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First Time Home Sellers-The Flip Side to the Coin

4 Apr 2017 3

It’s no secret that first time home buyers are the biggest wave of buyers in 2017 – in fact upwards of 50% of all purchases in 2017 will be first time home buyers. But what about all the first time home SELLERS? Ah, yes it’s a different world!  With so many first time buyers entering the market armed with technology, and tools never before available, this presents an “oh shift” moment in housing.  Memo to first-time home sellers: This isn’t your parents housing market. Even if you have sold a property before, times have changed and today’s sellers need to be prepared to cater to the well-researched and tech savvy buyers entering the market.

First, the basics – how to prepare a home to be sold.

Think back to when you went home shopping, and try to get yourself back in your buying shoes.  What was it about a home that you liked? What was the difference between walking in a home and saying “wow, this is amazing” vs walking in and immediately saying, “I’ve seen enough”.  As humans, we almost all have shiny object syndrome – see something shiny and we want it!  Selling your home is no different.

CLEAN – You can never get a home too clean.  A clean home is an attractive home.  It shows the buyers the home is taken care of and it’s easy for them to imagine they could unwind and settle into the home.  Focus your efforts on kitchens and bathrooms where sanitation is a concern.

DECLUTTER – Less is more.  We want buyers to look at the home and its features, not your personal stuff. You might love your display of 100’s of dolls, but I promise you it is VERY distracting to buyers.

STAGING – Staging refers to rearranging, or changing of furniture and décor to better suit the style and enhance the space.  Professional staging is available but is usually not practical for an already furnished home you live in.  If a home is vacant, staging is an excellent option.   Even if you can’t hire a professional stager, there are plenty of tricks and tips you can do to ensure the maximum effect of your furniture and décor.

I’ve previously written an in depth article on doing your own staging, you can read more here. 10 Staging Secretes – Prepare Your House to be Sold

Spruced up Master bedroom feels much more inviting and updated with very little cost.

Staged Master bedroom feels much more inviting and updated with very little cost.


REPAIRS– Most buyers are lazy.  They don’t want to inherit your problems and issues, why would they?  Assuming you want to get the most money from your sale, it’s worthwhile to fix any known issues that are going to turn off buyers ahead of time.  Make your home Move in Ready.

These items are critical buyers when actually viewing a home in person. But before they head over to the property, we have to convince them the home is perfect enough for them to get off their iPad on the couch and come take a look.  THIS is where good agents shines.

Choose the right Agent

Today, virtually all listings are available online from home. Home buyers are obsessively searching through thousands of listings online.  They are reading articles, studying the market, and able to compare different properties side by side. So what can you do to make your home stand out against the competition and the savvy buyer?  Choosing an agent to partner with a plan to make your listing sparkle is an important piece of the puzzle.

Today’s top agents are adapting to the shift in technology. They are catering their property marketing towards millennials – who make up more than half of the buyers in today’s market. Drones, attention grabbing videos, social media, and virtual 3D immersive tours are what’s holding the attention of this group. The old school “let’s stick a post in the ground and wait for calls to come in” agents are getting left in the dust by the new wave of technology and marketing driven agents.

Pick an agent who has a stellar and proven action plan in place to get your house in front of your target audience.  A plan that will get your house SOLD – not a plan that worked 15 years ago!!

If you haven’t seen it yet, take a look at the demo of the new immersive 3D technology I’m now using on listings.  (This can also be viewed in a Virtual Reality Headset such as Samsung Gear)


What to expect when listing a home

When listing a home for sale, you can go one of two routes.   Depending on which route you take, your experience will be very different.

Option A) Don’t clean, don’t fix anything don’t listen to any of this advice and cross your fingers it sells for a decent price. Sounds silly, yet I see happen day in and day out. Maybe you’ll get lucky, but maybe you don’t.

Option B) Realize you will get out what you put into it – clean your house, make it move in ready, listen to your agents suggestions and go with a proven plan to have it show nicely, marketed properly and get it SOLD.

How long does it take to sell?

The highest traffic on your listing will be within the first 2-3 weeks of being on the market.  After this, the amount of showings typically decrease.  More traffic= better chance of selling your home.  The average days on the market in the Phoenix area right now is around 60.  However, it’s a completely variable number depending on area, price range, condition, and style of home.  It’s not uncommon for move in ready properties in the $200k price range to be sold in 48 hours. Whereas typically as price goes up, the longer it takes to sell (although with several exceptions).

On the flip side, if you price your home TOO high, buyers will balk at the price and move on.  This is ESPECIALLY true in today’s market where the buyers are more educated, and have access to see what else is for sale.  When you are grossly overpriced, buyers know it and will move on without hesitation.

Once you accept an offer, you’ll close usually from 30-45 days after. If you plan to buy another home and sell at the same time, you’ll benefit from reading How to Buy and Sell a Home at the Same Time Without Anxiety

What do I do during showings?

Leave the house!  Of course only AFTER you turn on all the lights, open the curtains, and do a quick spot check to make sure the house is in order. There is no denying having a home that is being shown on a regular basis is a PAIN IN THE BUTT! Trying to constantly keep it clean, having to leave the house on short notice…ugh!  But remember, it’s temporary and the better job you do at prepping the house to show well, the less people will be making appointments because your house will already be sold!

If you have pets, plan to bring them with you when possible.  If not possible, caged dogs or pets kept in a closed area is better than a free roaming animal.  I have dogs and I love dogs, but I’ve also been bitten by one deemed “friendly” when showing a home, so let’s avoid that altogether!

Remember, there are 100’s of finite details that go into selling a property efficiently. You mustn’t know them all, but having trust in your agent to guide you through the process is important. Cheers to a successful sale at top dollar!!

Jon Knutson Realtor

Jon Knutson, REALTOR®

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