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4 Things That Surprise First-Time Home Sellers

4 Things to Remember When You Sell a Home

There’s a ton of great tips out there for first-time home buyers, but we do not want to forget first-time sellers! There are plenty of things you should know when it comes time to sell a home for the first time in Minnesota or Wisconsin, and we want to offer a few tips.

1. Asking for a “Moonshot” Price Doesn’t Always Make Sense – and Could Cost You

The housing market has been great for sellers over the last couple of years, with homes going for very high prices. But that won’t always be the case. Changes in the market will eventually moderate prices. But it’s really hard to know when exactly that might happen, so in the meantime many sellers are tempted to list their house for a “moonshot” price, thinking that they can always lower it if it doesn’t sell.

The issue is that there’s a lot of time added to the process if you don’t get your moonshot price.

The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers says of the homes listed for sale in 2021, 63 percent of them sold in the first three weeks — and those homes sold for 99% of their original list price. By comparison, homes that stayed on the market for more than 17 weeks earned 94% of their original asking price.

That’s still a high amount to get after 4 months on the market, and it’s mostly due to the lack of inventory available. You have to think of all the things the sellers went through during all the extra time their house was for sale:

  • Months of showings
  • Low-ball offers
  • Long negotiations with buyers who know the home has been for sale for a while and want a discount
  • Buyers wondering if there’s something wrong with the home since it’s been listed for a while

Asking for a moonshot price can lead to inconveniences like these, so you have to ask yourself if it’s worth it. The answer depends on your unique situation – how quickly you need to sell, etc.

2. Buyers Want to Imagine Your House as Theirs

Buyers don’t necessarily need or want to see how you decorate your house. They’re going to be more interested in what the spaces look like and imagine for themselves what they would do with them. So, it can be a good idea to stage your home. Staging involves arranging rooms in a neutral but appealing way, a way that invites the potential buyer to let their own thoughts take over, uninterrupted by how you’ve decorated the space.

Here are a few staging tips:

  • Declutter: Personal photos, knick-knacks and stacks of mail should be stashed out of sight.
  • Neutralize the space: Use paint colors that are fresh and natural; some pops of color (like throw pillows) can be added for interest.
  • Set rooms up according to their original purpose: Make sure the guest bedroom is staged as such, rather than as an extra walk-in closet.

Our agents are more than willing to explain the staging process and help arrange a professional staging if needed. Don’t worry, it’s not bad!

3. But Buyers Don’t Want the House to Be Empty

Don’t declutter to the point that there’s nothing left in the house. An empty home doesn’t have the charm that buyers want to feel. And, if there aren’t enough “things” around, buyers have a harder time seeing how rooms flow from one to the next, especially if the house has an open floorplan.

If you’ve already moved things into your next home or you just don’t like the idea of letting people see your worn out couch, that’s ok! A professional stager can bring in furniture from their collection. And you don’t necessarily have to stage every room. According to NAR, buyers say the three most important rooms that they look at are:

  • Living room
  • Main/master bedroom
  • Kitchen

4. Selling Comes with Costs

While you’re eagerly awaiting that large check you’ll receive when your home sells, don’t forget that you’ll spend a little money in the selling process, too. Every situation is different, but some of the usual costs incurred by a seller include:

  • Investing in updates or upgrades to make the home more appealing to buyers
  • Agent commissions (typically, the seller pays the commission to their listing agent’s broker, who then uses that money to pay both the seller’s agent and the buyer’s agent)
  • Capital gains tax, if you make a certain amount of money on the sale
  • Sellers sometimes pay some closing costs. Many closing costs can be negotiated between buyer and seller, so it’s hard to state a hard and fast rule here. Just be aware that you could end up covering some closing costs.

As you work with your Servion agent, be sure to ask for the anticipated selling costs so that you aren’t surprised when you get to the closing table.

Ready to Sell Your Home?

Selling a home for the first time can be nerve-wracking, but Servion Realty’s agents are here to take you through every step of the process. You can contact one of them anytime! And, if you end up selling and moving in the winter, don’t forget to check out our Ultimate Winter Moving Guide!

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