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5 Things Every First-Time Seller Should Know

Chris Wojciechowski

Personally, Chris loves to laugh, spend time with his friends & family on the patio, and exercise daily...

Personally, Chris loves to laugh, spend time with his friends & family on the patio, and exercise daily...

Aug 23 8 minutes read

First-Time Seller “Setbacks” (and How To Prepare For Them Now)

Think back to when you bought your current home: There were things that happened during the transaction that sent you into a panic, but ended up being a totally normal part of the process of buying a house. In hindsight, you can probably even laugh at how issues that seemed like a setback (like that big inspection report) were resolved relatively quickly. 

Now that you’re ready to list your home for sale, you’re about to go through something similar. Selling a home for the first time isn’t as easy as sitting back and having your Realtor rake in offers. Just as when you bought your home, there will be matters that require your immediate attention, appointments that have to be made, and issues that just might trigger unexpected emotions. 

While this sounds overwhelming, these situations all are perfectly normal — and preparing for them now will make selling your home go so much more smoothly. Here are the five most common things to expect when you’re a first-time seller.

First-Time Seller “Setback” #1

You’ll Experience Surprisingly Strong Feelings About Your Home

How to Prepare:

Keep your thoughts forward

Whether you’re nostalgic about the memories and question if you really want to sell, or a potential buyer’s comment about renovating the kitchen you loved dearly makes you deeply angry, take a breath, calm down and hold off on sudden decisions. . Always think of the big picture about your future. The past is the past. Leave it there and focus on your next great adventure.

Even when you’re excited about your new home or have been counting down the days to move out (and away from a neighbor), selling your home is a life change that will stir up emotions you didn’t expect to have.

First-Time Seller “Setback” #2

Does Your Home Need Repairs?

How to Prepare

Asking Questions of a Seasoned Professional

Every home will sell regardless of the condition if the seller is willing to sell the home for the offers that are submitted. I know that might sound a bit silly but it's true. While a realtor and a seller determine the list price of a home, the market dictates its actual value or worth. As the offers start to come in the seller and the realtor need to discuss the pros and cons of that offer. Some realtors are better than others (we are) at determining not only what needs to be repaired but what the value difference is if you don't, because we also buy, sell and remodel homes in any condition. As a result, we have personal knowledge of properties that need some repairs as well as the perfect ones that need nothing. 

First-Time Seller “Setback” #3

The Buyer’s Inspector Will Turn Up Many Issues

How to Prepare

Take a deep breath!

Your home is not perfect for everyone. Heck, it's not even perfect for you. After all, you are moving are you not? If you stop and think you will likely remember little things that well you just haven't gotten around to addressing and that is exactly what the home inspector is looking for. So before you start to discuss the Buyers Inspection Objection with your realtor, take a really big breath. Ok, one more. It's their job to nit-pick everything they can find. Some things you will likely know about but many, many others you may not. Just know that this is a negotiation and even though the contract states the Buyer is Requiring the Seller to Correct, does not actually mean that. It's more they would like you to correct. You can choose, to do some, all, or none of the repairs. You could choose to drop the price or anything else you want to. Just know that the Buyer has to agree to whatever you counter with for the transaction to proceed.

First-Time Seller “Setback” #4

Low-Ball Offers

How to Prepare

Realize That Not Everyone Sees Your Home Like You Do

There’s a difference between an offer that is slightly below the asking price and one that’s tens of thousands below that. The latter will trigger a strong emotion (so go to #1 on this list) but will ultimately be rejected outright without thought. However, if you are fixated on low offers, a change in perspective might be in order.

Recognize that low offers are just that, a low offers. It simply represents that to that buyer, they are willing to pay x for your home. That does not mean that your home is worth x. Each buyer has different ideas in mind that affect what they can and will offer. However, if you start to get several offers at a lower price point well there is something about your home that a range of buyers considers an issue, it’s an opportunity to address that. Or, this might be a time to address your expectations. If the offers aren’t far off from your price and you’re disappointed because you envisioned offers far above asking, recognize that fantasy isn’t reality. Each house sells with different terms and conditions because each sale has a different seller, and different buyers and the house is at a different location. Just because your neighbor's house sold for x does not mean yours will. It means it has the potential. While you see all the value in the home you’ve loved, others see the property as their next potential home with no emotional value. 

First-Time Seller “Setback” #5

A Buyer Wants Many Concessions and Contingencies

How to Prepare

Understand That EVERYTHING Is Negotiable

Whether we’re talking about lower offers, a back-and-forth about making changes based on an inspection report or a potential buyer who comes back with multiple contingencies, understand that you have power as a seller (even if your area is a buyer’s market). You can always say no, or you can always counter. 

Basically, everything is a negotiation. It might help to think of this as an ordinary transaction — like buying a car — instead of selling your home. Just as you wouldn’t even think about buying a car without negotiating, a buyer is going to do the same on this even-larger-ticket item. And just as an auto dealer wouldn’t accept just any offer, you don’t have to give in on every ask. You also have the advantage of a great Realtor who will advocate on your behalf every step of the way, so don’t hesitate to let them know your comfort level at any time.

In the end, selling your home for the first time is an opportunity to learn about real estate. The more you know before you sell, the bigger the advantage you’ll have in the end. You’ll be calm, focused on decisions that benefit your sale, and even more knowledgable about what concerns you can bring to your Realtor.

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