So, you’re ready to unleash the equity in your first home and see what the marketplace has to offer. Naturally, you want to get the most money possible, while at the same time keeping your stress levels low.
However, if you’re like many first-time home sellers, then you might be poised to make one, some, or possibly all three of these catastrophic mistakes.
Most first-time home sellers aren’t prepared for how dynamic the housing marketplace is. This is because so much of a home’s optimal selling price is based on factors that aren’t related to the property itself. Location, demand and what other sellers and buyers are doing in the neighborhood all factor into the equation. It’s vital to do your research, explore comparable homes, and determine a price that hits the sweet spot between too low (in which case you’ll leave money on the table) or too high (in which case you’ll cut off many potential buyers).
No, you don’t have to adorn your lawn with a 100 square foot digital sign from the Landmark Sign Company, complete with customized messaging, QR code and compelling call to action. Nor do you need to spend a small fortune on landscaping and renovations. However, it’s absolutely essential that you get your home into “best first impression mode.” Yes, you’ll probably need to spend some money here. But be assured that it’s an investment vs. an expense. You want buyers to fall in love with your home at first sight.
I’m not going to go into the merits and drawbacks of using a Realtor vs. FSBO (let’s save that for another article!). However, regardless of what route you take, one of the most dangerous and costly pitfalls is cutting corners on the legal paperwork. The last thing you want is your sale to fall through — or worse, for you to face a lawsuit in the future — because the contract wasn’t ironclad with regards to who is responsible for fixing items identified by a home inspection, and so on.
Selling a home — whether it’s your first experience or you’re a seasoned veteran of the real estate circuit — always carries some element of risk. There’s no crystal ball or magic wand. However, if you do your pricing research, effectively stage your home, and ensure that you get sound legal advice, you can greatly increase the chances that you’ll look back upon this experience as rewarding — not regrettable!