For Sale By Owner - 41 Realty Group Sellers

Should You Sell Your House For Sale By Owner?

Are you thinking of selling your home yourself (also known as “for sale by owner” or FSBO) because you think it will save you a lot of money? It’s no secret that the standard real estate agent’s commission is typically 5% to 6%, which really adds up depending on the price of the home you want to buy. With that in mind, you might be thinking that acting as your own seller’s agent will be worth the savings. However, before you go the for sale by owner route, there are a few reasons why you might want to reconsider. 

Things You Should Know Before You Sell Your House For Sale By Owner

Here are the highlights of things you should know before choosing FSBO. First, while it might be tempting, the risks of going it alone outweigh the benefits.

These risks include not finding qualified buyers, not knowing how to negotiate properly, not having enough free time to facilitate the sale, and potentially making emotional rather than logical decisions. The most significant risk of choosing “for sale by owner” is not having the experience or expertise to navigate all the requirements (both legal and regulatory) that come with selling a home.

Now that you know the risks let’s dive into what FSBO entails.

What Is For Sale by Owner, Exactly?

In the real estate world, For Sale By Owner (FSBO, pronounced “fizbo”) is when a house owner sells their home without any representation from a real estate agent. 

Most home sellers decide FSBO isn’t worth it because of the hassle alone — and they find that they end up getting a worse deal on their home than if they had used a realtor. Most people who choose the FSBO route sell their homes at 11% less than those with an agent. 

Real Estate Is a Full-Time Job

Think about these questions: Can you rush home from work when someone wants to see your home? Is it possible for you to answer your phone every time it rings with a potential buyer? Do you have the time or energy to market your home at every available opportunity consistently? 

If you’re feeling overwhelmed just thinking about that, it might be time to hire an agent. A real estate agent is passionate about getting your home sold for the best price, so you can sit back and relax and let them do the hard work for you.

Real Estate Agents Have Large Networks

Sure, there are websites and networks you can list your home on like Zillow, Redfin, Craiglist, and the MLS, but is simply posting a listing enough? Real estate agents have a vast pool of people they can spread the word to so that you can get your home sold faster. Even if you think you have many friends and family, will they go the extra mile for you to make sure more people see your home? 

A small network means less demand for your property, which means longer waiting periods and not getting as much money as your home is worth. An excellent real estate team will likely already have a collection of buyers who are looking for precisely what your house has! 

Realtors May Not Show a “For Sale By Owner” Home

Though not true of all brokerages, some agents know that in an FSBO deal, there isn’t a professional colleague who knows what they are doing on the other end of the transaction. As a result, agents representing buyers might discourage their clients from making an offer because of the hassles and risks of trying to close the deal without a professional agent (and without a guaranteed commission!).

If you really want to be taken seriously by seller’s agents, avoid any hiccups, or miss any critical steps, it’s better to use an agent who can help you manage the process.

Agents Avoid Emotional Sales

The sale of your home can become an emotional process. Having an agent removes you slightly from the process, so you don’t overprice your home or give in too quickly when you’re tired of waiting for the right offer. If you choose not to use an agent, you’ll also have to deal directly with rejection every time a buyer’s agent tells you that the client isn’t interested. 

The right real estate agent can take the sting out of the rejection and positively spin any constructive criticism. Hiring an agent means you have someone on your side, facilitating the deal so that everything goes smoothly.

Real Estate Agents Weed Out Unqualified Buyers

When you use a real estate agent, they will be able to take the time to find out whether someone who wants to see your home for sale is a qualified buyer or simply a curious neighbor. It can be a significant interruption every time you have to put your life on hold, clean your home, and find the time for potential buyers to come over. An agent can limit those hassles and only show your home to those who actually want to buy.

Real estate agents are trained to ask the right questions to determine the buyer’s seriousness and make sure they are qualified. They also know how to determine how long buyers have been looking, whether they’ve seen any other homes, and more. As a result, a real estate agent will be able to move a qualified and motivated person to the point of purchase, while FSBO sellers lack this training and skill set.

