Agent Advice: Everything First-Time Home Sellers Need to Know


|10 min read

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Selling your home isn’t just about posting a ‘For Sale’ sign outside and waiting for potential buyers to call. It’s a strategic game where knowledge and preparation are critical. As we enter 2024, techniques and market trends have evolved dramatically, becoming more dynamic than ever. As first-time home sellers, it’s essential to understand every component of home selling.

From setting your price correctly to using online tools and negotiating effectively, first-time home sellers today need to be prepared with knowledge and a strong agent. Selling a home for the first time can be an overwhelming experience, but with proper preparation, it can also be rewarding.

Essential elements to consider as a first-time home seller

  • Work with a local real estate agent for guidance
  • Set a timeline
  • Price your home competitively
  • Prepare your home for sale
  • Use professional photos
  • List and market through multiple channels
  • Review and negotiate offers with guidance from your agent
  • Understand closing costs

These steps will increase your chances of a successful sale and help you maximize your proceeds from the transaction.

Having a Realtor with a comprehensive real estate marketing plan by your side will increase the odds of a profitable sale.

Let’s dig into everything thing to become a successful first-time home seller!

Research and Choose a Real Estate Agency

Working with a real estate agent when selling your home can have significant advantages. They have in-depth knowledge about the local market, pricing strategies, and effective marketing tactics specific to your area.

Moreover, they provide objective assistance throughout the process, ensuring that every aspect of the transaction runs smoothly. So, how do you research and choose the best agency to work with?

To begin with, ask for referrals from friends or family members who recently sold their home and had a positive experience with a local real estate company.

You can also conduct online research by checking out reviews for real estate brokerages in your area. Platforms like FastExpert provide verified client reviews for thousands of agents so that you can find your best fit.

Once you have a shortlist of potential Realtors, schedule meetings with each potential agency to discuss their approach and experience with selling homes similar to yours.

Remember that an excellent company is essential, but your chosen agent is vital.

Have a Careful Interview

It’s essential for first-time home sellers to prepare for an initial meeting with a real estate agent. Come prepared with a list of interview questions for the agent, and be sure to walk away with a thorough understanding of the agent’s approach. There will be a guessing game for choosing the best agent without the right interview questions.

During these meetings, ask about their fees and commission rates. Remember that lower commissions may result in less marketing exposure for your property, whereas higher commission rates may indicate more extensive marketing efforts.

Find out the agent’s time in the business. While everyone starts somewhere, do you want a rookie when you’re in the same boat? No, you don’t. Look for an agent with at least a few years under their belt.

One of the most vital things to ask about is their track record. Some crucial questions are: How many homes did you sell last year? How many homes had price reductions? What was the list price-to-sale price ratio and average days on the market?

These questions speak to the agent’s performance.

Key Takeaway: The agent you choose will have lasting impacts on the viability of a stress-free and profitable sale. Don’t underestimate making the best choice.

Preparing Your Home for a Successful Sale

Generally speaking, most buyers want a move-in ready home – clean lines, neutral colors, no clutter, and visually appealing aesthetics. A prepared home can appeal to future buyers as they can envision living there comfortably.

Getting your home ready for the market should not be overlooked.

Think about it like going on a first date – everyone wants to put their best foot forward by showcasing their best qualities!

When preparing your home for sale, complete the following:

  • Clean: This includes decluttering all unnecessary items or personal effects.
  • Repair: Broken door handles or a running toilet might seem insignificant, but addressing them before listing allows buyers to see the overall quality of your house.
  • Impact: First impressions count. Buyers will first see your home’s exterior. Make sure to clean up the yard, make necessary repairs, and add a fresh coat of paint if it’s been a while.
  • Stage: Consider getting furniture items to enhance the look and feel of your home. Also, consider staging companies that can make your home appear showroom-ready. The effort put into staging will be worth it.

One great way to ensure these points above are accounted for is by inviting friends and family for an objective critique of your house. This ‘dress rehearsal’ helps you view the property objectively and can make a difference in how others view the property.

In essence, selling a home demands attention to detail and patience. Sometimes first-time home sellers can overlook essential elements. Getting it prepared with an agent’s help to find prospective buyers, negotiate offer terms, and ultimately close requires this thorough approach.

Key Takeaway: Above all else, listen to an agent you’re comfortable with. They know best. Lean on their expertise. Be bold and ask many questions.

Enhancing Curb Appeal

When selling a home, first impressions matter. Potential buyers are likely to decide whether or not they like your house within a few seconds of seeing it from the outside.

Therefore, enhancing curb appeal can increase your chances of selling your house quickly and at an ideal price.

Some straightforward improvements include mowing the lawn, trimming hedges, washing walkways, painting the front door, and adding potted plants for color.

Imagine you’re driving around a neighborhood and see two homes for sale. One with well-maintained landscaped gardens and attractive decor. And another that appears neglected, with a cluttered yard and peeling paint.

