7 Things All First Time Home Sellers Should Know
Reviewed by: Brandon Brown
By now, you know everything there is to know about buying a home—terms like escrow, market value, equity, and closing costs now effortlessly comprise your repertoire.
That said, now it’s time to turn the tables to kickstart the home selling process.
As a first time home seller, there’s more to learn, whether you’re selling a house for a job relocation or simply downsizing. You’ll need to appraise your home’s value, stay up to date on the market, and find an offer that checks each of your boxes. Our first time home seller guide lists our best real estate tips for first time home sellers.
#1 Appraise Your Home’s Current Value
When putting your current home up for sale, it is vital to understand what your house is worth to avoid undervaluing or overvaluing the property.1
Here are some steps you can take when appraising your home:2
- Step #1 – Check with your tax assessor to see when the last property tax assessment was conducted. This can measure how mortgage rates might line up for a new potential buyer. Identify whether the numbers are still relative to the current market value or if a re-assessment is needed.
- Step #2 – Invest in a professional appraiser for qualified guidance in pricing your home. A licensed expert can perceive details you may be unaware of, which can contribute to the home’s valuation.
- Step #3 – Use helpful online tools like Zillow and Trulia to estimate the worth of your property. You’ll need to enter the following pertaining to your home:3
- Address, size, location, and age of property
- Number of bedrooms and bathrooms
- Square footage of structures and lot
- Garages, and what type
- Pools, fireplaces, access roads, or add-ons to the property
#2 Confirm What Market Is in Effect
If you own a home, you will already be acquainted with the terms from your previous home buying experience. Whatever side you happen to be on, you know how the housing market can tip one way or the other depending on certain factors, such as:
- Demographic population growth
- Interest rates
- Supply and demand
- New home construction forecast4
Housing markets tend to develop into three categories affected by these factors. These markets have been known to rise and fall over an 18-year span, with recovery periods taking up most of the cycle (15 years) and declines lasting 2–3 years.5
Of course, these cycles can be unexpectedly affected by a volatile economic downturn or an unforeseen public health crisis (like the recent pandemic), which can disrupt a historical pattern. Understanding the US housing market forecast and trends can help you determine the best time to sell and how competitive the market is.
That said, you must identify what type of real estate market you’re selling in:
- Seller’s Market – If the housing market is favoring the seller, it means that the demand for housing is high and the number of houses on the market is relatively low. This gives you a better advantage as a seller to set an ideal asking price and perhaps increase it if numerous bids indicate that demand is growing.6
- Buyer’s Market – A buyer’s market dictates a lower selling price due to a higher number of houses being listed, compared to fewer buyers interested. This can happen as a result of the market “correcting itself” from a recent seller’s market boom. This type of market may negatively affect your home sale.
- Neutral Market – In this market, the demand and supply are fairly even on both sides. As such, neither the buyer nor the seller is favored, and you’ll often sell your home at the listing price.
In some cases, this may lead you to question: should I sell or rent my house instead?
#3 Establish Your Asking Price
Listing homes at the right sale price was the most difficult achievement by “For Sale By Owner” (FSBO) sellers in 2022.7 Fortunately, there are a few methods you can use to determine your home’s value:
- Analyze listed and sold houses in your area similar in size and amenities to your own home. Utilize the information supplied by your appraisal to compare.
- When determining your asking price, make sure you arrive at a competitive number to attract serious buyers and comparable offers.
- Settle on an amount that doesn’t fall on a “century”8 number (for example, $499,000 rather than $500,000). This is a proven method in retail environments, by which items are priced for a better cognitive appeal to the consumer.
- Visit the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Their website has online implements that can pull information containing mortgage data from FHA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac.9
#4 Decide How Much Time You Need
The home selling process can often be quicker for an FSBO listing.9
That said, it may take more time to sell your current home if you entertain buyers from a wider pool—if you advertise your home on an internet forum, for instance.
When determining a potential timeline, there are various factors to consider:
- Seasonal selling – Depending on what city you are in, the real estate market may fluctuate by season. Spring is usually the best time to sell, followed by fall, then winter.
- Time on the market – If you take too much time to sell your property, it may become a stale asset.10 However, if you try to turn it around too quickly, you may lose out on the best bid. If you need to move quickly but are afraid you will miss out on a good sale, then a cash-buyer option may be the best alternative.
- External circumstances – Determine how soon you will need to move into a new home. Are you planning to buy a new home? Do you already own a property you plan to move into? Are you going to be selling and buying a house at the same time? How much time are you willing to keep your house on the market?
#5 Market Your Asset
Before the internet, people had to rely on a more manual series of steps to get the word out if they were selling a house. Now, there is access to a very broad audience with a lot less effort.
