Being a first time home seller in Spokane is an emotional, exciting experience. On the one hand, you love your home, and you cherish the memories you’ve made there. On the other, you’re ready to move on and open the door to a new home and a new chapter in your life.
However, the process can also be a bit confusing for a first-timer. Read on for answers to some of the biggest questions and a detailed guide of what to expect when selling your first home in Spokane.
Know What You Want
For your first home selling experience to go smoothly, you need to start with a very clear idea of what you want and need. Consider why exactly you’re moving: maybe you’ve decided to downsize, or you need to move for work or school. You should also think about your moving timeframe. And, on the financial side of things, you should set a budget for any pre-listing home improvements, determine the minimum sales price you’ll accept, and discuss your remaining mortgage balance with your current loan servicer.
Thinking about what you want upfront can help you make sure you’re selling for the right reasons, and prepare you for what may be a long and expensive process.
Do Your Research
Regardless of when you bought your home, the housing market will have changed by the time you’re ready to sell it. Before selling, research your local real estate market and determine whether you’re in a buyer’s market, meaning there are more homes for sale than there are buyers, or a seller’s market, which means the opposite.
If you have any flexibility in your timeline, your Realtor may recommend you wait for certain market conditions. For instance, listing your house on a weekend when most people are out of town on vacation (4th of July) may not be the best timing!. This gives you negotiating power and may also drive up prices.
Although markets vary based on your location, the best time to sell a home nationally is the beginning of May. Homes sold in this month tend to sell faster and for a higher price. While this is largely true for Spokane as well, there isn’t a “bad” time to sell your home! Every house is different! Maybe your house looks amazing in the fall and you want to showcase that when you list. If you have the flexibility, and your Realtor recommends it, it may be worth waiting!
Decide How You’ll Sell
Once you decide to be a first time home seller in Spokane, you’ll need to decide whether you’ll handle the process yourself or hire an agent.
Selling your home on your own is called “for sale by owner”, or FSBO. If you decide to sell this way, you should:
- Make sure you have enough time to get your home ready for listing and to market it across multiple channels
- Research recent similar sales in Spokane
- Use a lockbox, or keep flexible hours for showings
- Listen to constructive criticism from buyers and agents
If you choose to work with an agent, which may be a good idea as a first time home seller in Spokane, you should:
- Ask for referrals
- Interview every agent
- Be confident in negotiating your contract
- Listen to your agent’s advice (it’s what you hired them for!)
Make Home Improvements
When you decide to sell your home, you want potential buyers to love it at first sight, just like you did. This means making the home look as close to new as possible.
You can do so by:
- Having a pre-inspection done to avoid any surprises further along in the process.
- Adding some popular features like A/C or new countertops…
- Making a great first impression by spending some time sprucing up your front lawn or garden. This can include weeding, adding decorative plants, and power washing your driveway.
- Or, you can avoid additional expenses by selling the home as-is. There is a market for fixer-uppers, and this can help you save on upfront costs.
Pay Attention to Pricing
If you want your home to sell quickly, it’s important to price it accurately. You can do so by hiring an appraiser, researching recent comparable home sales in Spokane, and leaning on your real estate agent’s knowledge.
This may be the absolute most important part of the process! We see many people make the mistake of pricing their home too high. Buyers today are very savvy and, in most situations, will have walked through a good number of similar homes (and similarly priced homes) and, if yours is priced too high, they’ll know it right away!
If your home doesn’t get any offers and sits on the market for longer than other similar homes, all of your future, interested buyers will wonder, “what’s wrong with it, why hasn’t anyone else wanted it!” In most cases, pricing a home too high will lead to a much lower final purchase price than a home that was priced appropriately, to begin with.
Stage to Sell
In addition to repairs, staging is a great way to get your home looking its best. You can hire a professional, or you can go the DIY route. Regardless, it’s a good idea to declutter and to pack away kids’ and pets’ belongings. This both makes your home feel more spacious and helps potential buyers picture their family in the home.
When marketing your home, you’ll want to:
- Schedule showings, to give potential buyers a chance to look around and leave feedback,
- Write a listing description that highlights your home’s best qualities while steering clear of dense real estate jargon,
- Invest in high quality, professional photos of the home, and
- Advertise across multiple different channels to make sure your home gets found.
Keep a Close Eye on Closing
Unfortunately, difficulties can arise even after your home is under contract. These can include a low appraisal, which would mean the buyer’s loan wouldn’t cover the full amount, negative findings in a home inspection, or some kind of fallout in your buyer’s financing. Thinking ahead to potential issues like these can go a long way towards you’re first home selling process go smoothly. Be aware, and be prepared.
Make Move-Out Manageable
To make your move out process as smooth as possible, you’ll want to budget for a moving service and be prepared to move quickly. You need to be sure you can be out of the home by your closing date.
Coordinating the sale of your current home, the purchase of your new home, accommodating showings/inspections and other visits and making the move from your current home to your new home can be tricky and feel very overwhelming. Having a Realtor in your corner that has helped many other people in your situation can be a huge benefit. Don’t hesitate to look to them for guidance!
Close the Sale, Close the Door
Before you close the door on your old home for the last time, you’ll need to:
- Complete any agreed-upon repairs,
- Submit disclosures of any known defects with the home,
- Go over your closing costs to avoid sticker shock,
- Show up to your closing appointment and sign all necessary legal documents, and
- Hand over the keys.
Finally, at closing, the settlement agent will record the new deed to the home, pay your mortgage balance and closing costs, and make sure you get your profit.
By following this outline, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a successful first time home seller in Spokane. Want help navigating the process? Reach out today and let’s chat!