While, admittedly, selling your home isn’t something you do every day, it can be especially daunting when you’re doing it for the very first time.

Real estate transactions are a big deal at the best of times, let alone if you have no idea what to expect. With this in mind, understanding how the process works from a seller’s perspective can go a long way towards taking out a lot of unnecessary stress from the equation.

Here’s what you need to know.

Understand Your Market

Every market is unique, and what works in one area may be totally counterproductive in another. For this reason, you really need to understand your local market if you want to set yourself up for success.

In particular, you need to ensure you look at comparable homes that are located within your neighborhood’s limits. You’d be surprised at how much listing prices can differ, even within the same block.

You should also be aware of any particular trends in your area. Ask yourself:

Is it a seller’s market or a buyer’s market?

What kind of buyers does the area appeal to?

During which time of the year are most sales closed?

The answers to these questions will affect how you choose to position your home on the market. It’s a good idea to speak to a reputable real estate agent that is familiar with your area, as their guidance and expertise can be invaluable (more on this later).

Know The Costs

Selling your home isn’t as simple as agreeing on a price, signing the paperwork and raking in the Benjamins.

As a seller, you’re expected to take care of your share of closing costs. While some of these costs may be up for negotiation, others aren’t. These include tax stamps, property taxes and attorney’s fees.

It’s important to have at least a rough estimate of these costs ahead of time, so you can factor them into your sale price. Otherwise, you may actually end up out of pocket, which isn’t what you’re going for here.

Showcase Your Home In The Best Possible Light

Of course, making your home look its best is super important. Not only do you need to make sure it’s spotless, you should also look it over carefully for visible signs of disrepair.

At the risk of stating the obvious, most buyers are looking for the biggest bang for their buck (read: a home that needs as little work as possible). A broken window or a nick on one of the kitchen cabinets might not seem like a big deal to you, but a prospective buyer may be put off.

For one, they may not be particularly handy, which means they’d need to go through the hassle of getting a professional to make the repairs. Even worse, they might start to worry that you don’t take care of your home; and that there might be more serious issues that aren’t immediately visible.

You should also make an effort to depersonalize your home as much as possible.

It’s a good idea to repaint your rooms in neutral colors; and to remove personal photos and items that are particularly quirky. This helps your home appeal to as many people as possible. It also makes it easier for people to picture themselves living there, as opposed to feeling like intruders in someone else’s space.

Be Prepared

An often overlooked aspect of selling your home is your game-plan for when the sale actually goes through.

While you may think you have lots of time to consider your options, a sale might go through much sooner than you’d think. When this happens, you’ll need to move out as quickly as possible.

Moving is stressful and time-consuming, so it’s never too early to start preparing. The sooner you find new accommodation and start packing your things, the better it is both for you and the buyer.

Pick The Right Real Estate Agent

While, in theory, it’s possible to sell your home without hiring a real estate agent, this is usually a bad idea. From pricing your home correctly, to holding viewings and handling the intricacies of negotiating and closing a sale, there’s a lot that can go wrong if you have no idea what you’re doing.

The right real estate agent knows your market, which means they can guide you in the right direction. They’ll also oversee the finer details of your listing and make sure it’s all as it should be, which makes for a smoother experience.

Don’t gamble with the sale of your home. Get a professional to help you out.

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