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Prime Real Estate: The everything guide to selling your first home

By Houselogic, reprinted with permission

A famous salesman once said that selling is essentially a transfer of feelings.

You love and cherish your home. You want the next owner to fall in love with it, too. But maybe you most want to get the price you want.

This isn’t a small task. Selling a home requires work. It requires time. The journey isn’t always easy. There will be frustrations. But when you seal the deal and move on to your next chapter – wow, what a blissful, boss feeling.

Below is a preview of each step in your journey. 

Know, exactly, what you want

First things first: You need to know what you want [and what your partner wants] in order to sell your home with minimum frustration. Why are you moving? What do you expect from the process? When, exactly, should you put that “For Sale” sign in the yard? 

Do your research

Unless you bought your home last week, the housing market changed since you became a homeowner. Mortgage rates fluctuate, inventory shifts over time – these are just a few of the factors that affect the state of the market, and every market is unique. Educate yourself on what to expect. 

Interview and select an agent

This is the most important relationship you’ll form on your home selling journey. Pick the right agent and you’ll likely get a better sale price for your house. Take time to interview the agent you select. Ask questions about the agent’s process and his or her success. You want to select an agent that is helpful, friendly and, above all, knowledgable about the market in which your home is located. 

Price your home

How much is your home worth? That’s the $300,000 question. Your idea of your home’s value and market reality may be two very different things. This is where your agent can put their expertise to work – another reason why choosing an experienced, knowledgable agent is so very important.

Prep your home for sale

Today’s home buyers have unfettered access to property listings online, so you have to make a great first impression – online and off. That means you’ll have to declutter all the stuff you’ve accumulated over the years, make any necessary repairs, and get your home in swoon-worthy condition. 

Market your home

Home buyers look at countless listings online. The best-marketed homes have beautiful photos and compelling property descriptions. Some agents use videos, virtual tours, texts and audio messages. Be sure to ask your agent how he or she intends to promote your property – and how you can help.

Showcase your home

One of the best ways to get buyers in the door is to have an open house. This is your chance to show off your home’s best assets, and help buyers envision themselves living there. Know how your agent will organize, advertise and host the event to ensure it’s a success.

Receive offers

Yes, you might get offers, plural, depending on your market. Assuming you’ve collaborated with your agent, you’ve likely positioned yourself to receive attractive bids. Your agent will review each offer with you to determine which is best for you. The offer price isn’t always the only factor to consider.

Negotiate with the buyer

To get the best deal, you’ll likely have to do some negotiating. Your agent can help you craft a strategic counteroffer, factoring in not only money, but contingencies, etc. 

Negotiate home inspection repairs

The home inspection is as much a source of anxiety for buyers as it is for sellers. Nonetheless, most purchase agreements are contingent on a home inspection [plus an appraisal, which will be managed by the buyer’s lender]. This gives the buyer the ability to inspect the home from top to bottom and request repairs – some even could be required per building codes. The upshot: You have some room to negotiate, including about certain repairs. Once again, your agent will be there to help you effectively communicate with the buyer.

Close the sale

Settlement, or closing, is the last step in the home selling process. This is where you sign the final paperwork, make this whole thing official and collect your check. Before that can happen though, you’ll have to prepare your home for the buyer’s final walk-through and troubleshoot any last-minute issues. Be sure to ask your agent for a closing checklist so you’re well prepared for the big day.

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