Lastly, having the seller present can make showings a little uncomfortable. Most buyers rush through the house if the seller is present, and might feel awkward asking the questions they want to or going through the house the way they want to because of the watchful eyes of the seller.

The Bottom Line With For Sale By Owner

It’s a big deal to learn how to sell your house without the assistance of an agent. Selling your home is likely one of the most significant transactions you’ll ever make. Though it’s true, that you might save a few dollars, we think that hiring an agent has a lot more advantages. The right real estate agent will get you more exposure and negotiate a better deal on your behalf, but real estate is what they do, day in and day out. They can make certain complex transactions go smoothly, with a few potential financial and legal pitfalls as possible. Are you in the market to sell? 41 Realty Group wants to help! Set up a consultation with us and let us show you why hiring an agent is a great idea (especially in this crazy market!).

Prepare Your House For Freezing Weather 41 Realty Group Sellers

How To Prepare Your House For Freezing Weather

Wind, snow, and ice may be dangerous to your house and your finances. Fortunately, there are precautions you can take to avoid the expense and bother of winter damage – as well as savings on heating bills.

Though typically winter house preparation should be completed in the fall, it’s never too late to take care of your home when the temperature drops. Here are a few tips to help you prepare your house for freezing weather.

Tips for Protecting Your Home From Freezing Temperatures

When it comes to weatherproofing a home in a cold-winter climate, the various structural and mechanical systems have an additional burden. Water might be challenging in any situation, but the difficulties are much more significant in locations where it stays snowy and icy for weeks or months on end.

Here are some guidelines to help you avoid the problems caused by frigid temperatures and weather.

Winter Weather Prep For The Outside Of Your Home

When the weather goes south, and the snow seems to trap you inside, you’ll be relieved that you have taken these precautions to secure your home.

Remove leaves, twigs, and other debris from your gutters to allow melting snow and ice to flow freely. This can avoid ice damming, which occurs when water is unable to drain through the gutters and instead seeps into the house, which might make water drip through the ceiling or into the walls.

You might also consider installing gutter guards. Gutter guards keep debris out of the gutters as debris might interfere with the water’s flow away from the house and into the ground.

Trim trees that are overgrown or dead branches to prevent them from breaking away and causing damage to your home or vehicle. Trimming excess branches could also prevent the weather from hurting someone who may be walking by your property.

It’s also possible that your stairs and handrails need to be replaced. When snow and ice accumulate on broken steps and railings, they become highly dangerous.

Use caulk to seal cracks and wall gaps to keep chilly air and dampness out of your house. Weatherstripping around windows and doors will prevent heat from escaping and cold air entering.

Prepare The Inside Of Your House For Freezing Weather

Water pipes can break due to extreme cold, snow, and ice. Likewise, water heaters are more likely to fail in the winter because of colder temperatures. Ensure your home’s internal systems are in working order for safety and efficiency. Consider having your heating system inspected. Furnaces, boilers, and chimneys should be serviced at least once a year.

Consider Adding Extra Insulation

Attics, basements, and crawl spaces can all benefit from extra insulating. For example, heat may escape through an attic when the temperature is too high, causing snow or ice to melt on the roof. Water then may refreeze, resulting in more ice buildup—and possibly ice dams that cause your roof to collapse. Well-insulated basements and crawlspaces will also aid in pipe protection. To keep pipes from freezing, consider insulating garages and other unfinished surfaces.

Insulation or plug-in heating cable can be used to prevent pipes in attics and crawl spaces from freezing. Make sure you get UL®-rated versions of heating cables with built-in thermostats; they will turn on the heat when it’s needed. Always follow manufacturers’ recommendations carefully when using the cables.

Install an emergency pressure release valve in your plumbing system. This will prevent the system from being overwhelmed by freezing pipes and possibly causing a pipe to burst.

Take Steps To Prevent Flooding

Your experienced contractor can also help you avoid flooding from melting snow and ice runoff by suggesting actions to prevent it. For example, internal basement wall coatings, sump pumps, and other improvements may help protect your property and belongings from water damage.

Consider purchasing a sewer backup insurance policy. Sewer systems may be overwhelmed by melting snow flooding. Thousands of dollars in damage can be caused to floors, walls, furniture, and electrical systems if raw sewage backs up into the drains in your home.

