by Brenda Cuoco

A lot of focus in the real estate industry has been placed on first-time homebuyers. But what about first-time home sellers? There never seems to be enough education on this topic. Selling a home is very different from buying one. Whereas buying a home generally involves emotions and feelings, selling typically centers on the home seller maximizing profit. It is best that homeowners do not allow themselves to get emotionally attached to the home they are selling as they most likely will not get what their home is worth.

Here are a few tips to help home sellers achieve their goal:

1. Choosing an Agent

Choose an agent who has the experience and expertise to get your home seen and sold. Don’t choose your cousin’s sister-in-law, for example, who dabbles in real estate. You’ll fare much better if you select an experienced real estate agent who has a strong level of local expertise. It is always good to interview at least two agents. Some good questions to ask are: how many homes have they sold in the last year? how much volume have they sold? and what is their list to sale ratio? A great agent will be able to answer all of these questions. You can also verify some of the information provided by the agent directly on the agent’s online profile.

2. Pricing and Marketing your Home

Your agent will analyze comparable sales and prepare an estimate of value often called a CMA, for comparative market analysis. Your listing agent should have the experience and education to provide you with a more accurate opinion of value. The marketing of your home is incredibly important, you should know exactly what your agent is doing to get you the maximum exposure for your home. The agent should be sharing their comprehensive home marketing plan with you, which explains in detail what they will do for you. Of course, if you have hired a top-notch listing agent, your agent should provide professional photos. Remember, how your property appears online is what will drive the consumer through the door.

3. Home Staging Boosts Selling Power and Appeal

Your agent should help you stage your home for photos and for sale. Yes, that’s right. There is a difference in those two statements. Staging for photos is what gets everyone through the door but staging to sell allows you to put some of your comfort items back into your home for showings. Most homes show better with about half of the furniture removed. If a buyer walks in the door and wonders if anybody lives in the house, you’ve done your job correctly. Consider home staging to boost your selling power and appeal. Painting is the single most effective improvement you can make, that gets your more money in your pocket. Don’t let dings in the woodwork or scraps on the walls make your home reflect deferred maintenance. Present your home as if it is a crisp clean $100 bill hot off the press. If you do this, a “SOLD” sign will likely be hanging on the sign out in your front yard soon!

4. Be Flexible with Home Showings

If home showings are too much of an imposition, consider going away the first weekend your home is on the market. Yes, it can feel a bit intrusive to allow strangers to trek through your home and check out your soft-closing drawers in the kitchen. The best way to sell your home is to let a buyer inside with his/her buyer’s agent to tour in peace and quiet. Leave the house when buyer’s agents show up. Anything you say can and will be used against you, plus, buyer’s agents prefer to show without interference. Be sure to ask your agent to provide feedback on all showings. This is imperative to understanding how your home will perform in the marketplace. Some agents have a feedback form that the buyer’s agent will fill out that goes directly to the home seller. This is a critical element to the home-selling process.

5. Review Your Listing Online

Agents do their best to ensure accuracy, but since it is your home, you know the details better than anyone. If you spot a feature that is missing, contact your agent immediately and ask for them to correct any inaccuracies.

6. Respond Promptly to a Purchase Offer

Many offers contain a date by which the offer expires. Notwithstanding, it can drive buyers crazy if they are forced to wait for a seller to decide whether to accept their offer or to issue a counteroffer. Remember, if you are selling because you need to buy a new home, you are no different than when you are a homebuyer yourself. Your agent should walk through the offer with you and guide you in the right direction of all the terms, possible counter offers and educate you on the closing process.

Following these tips should bring home sellers closer to their ultimate goal – selling their homes for what they’re truly worth.

Brenda Cuoco is a broker associate for Real Living Realty Professionals and has been working in the real estate industry since 2004, successfully climbing the ranks each year. Her many years working in the corporate world, along with the impressive network of clients she has cultivated both locally and abroad, has enabled her to easily bring buyers and sellers of properties together with 103 homes sold and revenue of $26.4 million in 2018.