Successful marketing initiatives revolve around making personal connections and targeting the right audience. This approach can be applied when marketing your home for sale as well. You can get advice from a marketing professional, find online guides on how to do this for yourself, or hire a marketer outright to define your strategy.
Depending on your available funds, you can:
- Design posters
- Create social media ads
- Record video announcements
- Send email campaigns
- Print and mail postcards
- Advertise on bus stops or other media
However you choose to market and advertise your asset, keep these tidbits in mind:
- Word of mouth is a legitimate marketing tool. Get the word out to friends, family, co-workers, social groups, office bulletin boards—any way you can.
- Professional photography is a must-have for maximum appeal in your advertising.
- Describe your property with as many details as possible, and mention any recent repairs or upgrades in your signage and ads.9
#6 Discover Online Selling
The pandemic of 2020 ushered in a surge of remote learning, working, and shopping. Home selling was no exception. Nowadays, most people start online to search for available homes, and with the white-hot market of the last couple of years, online home selling has taken a huge upward turn.
In 2021, 51% of home buyers found the homes they eventually purchased online.11
With online resources, you’ll be able to:
- Conduct virtual tours
- Provide applications with fillable PDFs
- Sign closing paperwork digitally12
One caveat to online home selling is that you are 100% responsible for crafting all the paperwork, putting the legalities in place, and ensuring there aren’t any loopholes. You might also receive less-than-authentic offers and interest, wasting time better spent on other matters.
#7 Work with a Cash Buyer
One of the most convenient and increasingly popular options for selling your home is accepting an “as-is” offer from an off-market cash buyer. There are quite a few benefits of accepting a cash offer on a house. A cash buyer will offer you a fair market price for your house and eliminate the need for:
- Open Houses
- Agency commissions
- Closing costs
- Waiting months for escrow to close
An off-market cash buyer takes away the hard work of managing it all by yourself. They can offer you cash for your property outright, and enable you to move on at your own pace.
Give Your Keys to FlipSplit
We hope you are able to use these first time home seller tips, and that you can proceed with confidence in your next steps.
To help you move on to your next phase of life, FlipSplit will offer you cash for your home and split the profits with you on the resale after renovations. With FlipSplit, you can sell your home in accordance with your time and budget, whether that’s 72 hours or 90 days.
At FlipSplit, we give you a fair price for your home—and peace of mind.
- NerdWallet. How to Price Your Home to Sell. https://www.nerdwallet.com/article/mortgages/price-home-sell
- ListingDoor. 3 Ways FSBO Sellers Can Establish a Home’s True Market Value. https://listingdoor.com/market-value
- Bankrate. How to calculate the fair market value (FMV) of a home. https://www.bankrate.com/real-estate/fair-market-value/#calc
- Economics Help. Factors that affect the housing market. https://www.economicshelp.org/blog/377/housing/factors-that-affect-the-housing-market/
- Berkshire Hathaway Home Services. How Long Does a Seller’s Market Last? Analyzing Real Estate Cycles. https://blog.bhhsmichiganrealestate.com/how-long-does-a-sellers-market-last-analyzing-real-estate-cycles
- Kiplinger. 11 Things Every Home Seller Should Do. https://www.kiplinger.com/slideshow/real-estate/t010-s001-things-every-home-seller-should-do/index.html
- National Association of Realtors. 2022 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers: For Sale By Owner (FSBO) Statistics. https://store.realtor/2022-nar-profile-of-home-buyers-and-sellers-download
- Zillow. How to Price Your Home to Sell. https://www.zillow.com/sellers-guide/how-to-price-home-to-sell
- Consumer Reports. 5 Tips for Selling Your Home Without an Agent. https://www.consumerreports.org/selling-a-home/tips-for-selling-your-home-without-an-agent
- HomeLight. How Long Should a House Sit on the Market Before Selling? https://www.homelight.com/blog/how-long-should-a-house-sit-on-the-market/
- National Association of Realtors. 2022 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers: Home Seller Statistics. https://store.realtor/2022-nar-profile-of-home-buyers-and-sellers-download
- Bankrate. How to sell your house online. https://www.bankrate.com/real-estate/sell-house-online/#advantages
Reviewed by: Brandon Brown
As a long-time Asset Manager, Investor, Real Estate Agent, and Broker/Owner of BayBrook Realty in Orange County, Brandon Brown is one of FlipSplit’s lead Real Estate experts. Having worked on over 2,000+ real estate transactions, Brandon brings a depth of knowledge that ensures clients are appropriately treated with honesty and integrity. His insights and advice have been published in numerous blogs beyond FlipSplit, and he keeps a close eye on market trends and statistics, which are updated weekly on his social media pages. Outside work, you can find him participating and serving at church, cycling, mountain biking, surfing around Orange County and beyond, and enjoying time with his wife and two daughters.