Sewer backup is not covered by standard homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, and it isn’t covered by flood insurance; nevertheless, it may be purchased as a separate product. Contact your insurance provider and ask them what they recommend.

Prepare Emergency Kits

Make a winter survival kit: Road salt, non-perishable foods, a car charger for phones, flashlights, batteries, and sleeping bags. Extra cash is always helpful. Channel your inner Boy Scout by keeping emergency supplies available when severe weather strikes.

If possible, include any medicines or first-aid supplies in the kit. Most convenient stores have ready-made disaster kits available if you don’t want to make your own emergency pack.

Contact Your Insurer

Check to see if your policy covers any winterizing expenses, such as stormproof shutters or sensors that detect high water flow and automatically turn off the water supply. These fixtures can help you save money on your insurance premiums too. Keep in mind that the insurance company benefits when you take steps to safeguard your property.

Invest In A Home Generator

To ensure that your refrigerator, heating system, and lights stay operational in the event of a power outage, get a standby generator that can keep you and your family warm and keep your pipes from freezing. Generator prices for small homes can be as little as $500. First, do some homework to figure out what type of generator would work best for your family. Then, before you install one, consult an expert electrician and make sure what you’ve chosen is safe and efficient. 

Install A Carbon Monoxide Detector

Keep your family safe and warm! If you don’t ventilate your heating equipment properly, it might leak carbon monoxide, which is harmful. Carbon monoxide detectors will let you know if something is wrong so that you can address the problem.


Montana gets COLD. You want your home to keep you and your family safe and warm. Taking care of these weather tips on your home can help ensure that your home stays in good order for a long time. 

Did we miss anything? Share your thoughts about winter home prep with us! We’d love to hear how you prepare your house for freezing weather. 

Have more real estate questions? Get in touch with us here.

DIY Home Projects 41 Realty Group Sellers

DIY Home Projects You Can Tackle In One Weekend

Got a free weekend and looking for DIY home projects that will improve your home and maybe even add to your home’s value? We’ve compiled a list of DIY projects you should hopefully be able to tackle in one weekend! We tried to choose items that weren’t too complicated or too expensive so that you could check off your to-do list and add value to your space without breaking the bank.

Ready to take on a home improvement project? Let’s go!

5 DIY Home Projects You Can Do Quickly and Easily

The coronavirus pandemic has driven most of us inside, and we are all spending more time at home than ever. Have you started making a list of home projects that would make your home a little more attractive or functional? Then, get ready to add a few more items to your to-do list! From installing a new backsplash in your kitchen or bathroom, or finally painting that front door, check out some of our easy DIY home projects that you can tackle this weekend.

Install Your Own Peel-And-Stick Backsplash

The kitchen is often referred to as the heart of the home, and if you’re tired of looking at the dingy and dull backsplash in your kitchen, then it might be time to upgrade. Updating your kitchen is as easy as purchasing a peel-and-stick backsplash. Removable tiles are the way to go when you want to get your project done in one quick weekend. These are also a great option if you’re renting and want to personalize your space without damaging the walls.

In terms of DIY home projects, replacing the backsplash in your kitchen or bathroom is a great option because there are so many options so you can match your style exactly. In addition, you can make it bold and stand out to drawn attention, or keep it classic and neutral – whatever your heart desires.

Build Your Own Fire Pit

Love to spend time outside with your family? Why not install a permanent fire pit that looks elegant and inviting. Your local hardware store will have everything you need – concrete wall blocks, pebbles, and a paver base. In just a couple of hours, you can have a professionally looking fire pit that everyone will love. 

If you want your home to be the go-to place for parties and events, then a fire pit might just be the way to go. Here’s a guide to help you build it on your own.

Paint The Front Door and The Shutters

Another easy and fun DIY home project is to update the curb appeal! Paint your front door a fresh and bright color, replace the old hardware, and invest in some potted plants you can put near the entrance of your home. You might even consider installing outdoor lighting to enhance your home’s natural architecture and illuminate the porch or walkway. 

