As some of you know, I put my house on the market over the summer. This was my first house and this was my first time selling a house. It is stressful to say the least.
On Monday I posted tips on buying a house. Today I am going to give y'all some tips on selling a house.
1. Curb Appeal
Whether it is the pictures in your house's online listing, people driving by your house, or people actually scheduled to look at your house, curb appeal is important. I didn't stress too much on curb appeal because I do think articles on selling homes stress this too much, acting like you have to have some holy immaculate looking front yard. But it is still important. It's the first thing a potential buyer or investor (which I still consider a buyer) looks at. All I did was a little mulching, made sure the grass was cut, pulled weeds, made sure there wasn't any clutter on the front porch, and put a flower in a pot on each side of the walkway towards the door. It was simple and sweet- and cheap. Anything that goes on your front porch like trashcans, recycle bins, etc.- if you have a shed, throw it all in there. I'll admit, every time there was a showing, I threw bags full of trash, recycling bins, trashcans, etc. all in the shed.
2. Use a Real Estate Service
I suggest doing this. I think it goes a lot quicker and smoother this way and helps with communication between you and the buyer. Avoiding direct communication with the buyer is important- according to my selling agent. The middle men communicating would be the seller's agent and the buyer's agent. It keeps it professional this way. But also because of this lengthy process of communicating to one another, you should always be checking your email or have your phone on you and respond to your agent or someone with the service you are using as quickly as possible to get things rolling and keep them rolling. In my opinion, using a real estate service when selling your house can also help a whole lot with all of the paperwork. Just be aware of their rate. Depending on their rate and how much your house sells for, they can be very costly. I didn't really pay attention to this part until the end and was surprised at the final cost. So I would definitely think about this early on.
3. The Listing
Before your house is officially on the market, you will approve the listing. Make sure everything is correct and that the brief description at least has some of the top selling points of your home such as a new roof, new stainless steel appliances, all appliances are included, etc. You want to attract people to come see your home and potentially buy it. The other part of the listing that is important is the pictures. Make sure there are enough pictures. I believe my listing had 23. And make sure they are good quality pictures that show off the rooms. The company/ service I went with to sell my house is pretty picky about the photographers they hire. Clean your house before the real estate service's photographer comes out to take the pictures. Also make sure your house is clean and things are put away to avoid the appearance of clutter. I think most of the time I look at the pictures before I read the description and information in listings.
Ugh, pricing. I allowed my agents to decide on the right price of my home by looking at my home, letting them know what was included and what was new, etc., looking at what other houses have recently sold for in my area, looking at the prices of homes that are currently on the market in my area, etc. These all play an important part in determining the price. And you might not like the price they give you- I know I didn't. It was $5,100 less than I had originally wanted it listed for. But they are professionals, they compared it to what is on the market and how much houses are selling for, etc. I wanted my house sold and quick. You have to remember that you are competing with other houses on the market and pricing is everything. But what if you had gotten your house appraised just last year and it was appraised for a lot higher? That was last year. The amount a house is appraised for can go down by thousands the following year. It's frustrating, I know, but it is what it is. My agent says you have to listen to the market or some hippie sounding shit like that lol.
5. It's Ok to Accept Your First Offer
I got a lot of showings in the first week. The 1st showing was scheduled before my house had even been on the market for 24 hours. That same week (on Friday) I had gotten an offer. It was lower than I was willing to accept. So I threw back a counter offer that was still lower than I was originally willing to accept but I thought it seemed fair. According to my agent, the potential buyer had put in the full amount she was approved for in her first offer and wouldn't be able to get approved for more than that. He also told me that she was a single mom and that this was the first and only house that made her eyes light up and made her feel like she could actually live there. Honestly, who knows if that was true, no offense, but I don't fully 100% trust real estate agents and my selling agent was so fake and gave off a sleezeball vibe. But whatever, I had found the right house for me and that seller had accepted my offer but with a contingent clause regarding the sale of my house. So if I didn't sell my house quick before they had gotten a better offer that I couldn't/ wouldn't beat, then I would lose the house that I wanted and I didn't want to risk it. Plus, if all that stuff about the potential buyer that my agent had said was in fact true, then I felt good about selling her my house. I am very understanding, especially when it comes to house hunting. So, I accepted my first offer on the house.
A lot of the details I listed in my post, Tips on House Hunting can also be applied to selling a house. You're just on the opposite side of things. I think selling a house can sometimes be even more stressful than trying to buy a house. I guess it all just depends on the market, the area, and your situation. Even though you might feel defeated sometimes, want to pull your hair out, and feel like you can't breathe, just remember that it will all work out. Hope for the best and be prepared for the unexpected. Good luck!