The Home Selling Process for Beginners

Selling your home may be a big task, and choosing to sell your home yourself is definitely a daunting decision. But with some key information and basic knowledge of the process, you can set yourself up for success and a great experience. Here are some points to focus on as you prepare to list your home and represent yourself.

The personal side

Two months before listing, there are a few tasks you should complete. These include:

  • Evaluating your finances and budget
  • Add up transaction costs and remaining equity
  • Collect all key documentation, including title, survey, mortgage, and insurance

You should also consider the following questions to help you plan the next stages of your home sale:

  • Just how urgent is your need to sell your home?
  • Is a career or other change prompting this relocation?
  • Is your move tied to a school year, medical concerns, or other financial pressures?

All of these points tie in to determining your listing price. The more urgent your need to sell fast, the lower you will want to set the price to get hits early. However, if you have time to spare, you can wait for an ideal offer and price your home a little higher. But no matter your personal wishes for your listing price, you will still want to price competitively with current trends for your neighborhood.

The physical side

Two months before listing your home, you should:

  • Evaluate the condition of your property
  • Fix obvious problems
  • Begin thinking about upgrades to improve equity

Especially if you want to sell quickly, your home needs to be move-in or nearly move-in ready. Try to set aside your personal likes and dislikes, and view your home with a critical buyers’ eye. You may also want to get an outspoken friend to come over and give you an honest opinion. There are three types of problems you should be looking for:

Cosmetic problems

These can usually be fixed or neutralized at minimal cost. Grimy walls can be scrubbed down and painted. Torn carpet can (and should) be replaced, but sometimes it’s even better to remove all the carpet to the underlying hardwood and refinish it for more equity. Torn window screens and crooked lighting fixtures must all be fixed.

Functional repairs and upgrades

Ruthlessly examine the condition of your appliances, plumbing, electrical, heating, air conditioning, roof, and other structural elements of your home. By repairing or replacing these potential negatives, you take away that reason for a buyer to reject your home. Your house will also appeal to cash-strapped buyers who worry about potential surprise costs right after they move in.

Problems you can’t fix

The location of your home is something you can’t change, and the same can be said for your neighbors, school district, noise and traffic, and many other factors. While you can’t fix these, you can take these factors into account when pricing your home, to make it that much more appealing to potential buyers. There are some things you have to report to buyers, like seepage in the basement—that’s state law, for the most part. But you can also get a home warranty, which will provide peace of mind to home buyers, as this will cover the cost of repair or replacement for some major home systems.

This covers much of the early preparation work needed to sell your home yourself, however there’s still a bit more to discuss. Check in April for the continuation of this blog post!

9 Tips to Increase Valuation During The Appraisal Process

An appraisal is an important part of selling your home. It is an evaluation of your home’s monetary value by a licensed industry professional. The appraisal provides documentation to all interested parties that your home is worth the price it’s listed for. There are some factors that can affect the appraisal, and there are some ways to get the most for your money.


Your home should be neat, free of clutter, and have some serious curb appeal. Landscaping will add value, but too much landscaping will look overdone and diminish your home’s value. If your home is painted, there should be no peeling, fading, or graying. Siding will add to your home’s worth; even if your home is already painted, it might be a good idea to install siding. If your home is already fitted with siding, make sure it is very clean and in excellent repair.


The interior of your home should be tidy, organized, and clean for the appraisal. Pet and smoke odors will negatively impact the appraisal, so take steps to eliminate these odors right away and thoroughly. If there are any special features of your home that you want the appraiser to consider, make sure you can easily access those areas.

Remodeling and Upkeep

Updating certain areas and features of your home can increase your home’s value. The kitchen and bathrooms are focal points for appraisers, so updating the cabinets, sinks, and fixtures can improve the appeal. Repainting rooms that are peeling or faded, and cleaning or repairing wallpaper will also improve the value. Finishing the basement is another great choice. If you have begun any improvements or repairs, make sure they are all complete before the appraisal.

Some appliances will aid you in the appraisal. If you have a luxury bath, like a hot tub or spa, make sure the fixtures are clean and in working order before the appraisal. Central air conditioning units are included in the inspection as well, so change the features and clear away any debris.


Something that not everyone knows is that the appraisal of your home is based on the condition and features of your home as they compare to the value and features of similar homes in your area. Adding features that are excessive or unusual for the area can actually diminish your appraisal value. Bedroom walls painted in bright neon colors or large, ornate garden statues in a smaller yard are not good choices in a moderately-priced suburban area. Permanent pools can also lower appraisal value due to the expected maintenance required by the new owners.

To recap:

You basically want your home to look its best when the appraiser arrives, and you want to have an idea of the things you want to point out to the appraiser beforehand. Don’t leave projects unfinished, and don’t plan any huge improvements that eat up money and don’t add a lot of value. Remember that your neighbors’ homes will provide a comparison basis that the appraiser will consider, and that your home is not existing in a bubble. Put on a smile, and be assured that the worst is nearly over. You’ll be on to bigger and better things soon.