Consider replacing your welcome mat and painting your shutters to match your new door to make a bold and welcoming entrance. 

Construct A Set Of Garage Shelves

If you have a free weekend, now is a great time to take care of that cluttered garage. DIY garage shelves are excellent to handle that mess once and for all. Floor-to-ceiling garage shelves seem to be a staple in most garages, though they don’t always come with the house. Get all your family’s knick-knacks off the floor and on the wall so that you can finally park in your garage.

Clear storage bins are another great way to help you stay organized and quickly find what you need right when you need it. Organize by season and never again buy new decorations because you don’t want to wade through the clutter.

Switch To Energy Efficient Windows

Another project that is probably the most expensive on our DIY home projects list is switching to energy-efficient windows. Especially if you have an older home with single-pane windows, you could be wasting quite a lot of energy, making your bills go up more than they should. So instead, improve your home’s efficiency by replacing single-pane windows with high-performance double-pane windows. 

Though it costs a lot initially, it could save you a lot of money yearly. 

Replace Your Shower Head and Hardware

One straightforward and relatively inexpensive project is to replace the hardware throughout your home. One winner when it comes to adding value to your home is to choose a low-flow showerhead that gives you the same sensation but helps you save on your water bill. In addition, you should check your hard-water status. Many new showerheads provide more control options and are more efficient. 

Add new hardware throughout your bathroom or in the kitchen to add a spa-like or luxurious feel without remodeling the entire space. For example, new handles on cabinets can go a long way in making your whole home feel updated.

Ask Your Real Estate Agent For What Buyers Are Looking For

If you’re thinking about selling, or it might be a possibility down the road, then you might tailor your DIY home projects towards those potential buyers. The best way to find out what buyers are looking for when buying homes is to talk to your real estate agent. Trends come and go, and your real estate agent is usually right on the pulse of those trends. They might be able to give you good advice about which style of backsplash tile to use, what paint colors are best, and what things you should avoid. If you’re in the market and need help buying or selling, let 41 Realty Group hold your hand through the process. Our team really cares, and will be your champion when it comes to negotiations, paperwork, dealing with buyers, and more. We’d love to answer your real estate questions and help you on your real estate journey. Get in touch with us here.

Prepare To Sell Your House 41 Realty Group Sellers

7 Things To Do As You Prepare To Sell…

Are you thinking about selling your house? Then there’s work to be done! If you want to get the most out of your sale, then there are lots of things you should do before listing your home. There’s a lot more involved than simply planting a “For Sale” sign on your front lawn or sharing photos of your home on social media.

Before you put your house on the market, there are a few things you need to do to prepare to sell your home. Some of these things are easy, while others are a little more time-consuming, but most of these tips will pay off in the long run.

Prepare To Sell Your House With These Easy Tips

The first thing we suggest you do before putting your house on the market is to ask your real estate what they think. They will be able to tell you what buyers are looking for, what your home will likely sell for as is, and so much more. Next, let’s dive into ways you can prepare to sell your house so that you can get more bang for your buck.

Find A Great Real Estate Agent

As we already mentioned, it’s best to consult a real estate agent. It’s not usually a good idea to try to sell your house on your own. Though you might save on commission fees, it could be disastrous and end up costing time and money. Instead, consult with a trustworthy real estate agent right from the beginning, and you’ll likely get much more than you would on your own. 

However, we’ll be the first to tell you that you can’t just hire the first agent you find on Google. In fact, it might also not be a great idea to hire your cousin or uncle’s friend’s coworker or whoever. Instead, do a little research and check out testimonials and reviews. The best real estate agent will be the one who is knowledgeable about the market and will take the time to get to know your specific needs. 

The ideal real estate agent will be someone you feel comfortable working with and someone you trust will sell your home for a great price and have your best interests at heart.

Welcome Buyers By Updating Your Curb Appeal

What is the first thing potential buyers will see when it comes to your house? Your front door! Make your front door visible and accessible to buyers by updating the curb appeal. Paint your front door, clear all trash and debris, mow the lawn, prune the hedges, etc.,. Another idea is to pot or plant colorful annuals and perennials to up the attraction. It’s also a good idea to fix any broken screens, doorbells, shingles, and even outdoor lighting. Any exterior defects can make a poor first impression on buyers. 

