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Top Tips for First Time Home Sellers

Posted by Sharon Rosshirt on Monday, January 23rd, 2017 at 4:49pm.

Selling your home is a daunting task and not something that you do very often.  So naturally there are a lot of things that you should keep in mind if you want to sell quickly and for a good price.  Whether it is picking a real estate Agent or figuring out a great price to list your home, these decisions will determine if you get the results that you are looking for.

No matter what the market is doing now you can sell your home if you want or need to.  Central Texas has had very low inventory for months which tends to favor sellers. You may have heard about the roughly 120 people per day that move to the area.  Here are some tips that will help you avoid some of the most common mistakes in selling your home

Choose a Realtor That You Trust

If you are thinking about selling your home the thought of doing it by yourself has probably crossed your mind.  Unless you have experience in real estate  many things that can go wrong.  A Realtor will be able to walk you through the specific local laws and regulations surrounding the sale of your home and will protect your interests during the transaction.

Look for an agent that has a long list of testimonials.  This indicates two things to you as a seller. First, the agent has experience working through a number of home sales.  Second, they were so good that their client was eager to write a positive review of their experience.  Ultimately, this person is going to be responsible for the sale of your home so make sure to do your research.

Sell Your Home at the Right Price

Do you know which factors actually go into determining the value of your home?  You may be able to find a rough idea using tools like Zillow's Zestimate but in practice these numbers don’t paint the whole picture. Real estate agents have the tools and expertise to explain all of the factors that affect your homes ideal list price.

One thing you should look for in an agent is somebody who has a proven track record of listing and selling a home close to the same price.  Some agents are very good at determining prices while others are just taking a shot in the dark.

Getting the price right up front is beneficial in a couple of ways.  If you list at the right price your home will sell faster and attract a competitive environment for potential buyers.  Homes priced too high tend to stay on the market for months at a time.  When you are priced high reducing the price will show up on your listing and this can encourage potential buyers to offer you a below ideal price.

Get Your Home Ready to Sell

We have covered home staging many times on our site but it is always worth saying again.

Exterior Home Improvements:

  • Make sure that your home's curb appeal is exceptional.
  • Repair any obvious cosmetic problems.  This includes rotting siding, a damaged roof or worn out paint.
  • Keep your outdoor areas clean and free of debris, consider planting flowers or other plants to make your home more inviting.

Interior Home Improvements:

  • Clean your home from top to bottom.
  • If you have a pet make sure to have an “honest nose” tell you if there is an odor.  If there is, you need to remove it.
  • Replace light bulbs or add brighter lights, this helps make the home seem more inviting and bigger.
  • Repair any visible defects,  these will come up in an inspection so it’s better to be proactive with the repairs if you want to sell your home quickly.

Be Ready to Move if You Get an Offer

When someone makes an offer on your home you start a short timer.  In Austin at least homes can close fast, particularly if the buyer has made a cash offer.  Ideally you will have already done a lot of your packing before even putting your home on the market.  Moving is a stressful process that always seems to take longer than you expect so plan accordingly.

If you aren’t sure where you will be living once your home sells you may want to talk about having a contingency clause added to your sale contract.  This allows you to either delay the sale until you are able to buy a new home or possibly lease your home from the new owner long enough to find a new place to live.  Obviously this can cause your transaction to get messy in a hurry so it’s highly advisable that you avoid this if you can.

Understand the different costs associated with Closing

Selling your home can sometimes have unexpected expenses.  If an inspection comes back with a recommendation for a fairly serious repair your buyer may negotiate for a discount or to have those issues addressed before completing the transaction.  Additionally sellers are responsible for paying agent commissions.

A great way to offset some of the costs involved with commission is to ask your agent about a “Move-Up Program”.  This is where an agent will help you sell your home AND help you buy your new home.  Most savvy agents will be happy to make a deal with you for the chance to complete two transactions instead of one.


Selling a home isn’t rocket science but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t a number of mistakes that you can make.  By hiring an experienced REALTOR you can be sure that your home will navigate this process with the best possible result.

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