What to expect when you sell your first home: A first-time seller’s experience

8 Aug 2023 The Lodge Real Estate Team

So, you’re ready to sell your first home – the place you’ve poured lots of love and energy in to and made some great memories along the way. But now it’s time to close a chapter, sell, and move up the property ladder.

Having successfully bought a home, it can’t be that different to sell your first home, right?

Host Jeremy O’Rourke was joined on the podcast by first home-seller Rosie Miller and Amanda Reilly, Lodge Real Estate Residential and Lifestyle Sales Consultant to discuss the ins and outs of selling your first home and some of the surprising things that can happen along the way.

First things first

Rosie, like many first home sellers, was ready to move into a bigger house, and was moving cities due to a job change.

Before approaching the listing process, Rosie got her ducks in a row first and spoke to a mortgage broker, Jordan at Total Mortgages, to work out what she could afford to borrow for her next home, and whether hanging on to her first home as a rental would be a viable option.

After discussions with Jordan, she decided not to hang on to the house and to focus her finances on buying in the more expensive Auckland market. So, Rosie would be buying and selling in the same market and set about working with Amanda to prepare her home for listing.

“First, we looked at the house itself, thinking about what they could do to sharpen the property to further appeal to buyers, and what they could afford to leave doing. Rosie and her husband Tom had already poured a lot of energy into some great renovations, so it was just a matter of tidying a few things up,” says Amanda.

Amanda says your agent can be a good, outside-looking gauge as to how a property can be modified slightly to appeal to buyers, and will typically recommend neutral colour schemes, decluttering, and keeping it clean and tidy so buyers can imagine themselves living there.

“We ended up doing a bit – replacing base boards, some interior painting, changing some lighting, and lots of cleaning and water blasting,” says Rosie.

The listing process

Rosie was up to speed with the property market and its movements over the previous months, and she worked with Amanda on the ideal bracket to price her house in.

“Rosie was conscious of wanting to get the most she could to buy her next house, but also didn’t want to come in too high and risk sitting on the market for too long,” says Amanda.

“After some discussion we landed at a good medium. As agents, we know from experience that if you price a property in the wrong range you can risk missing your buyers completely, and we know we came in right with Rosie’s property.”

Rosie says the listing and marketing process was straightforward, and they chose to focus marketing efforts on social media to reach their target audience effectively.

“We also went in knowing that if a sale didn’t happen quickly, we could adjust the marketing strategy and add more avenues in if we needed to. Thankfully it didn’t come to that though.”

Some surprises along the way

Rosie admits being surprised at the back and forth in negotiating offers.

“I obviously haven’t done a lot of negotiation before in terms of selling a house, but I was surprised at how often you could go back and forth with offers and counter offers. I found it a bit stressful, but we were motivated to sell and get the deal done and Amanda guided us right through it.”

Amanda says negotiations are all part and parcel of the buying and selling process.

“Agents are well used to it, and every sale is different. All sellers hope to get as much as they can, and every buyer hopes to pay as little as they can, and our job is to make sure we meet at a happy middle. My role is to keep negotiations going and keep closing the gap in small increments. Our role is critical in helping people feel comfortable in this situation.”

There were also some detailed stipulations on the conditional offer presented, and Rosie leaned on Amanda’s expertise in terms of what was appropriate to negotiate on, and what they could leave as-is.

Takeaway tips

Rosie’s tips from her first selling experience is to start the process as early as you possibly can, do your research to stay on top of the market and what it is doing week to week, and to lean on your agent to help the selling process go correctly and smoothly.

Amanda’s tip for sellers is to keep an eye on comparable properties nearby as potential buyers will be looking at those too, and to remember that a first home seller will almost always sell to a first home buyer, so in knowing that you can target your marketing efforts effectively.

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