Do’s and Don’ts for First-Time Home Sellers

Selling your home can be challenging. There’s a great deal of emotion involved and doing it for the first time makes it Thumbs up downeven more difficult.

It’s easy for sellers to get caught up in the emotion of the process and succumb to any number of mistakes so I’ve compiled a list of do’s and don’ts to keep in mind if you’re a first-time home seller.


DON’T overprice

Selling your home is likely one of the largest financial transactions you’ll ever make. While it may be tempting to ‘test the market’ with a slightly inflated list price, doing so can have negative unintended consequences for Sellers.

For example- if a Seller chooses a list price for their home which is 25% higher than the actual market value, many Buyers who are qualified for the true market value may overlook the home as one he cannot afford.

Sellers who attempt to overpricing their listing are often forced to reduce the list price later to the home’s actual market value, which can result in time wasted and an even lower final sale price.

Greediness leads to failure. It’s important to choose a realistic asking price based on the property’s actual market value at the time of the listing. Doing so will generate more immediate interest and increase the odds of a higher price offer.


DON’T get emotional

Selling a home is an incredibly emotional experience. When you’re selling for the very first time, it’s helpful to remain unemotional and try not to take things personally

Let’s say a Buyer asks you to include your patio furniture with the sale. Maybe they just think you have great taste! Take a deep breath and consider- unemotionally- “am I willing to do that, or not”?

Let’s say a 2:00 pm showing appointment cancels at 1:45. Maybe they had a family emergency! Take a deep breath and focus on one showing at a time- one day at a time. Getting caught up in emotion can only make the entire process more stressful than it needs to be.


DON’T be unprepared

Have you calculated your expected Selling costs? Are you planning to buy or rent your next home? Will you be needing to rent a storage unit or hire a moving company?

Being unprepared can be a time-consuming and costly mistake so all these things should be taken into consideration now.


DON’T ignore feedback

Through the process of listing and selling your house, you will encounter a great deal of feedback- both positive and negative.

If your real estate agent cautions you against investing any more money into your home, you may want to consider that feedback. If two of the three prospects at your open house said the living room carpet should be cleaned, consider cleaning the living room carpet.

If a prospective Buyer, however, wants you to move the front of your house to the back and the upstairs to down, you may want to disregard that feedback. That Buyer is probably not “the One”.

Not everyone likes the same things, but it only takes one Buyer- “the One”. Being open to feedback can help you as the Seller to determine if “the One” is nearby OR if an adjustment should be made before “the One” arrives.


DO hire a listing agent you trust

Real estate agents are not all created equal. A good real estate agent will have a marketing plan which includes putting your home on display for a large audience of prospects. A good agent will take professional looking photos to enhance the appearance of your home. A good agent will offer tips, advice, and strategies to maximize your efforts and your results.

A Seller can choose from a large selection of real estate agents, but it’s imperative he choose someone he can trust.


DO accommodate buyers

If a qualified prospect wants to view your home, make every effort to accommodate their request. Buyers often make inconvenient showing requests or ones with little to no notice. Although it can be incredibly frustrating, it’s important to have your home as accessible to real estate agents and prospective buyers alike.

If a home is too difficult to access, Buyers and/or their agents may choose to move on to another home with a more motivated and accommodating Seller. Remember- convenience helps!


DO keep an open mind

When you embark on your first journey as a home Seller, you may say to yourself “I will never do X” or “if a Buyer thinks XX, they can just forget about it”. If a Seller with this kind of attitude encounters a Buyer with a similar mentality, it can make for a very painful process.

It’s important for home Sellers to have an open mind, which includes a willingness to be flexible and open to new ideas. Do you really need to close by May 27 or can it be June 6? 0% of the time does one party to a transaction get 100% of what they want. A successful transaction takes compromise by both sides.


DO fulfill your obligations

If you promise your real estate agent you will have the house clean and ready to show by April 1, have the house clean and ready to show by April 1. If you agree to have the dead tree in the backyard removed for the Buyer before closing day, have the dead tree in the back yard removed before closing.

Your real estate contract will likely require you to remove all personal items and debris prior to closing so make sure you do it. Going back on your obligations as a Seller can result in hard feelings, unnecessary stress, and even potential liability.