Selling a Home

Find tips on how to sell your home for first-time sellers

Moving up from your family's starter home to your next house is an exciting proposition, but it comes with a lot of questions as well. Should you work with a real estate agent? What is a home appraisal? What are your legal responsibilities? It requires balancing several large tasks at once, including finding a new home, planning a move, possibly finding new schools for the kids, preparing your home for the market and negotiating a sale.

Selling a home with a real estate agent

Your first decision in selling a home should probably be whether you're going to rely on a real estate agent to help sell the house or whether you plan on handling that yourself. Some people are comfortable serving as their own sales agents, but you should know it's a complicated process, which makes a compelling argument for handing it over to a professional.

Real estate agents are experienced, not only in the process of selling a home, but also in understanding the area. This can help make your selling process simpler. Professional real estate agents also have access to multiple listings, which you may not as an individual seller. They will host open houses for you and handle a lot of the complicated paperwork. Most real estate agents work on commission, and you'll typically pay at least three percent of the sale price for their services.

How to sell your home yourself

Should you choose to sell your home yourself, here are a few important things to consider:

  • How will you pre-qualify potential buyers?
  • Who will you retain to advise you on the legal matters surrounding the transaction's closing?
  • Where will you get your recent market information, so you'll know the right price to ask?
  • How will you get the word out that your house is for sale? Is the 'For Sale by Owner' sign on your front lawn enough?

What first-time home sellers should know about contingencies

One important aspect of selling a home, whether you're managing it alone or working with a real estate agent, is understanding contingencies. Contingencies are any elements in the initial contract that may restrict the sale of the home.

A common contingency is that a buyer makes an offer on your home which is conditional on the sale of his or her home. This prevents him or her from owning two homes at once. In a seller's market, this 'once my home sells I'll buy yours' contingency doesn't usually hold water because you could get better offers. However, in a buyer's market, the buyer has more leverage, so this type of contingency may be more acceptable.

An offer could also be contingent on the buyer getting appropriate financing, the home meeting a certain appraisal value (usually the agreed upon sale price), or the home passing a home inspection. Contingencies could lead to some renegotiations in which you as the seller might have to decide if it's worth fixing something the buyer dislikes or if it's worth holding out for a better offer with fewer contingencies. As a first-time home seller, be sure to be aware of any contingencies in the contract and what's required of you if any of them take effect.

Finance your new home with a mortgage from Citizens Bank

If you're a first-time home seller, it might be a good idea to work with a real estate agent who can provide you with knowledge and experience. However, if you want to go it alone, be sure you understand your responsibilities as a seller and any legal processes you'll have to manage. When you're ready to buy a new home, work with a Citizens Bank home loan advisor by calling 1-888-514-2300 to apply for a mortgage.


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