Home Selling Guides

5 Things First-Time Home Sellers Wish They Had Known

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Anette Brown on 03 Nov 2020

There’s a lot of attention paid to first-time homebuyers and what they need to know when buying a home. But what about first-time home sellers?

No matter how much an agent tries to prepare a homeowner for the listing and selling process, every sale is different and there are some nuances that are difficult to anticipate. At the same time, there are certain things that are to be expected—but for one reason or another, a home seller did not get the message.

But, there’s nothing like experience as a teacher. Here are five things first-time home sellers wish they had known before selling their home:

1. Expect negative feedback and criticism. As a homeowner, you may have lovingly cared for your home for years. You may have loved pretty much everything about the property. But you can expect buyers to be not only completely objective but often unfiltered. Feedback is crucial to getting your home sold, but it can sometimes be brutal. Try not to let it bother you. If it does, as your agent, I can review feedback and only provide you with a summary.

2. It costs to sell. It’s understandable that you’re focused on what you are going to clear from the sale of your home, but it’s also important to realize there will be costs involved. These include commissions paid to both the listing and the selling brokerages, as well as potential costs of repairs requested following the home inspection, and closing costs, which typically range from 1 to 3% of the selling price. In addition, you’re still liable for any expenses until you close and the buyer takes possession. That means any home-related bills, insurance, repairs and any damage.

3.  Buyers want a laundry list of repairs. You may have gotten your home ready for market, accepted an offer and gone into contract. Everything is humming along—until the home inspection. Suddenly, your buyers have a laundry list of items they expect you to fix, right down to the most insignificant thing. This is yet another time when you’ll be glad to have a real estate agent representing you. Your agent can review the list and suggest which items are reasonable, then negotiate with the buyers through their agent on your behalf.  

4. Even in a seller’s market, you can’t overprice your house. It can be tempting and almost every homeowner has the tendency to want to price their home above market value—after all, there are more buyers than sellers, so why not? The problem is, these homes usually don’t sell. Or, if they do, they appraise below sales price, which often means the seller ends up lowering the price. This is another one of those times where it’s important to set aside your emotions and listen to your agent when it comes to pricing your house. Price it right from the start and you’ll pocket more cash.

5. Buyers could ask you to pay their closing costs. Even in a market where inventory is tight, don’t be surprised if a buyer asks you to pay closing costs. These costs don’t necessarily come straight out of your pocket, but you will see them show up on the settlement statement as credits to the buyer. As your agent, I will negotiate seller concessions, just as I will other areas of your contract. I will also provide you with the information you need to determine whether or not the buyer’s request is reasonable given your market and the price of your home.

Wondering what a cash buyer would pay?

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