Declutter Living Areas

When it comes to preparing your home to sell, less is more. First, try. to do a clean sweep of counters and tables and clear out as much clutter as you can. Then search through closets and drawers and try to get rid of some of the excess junk you’ve accumulated over the years. After all, buyers will look everywhere if considering your home as theirs, and they want to be able to see the space they might live in. They want to imagine their own things in the house.

If your house is overflowing and overcluttered, buyers might worry that the house won’t have ample space for their own belongings. See if you can donate some of your extra things or pack them up early and store them off-site if you can. Not only will that look appealing to buyers, but it will also make it easier for your move since many of your items will 

Depersonalize The Space

The next step on your checklist when you’re trying to prepare to buy a house is to depersonalize the space as much as you can. Remove all distractions that might hinder buyers from visualizing themselves and their families living in your home. Remove personal items and family photos, and try to keep the house as neutral as possible. The end goal is to create a blank canvas so that buyers can project their own visions of living there and imagining themselves in the space.

Go Neutral and Fix The Little Things

The best thing to do is a well-done, no-frills paint job with a fresh coat of paint to make everything feel clean. Repaint any bright or eccentric walls, and give the house a nature or spa-inspired feel with neutral colors like taupe and gray. Don’t forget to spruce up the trim and molding, either! Even fresh paint on the kitchen cabinets can go a long way into making your home feel updated and new.

In addition, it’s essential to go through the house and fix the small stuff. Repair and replace broken or outdated hardware throughout your home. This could mean installing new door handles, towel bars, and even curtain rods. Any fixtures that are visible to homebuyers can be replaced relatively inexpensively. New hardware throughout the home can improve the functionality and show buyers you care about the house.

Clean Clean Clean

If you really want to go the extra mile, it might be a good idea to hire a professional cleaning crew before an open house or viewings. Some cleaning steps might include washing the windows, renting a pressure washer for the exterior, and polishing the chrome faucets and mirrors. In addition, ensure that all of the dust has been cleaned from under the furniture, on top of cabinets, and wherever else it might be hiding.

You can maintain a professional level of cleanliness by vacuuming daily, waxing floors, and constantly wiping down bathrooms and kitchen spotless. Another tip is to hang up fresh guest towels and keep the toilet lid down whenever people come over to view your house.

Kitchens are a big selling point for many buyers, so it’s crucial to make yours as uncluttered and spotless as possible. It’s also essential to make sure you avoid odorous foods such as fish, garlic, or cabbage – these smells linger, and you don’t want potential buyers thinking that’s the way the house smells all the time. The same goes for pets. Monitor litter boxes or other spots affected by pets and make sure everything smells fresh and clean. 

Get a Home Inspection

One of the main things you should do before selling your home is hire a home inspector. Although buyers usually have the home inspected, it’s a good idea to have the house checked beforehand. Getting an inspection done before you even list will help you identify any potential issues that may come up during the sale so that you can get ahead of them.

Let 41 Realty Group Help You Prepare To Sell Your House

Are you ready to sell your home but need help? Let the experts at 41 Realty Group help you navigate the selling process. We do the hard work for you so that you don’t have to. Get in touch with our team here.

Staging Tips For Sellers 41 Realty Group Sellers

Tried and True Staging Tips For Sellers

You’ve heard real estate agents talk about staging your home; what they mean is ways to prepare a property for sale on your local marketplace. It is a way to showcase a home’s best assets to impress buyers and sell quickly for the highest possible price.

Though not all sellers stage their homes (especially homes in lower price ranges), we think you’ll be at an advantage if you elect to take the extra step to stage your property. Here are a few staging tips for sellers you can utilize to help your home sell faster and hopefully for more money!

Staging Tips For Sellers To Help You Sell 

If you’re planning to put your home on the market this summer, we likely don’t have to say that you will want to sell your home as quickly as possible and also for your asking price. Though the market here in Billings, Montana, is hot, and houses are quickly selling for their asking price or higher, you can set yourself up for success with these tips for styling and upgrading your home. 

