You love your home. It’s the first home you ever owned and over the last few years, you and your family and friends have created some amazing memories there. However, now the time has come to move on and you are about to put your Waterloo Region home up for sale.
Being first time home sellers can be every bit as nerve-wracking and stressful as being first time home buyers. But it does not have to be. Here are just a few tips for helping to ensure that you make all the right moves as first-time home sellers.
Make a Plan Early
The very first thing you need to do as a would-be first-time home seller is make a solid plan. And in making that plan you’ll find that there are some very important decisions to make right off the bat. These will include all of the following:
- Choosing a real estate agent to help you sell your home
Determining the right listing price
Figuring out what might need to be repaired/renovated before your home goes on the market
Deciding how you are going to stage your home.
Deciding how you will make your next move to your next home.
Choosing Your Real Estate Agent
There are lots of real estate agents working in the Waterloo Region and most of them are excellent at what they do. When choosing who you want to work with reviewing previous sales track records and stats is certainly something you should do but you also need to remember that the agent you choose is about to become a pretty huge part of your life for a while, so it’s crucial that you chose an agent you’ll be happy to have in your home and on your side.
To that end, we suggest a personal interview and home evaluation with the Realtor(s) you are considering as well as a ‘fact check’. And it’s OK to interview more than one before making a decision. This is a big decision, so it’s only natural that it is in everyone’s best interests to ensure there is a ‘good fit’ between seller and agent.
Setting a Listing Price
As a first time home seller choosing the right listing price is one of the decisions people really dread. List too high and the property may take far too long to sell. List too low and you may lose out on money that could have been yours. This is where a great real estate agent comes in though.
They know the local markets, they know what the current trends are and they know what unique features might set your home apart from the neighbourhood pack and warrant a different asking price. You don’t have to take their advice, of course, it’s your home after all, but you would be highly advised to do so.
Repair, Renovation and Staging
When readying your home for the market it is actually the right time to go back in time. Remember what made you want to buy your place, well before you created memories and made it “home.” You’re going to need to leave behind your emotions and make tough, reality-based decisions about improving, renovating and staging based on what fresh eyes will see, not what your loving eyes have come to adore about your home.
Shifting your mindset from homeowner to home seller will also help you decide which belongings to keep, store, sell or give away as well. Some pieces might be perfect for staging your home; your agent can offer advice and even connect you with a professional home stager to help make those decisions.
Decluttering and de-personalizing your space are essential steps too, so home shoppers can envision making the space their own. It’s not always easy to have potential buyers – strangers – tromping through your space and looking at everything with a critical eye but it is something you’ll have to learn to live with for a while.
If you plan to live in your home while it’s on the market, you’ll have to keep it spotless and show-ready. That’s trying, especially for young families. But the better it shows, the faster it goes and the sooner you can start living like a normal family again. Did we mention this part isn’t easy? A good real estate agent can help make it as painless as possible though.
Thinking About What’s Coming Next
If you’re planning to buy your next home, remember to get pre-approved early so you have an edge in the market. And know that there’s no easy answer to the question of which comes first, the buying or the selling.
It may seem daunting, but you have access to more tools and data than previous generations of home sellers could have hoped for. Armed with this information and a top-notch agent to help you navigate, all your planning, tough decisions and hard work will mean fewer first-time seller mistakes. And you’ll have your first “Sold” sign out front before you know it.