks and stacks of mail should be stashed out of sight.
  • Neutralize the space. Use paint colors that are fresh and natural; some pops of color (like throw pillows) can be added for interest.
  • Set rooms up according to their original purpose. Make sure the guest bedroom is staged as such, rather than as an extra walk-in closet.

Not sure if staging is necessary? Trust us, it is. According to the target="_blank"NAR’s 2021 Profile of Home Staging, 82% of agents who represent buyers said that staging a home makes it easier for their clients to visualize the property as their future home.

3. However, buyers don’t want a blank canvas

Beware the vacant house! A house without any furniture or charm may seem like the perfect blank slate for a buyer. But in reality, it can be difficult for buyers to picture the flow of one room to the next, especially in houses that have an open floor plan.

If you don’t have furniture to fill the space or your shabby couch could use an upgrade, hire a stager to create designated livable spaces with furniture from their collection. Sellers don’t expect the entire home to be staged, but NAR’s data shows that 46% of buyers say that staging the living room is very important, while the main bedroom (43%) and kitchen (35%) were close behind.

4. You will incur costs as you sell.

While many sellers are excited about the large check they may receive at closing, it’s important to remember that selling can cost a bit of money, too. Typically, the costs for the seller are comprised of:

  • Updates or upgrades to make the home more appealing to buyers
  • The commission fee for the agent you hire.
  • The closing costs, which are typically paid by the buyer, but can sometimes be paid in part or in full by the seller.

As you work with your agent, be sure to ask for the anticipated selling costs so that you aren’t surprised when you get to the closing table.

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Key takeaways for first-time sellers

Ready to get started? Selling can be exciting, but it’s important to be thoughtful during this time, as well. Be sure to consider your timeline, staging, price and closing costs when selling your home. Contact Edina Realty or your agent for first-rate, customized advice for first-time sellers.

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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