Read on as we discuss why staging is necessary, and then give you a few tips that will help attract buyers. These tips can also be used by property managers looking to attract renters into their properties. 

Ready to get started?

Why Home Staging Is Important

Selling your house is a big deal and a significant financial transaction in your life. You don’t want to settle for a lower selling price or a more extended time period than you have to. Staging might be one of the most profitable projects you can undertake. Potential buyers are looking for a home they can improve their lifestyle in and fulfill their dreams. When you properly stage, you can create an emotional purchase for the buyer, leading to more profits for the seller.

We think home staging is also beneficial because potential buyers don’t want to walk into a potential new home and only see work that needs to be done. Every problem they see will likely need to be deducted from the cost of the offering price. Too many issues or an unlivable space might mean they pass completely on buying the home.

Let’s dive into a few staging tips for sellers to help you maximize your potential profits.

Boost Curb Appeal

You’ve probably heard this a dozen times, but we couldn’t resist. Most people interested in scheduling a viewing to tour your home will most likely do a quick drive-by first to gauge whether or not it’s even worth looking inside. Make sure your home looks great to anyone driving by:

  • Power wash the siding on your house and the walkways (trust us on this!)
  • Consider planting fresh flowers and greenery
  • Make sure the house numbers are easy to read
  • Mow the lawn and pull weeds as needed
  • Wash the windows out front
  • Consider repainting the front door or porch if it looks tired and worn (but keep it neutral)

Not All Rooms Need Staging

When it comes to home staging, not all rooms are considered equal. Focus your efforts on the rooms that will have the most significant influence on buyer’s decisions. Spend less time (and money!) on the spaces that likely won’t make much of a difference.

The rooms that buyers consider to be most important are the living room, master bedroom, and kitchen. Your real estate agent will give you specific tips on how to maximize those spaces and make them look their best in the listing photos and for the open house.

Get Rid Of Clutter

We’ll get right to it – space is what sells the house, and clutter takes up that space. You can make your home look bigger (and more desirable!) by editing your things down to just the basics. Don’t get us wrong; you don’t have to get rid of all of your stuff! Simply storing excess clutter elsewhere, for the time being, can free up a lot of space. For example, if you keep all your winter items in the front hall closet, but are listing your home in the summer, remove them into a separate storage space. Anything that you don’t use daily should be taken out. Again, the less stuff inside your house, the bigger it feels, and the more appealing it will be to buyers.

Clean, Clean, Clean!

You’ve heard of Spring cleaning, but the cleaning you do when you’re putting your home on the market should be about double. You want every nook and cranny to shine, from the baseboards to the ceiling. A spotless home suggests that the home was well maintained and just adds to the professionalism. A dirty house just won’t sell for as much as a clean house – ask any real estate agent!

Now is the time to tackle those rarely done chores, like dusting the window blinds and wiping out the inside of your cabinets. Even if you’re a fairly neat person, it might be worth hiring professionals to get that deep clean you probably don’t have the time (or patience) for.

Remove Personal Items

When it comes right down to it, buyers need to be able to envision themselves in your home. Removing all personal items will go a long way toward boosting the imagination of viewers. Remove all family photos, keepsakes, and refrigerator magnets, and art. Keep clothes hidden if possible, and remove all personal items from the bathrooms. Anything that is highly personal or evocative of the home’s current inhabitants should be hidden away.

Make Those Small Repairs

Home staging is a great time to tackle the tiny scratches and holes that might signal neglect to buyers. One easy trick is to get those “magic erasers” and remove all the excess scuffs from the walls. 

Start making a list for all those little things that could use some TLC. Just like with cleaning, the purpose is to show potential buyers that you’ve maintained the property and care about making the place look nice.

Go neutral

Though staging can seem time-consuming and cost-intensive, it can make a huge difference when it comes to the sale price and the amount of time your home will actually spend on the market. Though you might love the bright colors that make your home unique and fun, they might be just the thing that turns off buyers. When you’re staging your home to sell, the best thing you can invest in is new paint – light gray, white, taupe, light tan, etc. Intense bold colors in a room can distract from the home itself and remind the potential buyer of the home’s past and not their future in it. 

