Recently I have been approached by several seller clients about selling their homes. In this post, I will be going over the basics of home selling and what to prepare for when it comes to selling your home for the first time. If it is not your first time selling your home, keep in mind the market conditions are different in different parts of the cycle. It is important to keep up to date about the market condition and strategize accordingly.

Market overview: In general, the Greater Boston market is still going strong, although homes are taking a bit longer to sell compared to the same periods years before, but most homes within target buyer’s reach still sell within a month. This is not necessarily a bad thing because this simply means that the buyers have a bit more homes to choose from compared to the extremely imbalanced seller’s market before, but overall it’s still the seller’s market at most price points and locations, especially entry level starter homes. There are still many more buyers than sellers for many property types and price points. An experienced real estate agent can help you create a customized marketing plan to maximize your value. Interest rates are still historically low, which is favorable for both sellers and buyers.  

Staging services: Many sellers are faced with the question of whether to use staging services. In many cases, your home looks substantially better when staged and will sell for far more than the cost of the staging. The staging tends to be a case-by-case issue, so don’t hesitate to invite a qualified real estate agent into your home to give you some feedback. They can help you save thousands of dollars by giving you insights into the condition of your home and how to present it better. Some property types are more challenging than others or have defects that cannot be easily fixed and require unique strategies to maximize value.

Timing: late March to early July tends to be the best time to sell in general when there is the highest number of buyers, but keep in mind it’s also important to work with your own schedule to present your property in the best light. Some properties at certain locations will sell fast no matter which month it is because that particular market segment does not have strong seasonality due to constant high demand. A qualified real estate agent can give you tips on when best to sell your home and how to market it. An exceptional agent can market your property creatively so that it reaches the most buyers. Avoid marketing your home to the wrong audience, which may cause complications to your transaction later.

Offers: the initial open house is the best time to market your home. Should you accept the first offer you receive? Should you accept an offer right away? An experienced agent can guide you through this process and make the experience as smooth as possible. There will be many negotiations and an agent with super negotiation skills will stand out. This is where you see a big difference between a full service agent and discount brokerage agent. Well-qualified full service agents go above and beyond to get the most dollars for their clients and do the extra showings even when it’s not convenient for them. While discount agents can save you a small amount in commission dollars, they are leaving big money on the table because their objective is to get the deal closed as quickly as possible and with the minimal efforts.

Ultimately, every seller is faced with the question of whether it is a good time to sell their home. Everyone has different reasons. Sometimes the best move is not to sell at this particular point in time because either you or the property is not ready. I have advised my sellers against selling their homes before. It is critical to discuss with a real estate advisor your true reasons for selling so they can understand the situation better and identify the best move. In some cases, it is better to refinance or do a HELOC than to sell, or to rent out your home instead, depending on how the numbers work and personal factors. A reliable agent will sit down with you to help you evaluate the whole financial picture and come up with the best plan. Only an agent with a proven track record in real estate sales will put your interests before theirs because they care about you and their reputation, and not just the commission.