Dated: August 6 2020

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Buying a home for the first time is daunting, but there are thousands of resources available to you at the time. Unfortunately, the same can’t always be said about selling your first home. It can be just as stressful, sometimes more complicated, and definitely has more regulations you need to follow. Because buyers are usually looking for homes that pass certain government guidelines in order to adhere to their loan requirements (like FHA or USDA loans, for example), you need to be prepared to accommodate them.

Here are some easy to follow tips to get you started on the road to selling your home.

Get a Real Estate Agent

Your real estate agent is about to become your best friend. It’s likely that you will be in constant communication with them for the months leading up to the sale of your home. Agents are trained, experienced professionals that can lead you through this process one step at a time and, hopefully, decrease the stress involved by taking on many of the tasks themselves.

For example, real estate agents have access to tools and resources that help them to market and sell your home. They can more easily provide professional looking photos, reach a wider audience, and get the attention of the right buyer. Plus, they know the hurdles and legalities that may hinder the process and are able to negotiate on your behalf.

Get a Pre-Inspection

While your agent will be able to tour your home and let you know which problems they see should be addressed immediately, it’s also a good idea to schedule a pre-inspection. This, just like the inspection required during the homebuying process, will involve a professional going through every nook and cranny of your home to determine what repairs, updates, and other fixes need to be made before you can sell your home.

This can cost between $300-500, but is the best way to ensure your home will sell quickly once it’s put on the market. If the buyer’s inspector can’t find an issue, the process will not have to be halted (or worse, cancelled entirely) so you can fix leaky plumbing or peeling paint. Issues that did not seem like a big deal to you may look differently to a buyer whose loan program requires the home to meet certain standards and conditions.

Some things an inspector will look for:

  • Frayed wiring
  • Missing or damaged electrical fixtures
  • Peeling or chipped paint
  • An unvented dryer
  • Handrails missing from staircases
  • Damaged flooring
  • Mold residue
  • Missing gutters and downspouts
  • Damaged or missing roof shingles
  • Loose siding
  • Cracked foundation

Make Small Updates

Outside of the issues found during the pre-inspection, which are necessary to fix if you want to sell your home at a comparable cost with your neighbors, you can also make updates which cost little but make a big impact.

You can spend a ton on money on popular home improvements like replacing your roof (average of $8,000), remodeling your kitchen (average of $20,000), or building a deck (average of $4,000) which will all net you a decent return on your investment. However, there are plenty of quick and inexpensive things you can do, too, which will all help increase the value of your home.

  • Repaint in neutral colors.
  • Replace damaged baseboards.
  • Remove outdated wallpaper.
  • Power wash the siding.
  • Upgrade window blinds.
  • Install a smart lock, doorbell, or thermostat.
  • Paint your front door.
  • Install light dimmers.

Increase Your Curb Appeal

The first thing buyers will see when they come to tour your home is your front yard. It’s important to make it look its best! Your home’s exterior can set the tone for the inside, and it is the key to resale value. Fortunately, you don’t have to spend a small fortune to give your outdoor space a breath of fresh air. There are quite a few budget-friendly ways to take your home to the next level.

Give your front door a makeover. Why stick with a boring neutral shade? A bright and bold door color provides a nice contrast with a conservative color on the siding.

Add a wreath. A wreath is great for every season! It can be just the ticket to creating a welcoming environment. Whether you choose an evergreen one, or change the design with the seasons, such a piece is sure to make a statement.

Update your mailbox. Your mailbox can be more than just a boring, functional structure in front of your house. Take a look at some of these ideas on personalizing yours!

Light up your lawn. If you already have a porch light, consider swapping out the hardware for something more modern. Be sure to clean off all cobwebs and debris from around your outdoor light fixtures to make your home look more inviting and maintained.

Add some plants. Whether you visit a nursery and purchase flowers to plant at the front of your house or whether you buy potted plants for your porch, you can’t go wrong with adding a little greenery and color to the front of your house.

Declutter and Depersonalize

As a last step before putting your home on the market, make sure to declutter your home and remove as many traces of you as you can. Cluttered spaces are a turn-off to buyers. Often, a home that looks too “lived-in” can alienate buyers because they are unable to imagine their own belongings in the space.

Additionally, having very unique paint colors on your wall or family pictures at every turn also make it difficult to sell your home. Painting walls in neutral colors will help immensely, and you can get started on packing by boxing up family photos and kids’ artwork on the fridge.

This is all the first step to staging your home which will include a deep-cleaning spree and the rearrangement of some furniture. If you need help deciding what should stay and what should go, ask a friend or your real estate agent for their opinions.


The market is always changing and fluctuation. Keep an eye on the market to know when the right time to sell is. Your real estate agent can help you! You will want to try and wait for a seller’s market where buyers are willing to spend more than they want for their new homes.

Following the market will also help you to set a listing price for your home based on the demand for houses in your area. Your real estate agent can help you set a price that you are happy with.

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Jenetta Miller Wallace

Buying or selling a home is one of the single biggest investments you will ever make. As a real estate professional, Jenetta is dedicated to protecting your family's best interest and ensuring you mak....

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