Keeping things neutral allows buyers and viewers to imagine their own things inside the space.

Show Off The Closets!

This is a pro tip that you might not hear from other agencies – show off the closets! Open those closets and clear them of clutter and things you don’t need anymore. Open house visitors will no doubt open up every available storage space they can get their hands on. Closet space is one of those make-or-break wishlist items for many buyers, so make sure you show them off to their full advantage. 

Trust us; even if you have to store those unsightly boxes and bins in the garage for the time being or even in a storage unit, it’s worth it! Try to leave at least 25% of your closets free to add to the appeal of spaciousness.

Need Help Selling? Contact The Billings, MT Realtors at 41 Realty Group

When you need help staging your home, contact your local real estate agent, like the experts at 41 Realty Group. We have the experience and the local market knowledge to stage your home for buyers and likely already have an established list of people who will be interested. We’ll give you all the tips and tricks you need to sell your home quickly and for top dollar! Get in touch with us today – we would love to help you with all of your real estate needs.

First Time Home Seller 41 Realty Group Sellers

Everything You Need To Know As A First-Time Home…

First time selling your home? Maybe you’re ready for more space, looking to downsize, or perhaps you simply want a new adventure in a new location. No matter the reason, we think it’s essential to be prepared for the entire sales process. Selling your home can be emotional and stressful, especially for first-time home sellers, as likely it’s your most significant investment. 

As a first-time seller, you have the advantage of having gone through the buying process. Now’s the time to spend your time prepping your home to look it’s best for potential buyers. Plus, depending on your plans, you may also have the extra pressure of selling your home and buying a new one at the same time. Let’s go over the entire process from top to bottom so that you feel a little more prepared before you sell.

Your Guide To Being A First-Time Home Seller

We think that having a basic understanding of the home-selling process can give you some peace of mind as you make your next move. Here’s a step-by-step guide that gives you everything you need as a first-time home seller.

1. Decide If You Should Sell Your Home Or Buy A New One First 

The first thing you should do is figure out when you’re buying your next home. Some people decide to sell first so they don’t have to worry about two mortgages at one time. We suggest talking to a real estate agent and look at your current housing market. In a buyer’s market, there’s a better chance that a seller will accept an offer on their home, even if it’s contingent on the sale of your current home. However, in a seller’s market, homeowners might not be keen on accepting a contingency that forces them to wait around.

We also suggest that you address your finances before getting too far into the process. Contact your current loan servicer to discuss your remaining mortgage balance so that you know how much equity you’ll have when you decide to sell. Learning this information will help you budget for any improvements you’ll need to make before listing. 

2. Choose The Right Agent

The next step is to find the right real estate agent to work with you during this process. The trick is to find someone who knows the area inside and out and is willing to work around your busy schedule. At 41 Realty Group, we have agents on our team that specialize in helping sellers and their unique needs. The right real estate agent will help you set the right price, negotiate offers, and give you the advice you need to sell your home for the best price.

Plus, real estate agents will be there every step of the way to help you navigate through any sticky situation that might come up. 

3. Set The Right Price 

A critical step in the home selling process is to set the right price. Both appraisers and real estate agents will give you an opinion based on comparable sales that occurred within the last 3-6 months in your specific neighborhood. They look at several factors, including the house’s age, square footage, location, and the number of bedrooms and bathrooms. 

Your agent will perform a comparative market analysis for you to recommend a price that is right for your home based on current market conditions. 

4. Prepare Your Home To Sell

It’s probably no secret that there are many details to take care of before you officially list your home and show it to buyers. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Fix The Little Things

You know that to-do list you’ve had for years of all those little things you need to fix or replace? Now’s the time to do them. Maybe it’s a broken door handle, a faulty outlet, a sink that drips, etc. They might seem small to you, but potential buyers might attribute that to the house not being adequately maintained in the grand scheme of things. 

You might not need to do costly and extensive renovations. Though they will be impressed by the new countertops or new roof, they likely won’t want to pay more for those updates. 

