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5 things first-time home sellers should know

If you have never sold a home before, there are some things you can do that may help you attract more potential buyers and avoid unnecessary delays. Here are several important factors to consider before listing your home for sale.

CV

Cyrus Vanover

9/2/2022 · 4 min read

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Key Takeaways

  • There are expenses involved with selling your home.

  • A neat and tidy home may attract more potential buyers.

  • Making repairs before the buyer’s inspection may prevent delays.

  • A professional photographer may help your home stand out in real estate listings.

Selling your home? Here are five things to consider if you're a first-timer or if you just need a quick refresher.

1. Make sure your home is show-worthy

First impressions can be important when selling a home. If potential buyers walk into your home and see a mess or smell something, they may have a hard time imagining themselves living there. Making sure your home is show-ready may improve your chances of selling.

Before you list your home for sale, it’s important to do a thorough cleaning. This may include shampooing carpets and rugs, deep cleaning tile and grout, removing cobwebs, and organizing cabinets and drawers. It’s important to maintain cleanliness until your home sells.

Another way you may be able to improve your home’s appearance is to remove any clutter or potential distractions you may have. A simple way to do this is to rent a mini-storage unit to store things in until your home sells.

2. Professional photography may be a good investment

It is often said that a picture is worth a thousand words. That may also be true when it comes to selling your home. Good-quality pictures can make your home look warm and inviting, which could attract potential buyers. But poor quality pictures may have the opposite effect—they could drive buyers away.

If you are using a real estate agent, the agency may have a professional photographer take pictures of your home for the listing. If you are selling your home yourself or if the agency doesn’t have a photographer, hiring a professional photographer to take pictures of your home may help it stand out in a crowded market.

3. Price your home according to the market

Making sure your home is priced correctly is one of the most important things you can do when selling. If it's priced too high, it could take a long time to sell. If it's priced too low, you may not get a good deal.

If you are working with a real estate agent, that person can assist you with the pricing to make sure it's competitive. If you are selling your own home, you can look up comparable home listings (comps) in your community to see what they are selling for to give you an idea of the current market prices.

4. Your home will likely be inspected

If you accept an offer on your home, a home inspection will likely be done prior to the closing. A buyer may request that any problems identified in the inspection report be fixed. Making sure that any known problems in your home are repaired prior to the inspection could prevent delays.

Before you list your home for sale, consider having the HVAC and other systems in your home serviced. Also consider assessing the condition of your electrical panel, plumbing, foundation, and chimney.

5. There can be costs involved with selling

You may incur expenses when selling your home. By anticipating them, you can include them in your budget so there won't be any surprises. A few expenses you may encounter include:

  • Repairs

  • Professional photography

  • Professional cleaning fees

  • Commissions paid to your and the buyer’s real estate agents

There will also be costs at the closing, which can be 2-5% of the selling price. Although most closing costs are typically paid by the buyer, you may be asked during the negotiation to pay part or all of these fees.

This content is meant for informational purposes only and is not intended to be construed as financial, tax, legal, or insurance advice. Opendoor always encourages you to reach out to an advisor regarding your own situation.

CV

Cyrus VanoverAuthor

Cyrus Vanover is a finance and real estate writer who specializes in making complex topics easy to understand. He is also the author of "Earn a Debt-Free College Degree." Based in the mountains of Virginia, he enjoys hiking the local trails, listening to 80s music, and reading books on military history in his spare time.

JG

Jena GreeneEditor

Jena Greene is the Managing Editor at Opendoor. She covers real estate, personal finance, money management, and market best practices. Jena is passionate about empowering people to find their dream homes and making the home-buying process a delightful one.