Which home would interest you more? Ensuring your property is appealing from the outside is crucial in attracting potential buyers.

Staging Strategies

Staging involves preparing your home so potential buyers can envision themselves living in it. This may include rearranging furniture, decluttering rooms, and repairing broken items or fixtures, amongst other things.

A well-staged home highlights its strengths and helps buyers overlook shortcomings by creating an emotional connection with them. When staging, decluttering, and depersonalizing are two central themes to consider.

For instance, remove personal items such as family photographs or religious paraphernalia that may make potential buyers uncomfortable or disinterested.

Rather than mindlessly moving items out of sight, viewing home staging as an opportunity to effectively showcase each room’s best features is essential.

Virtual staging might be worth trying in some circumstances. For example, when a house is vacant. Get your agent’s opinion on whether it will help your sale.

Ultimately, staging is about striking the right balance between showcasing how comfortable and livable each room is while keeping it neutral enough so prospective buyers can easily picture themselves living there.

Getting this delicate balance down can be time-consuming but will undoubtedly pay dividends in presenting your home at its best.

Importance of Professional Photography

The first impression your home makes on potential buyers is often through photographs. Most buyers start their search in front of a computer or phone.

If you want to attract the right buyers and sell your home quickly, you need to invest in professional photography.

A skilled photographer can make rooms look bigger, brighter, and more appealing. They understand the perfect angles for capturing a room’s best qualities. They have an eye for details and can identify areas that buyers would find most attractive.

Photography done right can leave a lasting impression.

Attracting interest quickly means getting more eyes onto your listing, which often translates to better offers and a quicker sale.

For instance, imagine searching through property listings online for your dream home and coming across a blurry photo with dim lighting. You’d likely breeze past it without any second thoughts for fear of wasting time.

Many first-time home sellers neglect to factor in this critical element and go for amateur photographs with their smartphones or cameras instead. You should never settle for an agent that doesn’t invest in their business.

Key Takeaway: Going with an agent who cuts corners to save costs will become a significant mistake. You’ll be shooting yourself in the foot!

Key Statistics

  • According to the National Association of Realtors, in 2024, a real estate agent assisted about 89% of sellers when selling their homes.
  • A recent survey by Zillow revealed that nearly 36% of first-time sellers lose sleep worrying about selling their home.
  • Studies show that homes properly staged sell 73% faster on average than non-staged homes, according to the Real Estate Staging Association.

Pricing and Negotiating Your Home Sale

The first step in pricing your home begins with being realistic. You’ll need to look at real estate comps with an open mind. Think like a buyer and not an emotionally attached seller. As a first-time seller, treat this as a business transaction.

Look over the agent’s market analysis carefully.

It’s essential not just to value your home based on what you owe on the mortgage or what you think is a reasonable asking price. Instead, you must understand how much similar homes in your area are selling for.

It’s rather like playing chess. Each move must be calculated beforehand so you can maintain command of the game. Understanding pricing trends helps determine when you’re comfortable negotiating while achieving a successful sale.

Don’t be afraid to ask for the price you believe your home is worth. But remember that there’s always a bit of give and take involved. Sellers may need to compromise on some aspects and understand what they will concede versus where they won’t budge.

Key Takeaway: An unrealistic asking price will stop a sale dead in its tracks.

Managing Home Showings and Adjusting Strategy as Needed

Home selling can be stressful, and managing home showings is no different. It’s essential to keep your emotions in check. Detach yourself from your home and allow potential buyers to view your property.

The goal is to make the showing experience positive for all parties involved. Ensuring your property looks its best on the day of the showings is crucial. Declutter and organize to showcase its best features.

Remember, less is more; removing clutter helps make spaces feel larger. Think neutral décor that appeals to more buyers.

Accept as many showings as possible. Sometimes, you’ll get a showing request at a time that isn’t convenient. Let it happen! A missed showing is a lost opportunity you may never get back.

Feedback is Essential

While preparing your house for sale is essential, it’s also important to remember that every viewing has potential feedback that could provide helpful insights into buyer preferences.

A lack of interest may mean that adjustments must be made in either pricing or marketing strategies. Try keeping track of visitor feedback and adjust accordingly.

An excellent real estate agent will have a system for keeping you informed.

You Can Skip Open Houses

While open houses may seem like a good idea, it’s not always the best approach since they don’t necessarily bring more qualified buyers through the door. They often result in tire-kickers or curious neighbors attending without serious interest in purchasing.

Don’t worry; genuine buyers always schedule showings with local Realtors.


There can be many minefields when selling for the first time. It will be a learning experience that will improve when you do it again.

Working with a professional team will prepare you to become a happy home seller.

Bill Gassett RE/MAX Executive Realty

Bill Gassett is a trusted resource in the real estate industry, having three decades of experience. He is an authority that buyers, sellers, and fellow real estate agents seek guidance and expertise.

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