Declutter And Clean

When showing, it’s vital to declutter and eliminate distractions that take away the buyer’s focus. Now is the perfect time to sell or toss anything that you aren’t planning on taking with you when you move. Clear out the closets and organize all of your storage areas. 

Once the clutter is all cleared away, the next step is a deep clean throughout the house. This is the time to scrub the baseboards, wipe the dust from ceiling fans, and get behind all those nooks and crannies you usually skip. 

Stage Your Home

Staging your house is a powerful tool that a first-time home seller should utilize when it’s time to sell. It can be as simple as cleaning well, removing extra clutter, and repainting a wall or two. Staging helps potential buyers look at your house like it’s already theirs. They will want to see details to help them imagine themselves living in this space. Try to make your home as comfortable and neutral as possible. 

Your real estate agent will help you find just the right placement of furniture, or even help you bring in rented pieces and decorations to freshen up your space. 

5. Market And Show Your Home 

Once you’ve prepared your home and made it fit for selling, your selling agent will start marketing your home to buyers. Marketing involves several different elements, all designed to paint your home to the best light and find the right people interested in buying. They’ll most likely start with professional photographs of your home to create an online profile. This listing will include all the details about your home that buyers will be looking for.

Your agent will also use the multiple listing service (MLS). The MLS is a private database that is used only by licensed agents to find homes for buyers. Your home will be listed on the MLS and syndicated to all popular home search websites. Agents will also put a sign in your front yard, perhaps use flyers and direct mail for marketing your home, using a video tour, and of course, share your property across their social media pages. 

Another marketing strategy is open houses. Your agent will give you tips on when the best time to host an open house is and what you can do to prepare for buyers coming in and out of your home.

6. Negotiate And Accept An Offer

Negotiating is a significant part of the home selling process. As a first-time home seller, you can expect your agent to work on your behalf to ensure your best interests are represented. They want you to save money and get the most for your house. 

When entering the negotiating phase, our advice is to have realistic expectations and remain flexible and open with your agent. They will help you set realistic pricing goals and tell you what buyers will be looking for and what offers they are likely to make. 

Especially if you’ve been on the market for a while, talk to your agent about what you can do to speed up the process without losing too much money. They’ll be your guide when it comes to handling all the tricky parts of this negotiation process and help create a win-win for you and the buyer.

7. The Closing Process

Did you accept an offer? Congrats! Now comes the official closing process. Here’s how it works:

First, you’ll prepare for the appraisal and inspection. A licensed appraiser will evaluate your home and make sure that the amount matches or is similar to the sale price. An inspection is ordered by the buyer to assess your home’s structure and systems. This is done to find out if there are any significant repairs needed. 

Frequently your listing agent will recommend having a pre-inspection before putting the home on the market so that no surprises come up that you might have to pay for later. If things do come up during the inspection, your real estate agent will help negotiate repairs and help you decide what you should do, whether it’s making repairs yourself or lower the house’s price.

The next step in the closing process is to get all your paperwork in order. Likely you’ve already filled out the listing agreement and the purchase agreement. Now your agent will work with the title company to get the rest of the documents squared away. This will include title work, property tax documents, property surveys, any plans and permits associated with your home, and your homeowner’s insurance information. 

As soon as all the terms of your purchase agreement are met, and the loan paperwork is ready to go, an escrow agent will deliver a settlement statement that details all the money transfers. On closing day, you’ll sign all the paperwork required to transfer ownership of your home officially.

8. Tie Up Loose Ends

Once you get through closing, you’re just about done with the entire process. We wanted to mention a few loose ends you’ll need to tie up. Don’t forget to change your address with the post office and cancel your homeowners’ insurance on the home you just sold. Now is also the time to close all accounts delivered to your home, like utilities or newspaper subscriptions. 

If you have any manuals that go with appliances in your home, leave them on the counter for the new owners. That’s it! You’re free to begin the next adventure in your life.


Ready to get started? We can help! Give us a call at 41 Realty Group, and we’ll answer your questions, help you sell, and even help you find a new house. 

Click here to get started!