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Tips For First Time Home Sellers

first time home seller tips

Tips For First Time Home Sellers

Getting ready to sell a home is more than just signing a listing agreement and posting the house on the local multiple listing service (MLS).  In order to get the best possible offer the first time home seller should make sure their home is in tip top condition both looks and function wise.  Having broken appliances or fixtures, dirty walls, dirty floors or more just distract buyers from seeing what the home is truly capable of.  In this article first time home sellers can learn about some of the important areas they should be addressing before listing the home for sale.

Home Repairs

Making sure the home is in tip top condition with no clear repair issues is an important step to take to make sure buyers are happy with the home they see.  Homes with deferred maintenance can be seen as ticking time bombs by home buyers.  Since if there are some issues left untouched what else could be hiding beneath the surface of a home that can be an expensive surprise to a new owner.  For those issues, sellers may not be aware of getting a pre-listing home inspection can help the first-time home seller identify critical areas that need to be addressed.

When a home buyer gets a home inspection report with little to no significant issues that will only help the closing process go through that much quicker.  By repairing things prior to listing the home for sale the home seller can save valuable time by not having to get repairs done in a short time frame if the buyer were to request repair of issues.  When there is a closing deadline some repairs may have to be done by the highest bidder who is available now so closing can happen on time.  By making those repairs prior to listing the home the seller does not have to worry about the time crunch.

Clean Up

Not only does a clean home look great in pictures it looks great to buyers when they visit the home in person.  With over 90% of home searching beginning online making sure the home looks great in photos and video is important.  While the search begins online the sale is closed in person so the home needs to deliver what it promised via photos and videos.  That means making take picturesure the home is clean and smells great.  Smelling great does not mean covering up odors but making sure the source of any odors has been removed and the house cleaned up to be odorless.

Fresh paint, cleaned (or replaced) carpets, refinished hardwood, clean windows, no smoke or cooking stains on the ceilings/walls and more should be part of the cleanup process and is something to make sure is done anytime a buyer, home inspector or appraiser will be stopping by.  Reduction of household clutter is also another big positive for buyers in that they can see the home for what it is rather than being distracted by random things in the home.  Buyers need to be able to imagine themselves in the home rather than seeing the home through the eyes of the homeowner with their belongings, clutter and personalization.

Depersonalize

A home with too much personality of the homeowner can distract buyers from envisioning themselves in the home.  Instead the home seller should make sure all personal items, photographs, collectibles are put away safely and securely.  That way the buyer is able to see the home for what it really is, a living space for them and their family.  

Updates

Unless the home has been recently built and is no more than five years old it could benefit from updates especially where none have been done.  Updating things like appliances, windows, doors, fixtures and more can improve the overall look and function of a home.  Especially as more buyers look for smart home features adding those features to a home will help persuade the buyer to make an offer on an updated home.  Updating rooms like the bathroom, kitchen, den, bonus room, fitness room or more might make sense if those spaces are very outdated.

I contacted real estate pro Bill Gassett of Maximum Real Estate Exposure to get his take on improving a home. Here is what Bill told me:
"Paul, updating a home can significantly enhance its value. It is a crucial step for homeowners looking to maximize their investment. The importance of having an updated property extends beyond just aesthetic appeal. It touches on various aspects such as functionality, energy efficiency, and market competitiveness.
 
Homes recently updated or renovated typically fetch a higher price on the market. Updates, especially in critical areas like kitchens and bathrooms, can significantly increase a home's appeal to potential buyers. These essential upgrades lead to a higher selling price.
 
Updating your house can also mean making it more functional and efficient. This can include adding modern appliances that consume less energy, improving insulation, or installing smart home technologies. These updates not only make your home more comfortable and convenient to live in but can also reduce utility bills, a selling point for potential buyers.
 
I have updated my homes for personal enjoyment and the ROI before selling."

Landscaping and Outdoor Spaces

Regardless of the time of year the landscape should be taken care of.  Even in the coldest months of winter if there are dead plants or trees in the ground they should be dealt with before listing the home for sale.  No one is suggesting having a dead tree dug up during the wintertime, but having it cut down to the ground level and taken off site can be done.  Especially if close to the house that dead tree can end up causing problems if the weather causes it to fall on the house.  Many buyers will notice things like that and those who may not will have it pointed out to them by their home inspector.  Curb appeal is important no matter what time of year it is.

Removing out of date seasonal decoration should also be on the list of things to do before listing a home for sale.  Not everyone celebrates the holidays in the same way and leaving up decorations way past their time for use could make the buyers think thelandscape lighting sellers are lazy.  If the sellers are lazy for holiday decorations what else could they be lazy for when it comes to maintaining the house?  Whether true or not it does not matter, the home seller should be showing that they care for the house they want to sell and demonstrate that.

During the spring and summer months the home seller needs to make sure the lawn and landscaping are well maintained.  That means pruning trees, bushes, shrubs so they look great.  This goes back to having a picture-perfect home so they when browsing online buyers are attracted to the home with great curb appeal.  That look needs to be maintained so when buyers visit in person they do not think of bait and switch sales tactics.

Final Thoughts

First time home sellers need to prepare their home to shine not only online but also every time a buyer visits.  Any lack of care or preparation can result in no offers or low offers by those looking for a deal. The sooner the first time home seller begins getting ready for the home sale the better.     

Additional Resources

  • Understanding Seller's Property Disclosure Form - As part of selling a home the seller will need to provide a disclosure form that will provide condition information to potential buyers.  Accurate disclosure is important as this article explores.
  • Home Staging Tips For First Time Home Sellers - Home staging is about setting the home in a position where buyers appreciate the home for what it is rather than what is in it.  With a neutral house buyers can better imagine themselves in the home.

About the author: The above article “Tips For First Time Home Sellers” was provided by Paul Sian. Paul can be reached at paul@CinciNKYRealEstate.com or by phone at 513-560-8002. If you’re thinking of selling or buying your investment or commercial business property I would love to share my marketing knowledge and expertise to help you.  Contact me today!

I service the following Greater Cincinnati, OH and Northern KY areas: Alexandria, Amberly, Amelia, Anderson Township, Cincinnati, Batavia, Blue Ash, Covington, Edgewood, Florence, Fort Mitchell, Fort Thomas, Hebron, Hyde ParkIndian Hill, Kenwood, Madeira, Mariemont, Milford, Montgomery, Mt. Washington, Newport, Newtown, Norwood, Taylor Mill, Terrace Park, Union Township, and Villa Hills.

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