Lessons I Learned From Selling My Home and What I’d Do Differently
We moved in with my mother nearly eight years ago while my husband was getting his masters. It was a good situation for both of us because she was living in a big home alone, and we needed to downsize our rent. At the time, the market wasn't great for selling the home that we owned, so we decided to rent it out.
Fast forward seven years, and the market was hot. Last summer, we decided to sell our home and it was one of the scariest things I'd done in a long time. Maybe that's because I had never done it before. It was truly a learning experience.
1. Spend Money In the Right Places
When you're looking to sell a house (and cash in that great equity you've been building up), the last thing you want to do is spend money. However, if you spend it well, you can get that money back and more from your investment.
You don't want to spend too much, because you never know the next buyers intentions with your home. While it might have been your sanctuary, it could be their "fixer upper". It would be crazy to invest top dollar into something that might be torn out the minute you hand over the key.
Simple fixes include:
- Painting the interior in neutral tones.
- Replacing old carpet with something new, yet cost effective.
- Replacing outdated light fixtures.
We really relied on our real estate agent to guide us through this process. This is another place where you can really save money, yet make money while selling your house.
What I'd Do Differently:
It can be tempting to hire a friend or family member to help you navigate selling your home. Unfortunately, they might not be the best suited for the job. Find agents that will compete for your business, save you money, and provide a smooth and easy transaction with UpNest.
This free service lets you input the basics about your sell and matches you with potential agents that are eager to work for you—even agents that will adjust their commission rate to get your business. All of their agents have at least five years experience and a history of success within your current market. UpNest uses finely tuned algorithms to match you with an agent that can help you achieve your goals whether it be a quick sale, selling your home for top dollar, or both! With the money you saved on their fees, you can stand to fix up a few things.
2. Don't Leave All the Research to Your Realtor
While our realtor in the end did a wonderful job, we used a friend who wasn't necessarily familiar with our neighborhood and was really trying to get his start in the industry. Even though our story had a happy ending, often times a realtor that was referred by friends or family can end up burning bridges of relationships because of the high stakes job they're taking on.
We started the process of selling our home by bringing our realtor by the house in December before we put our home on the market in June. The challenge with bringing him in that early was that the market changed in the six months between his first check of the comps and the time when we wanted to list it.
Since we knew the neighborhood, I knew how fast homes were selling and the rate per square foot. I had to push my realtor to raise the price by $10,000. It sold in a couple of days for more than the asking price.
What I'd Do Differently:
Even though it was simple to use someone we knew as our realtor, we really should have started our research process with the person helping us through the process. You need to find someone that you feel is like-minded and knowledgeable for your particular circumstance.
What I love about the services UpNest provides is that they put the power into the buyer or seller's hands, not the realtors. After you submit the basics about your needs, an UpNest adviser will call you to speak more specifically about the home your selling. Within 24-48 hours, you'll receive 3-5 proposals from agents in your area. In their proposal, realtors will pretty much show you their cards. They lay their fees out on the table and truly compete for your business. A little competition can go a long way!
3. Choose the Best to Guide You
Let's face it, unless you're buying and selling homes all the time, how often does one really go through this process? Even if you've moved every couple of years, the market changes so quickly, your past experiences might not even apply. Since buying and selling a house is a major decision, work with the best.
It's really easy to want to cut out the middle man and buy or sell your home yourself. If you're working with a field tested professional, you shouldn't even feel the fees that they receive from your sell. They know how to get your home shown to the right people so that you can sell it for the right price.
What I'd Do Differently:
While I did have a good experience with our real estate agent, I really believe that someone with more experience could have provided additional insight into getting top dollar for our home.
The beauty is that since UpNest is a free service and vetting agents in no way commits you to working with them, you can really find out some great information without any strings attached. UpNest takes the pain and complication out of finding a local agent you can trust, because all of their partner agents have the best records of selling and buying homes for their clients in your area.
I love that their service is uniquely customized to your situation and finds an expert to guide you through what can be a very stressful process.
Visit the UpNest website, and compare agents to buy or sell your house and see how agents competing can really make your transition process painless.
Betsy Strauss is an unexpected homeschooler, mother of three, who is in a relationship with a sweet man for life. She loves reading books, drinking coffee, and learning anything with her kids.
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