10 Critical Things to Understand Before Selling a Home

Selling a home is a serious commitment. It can (and will) be stressful and exciting and annoying and fun – all wrapped up into one experience. One of the keys to selling your house is a knowledgeable and reputable real estate agent who can help make the entire process easier for you. But, in order for that seller/agent relationship to operate at its fullest potential, there are a number of things you should be aware of upfront. Read through this list of 10 critical things to understand before selling your house.

Less is more.

If you’re already planning on moving, take a more minimalist approach to furnishing and decorating your home. You want potential buyers to be able to envision their own belongings filling the place up without struggling to see-through your clutter. Remove any unnecessary furniture, and limit the number of pictures and personal belongings that are visible during showings. Your entire house doesn’t need to be spick-and-span from top to bottom, but making a conscious effort to maintain a ‘less is more’ mindset will help buyers create a stronger connection with the home, and it also goes a long way for making pictures of your property look more appealing online.

Be an open book!

It is beyond important that you’re 100% honest and upfront with your listing agent. They need to know about any and all issues with the house, faulty features, relevant history about the property, and flaws that could eventually throw a wrench in your smooth-sailing, selling process. If you did your homework choosing a great agent, they’ll fight tirelessly in your corner to help you get the most out of your selling experience. They’re the expert – so be an open book and put it all out there.

Take feedback like a champ.

There can be tons of emotion wrapped up in selling a home, which makes it unbelievably easy to take advice or criticism to heart. It’s so much easier said than done, but do your best to detach yourself from the home be prepared to take feedback you may not necessarily want to hear. This goes for your home appraisals, inspections, timeline of events, and priority renovations. Remember, your agent is fighting to help you.

Make sure your paperwork is in order.

Organization and preparation can go a long way in the home-selling process! Making sure your paperwork is in order is sooooo important, and unfortunately, often overlooked. The paperwork necessary to sell at home includes things like the deed, mortgage satisfaction letter, tax bills, and any relevant permits, but your listing agent can help guide you through all of this. All of this information and preparation isn’t only important for the business end of things, it’ll be helpful information for your agent to effectively communicate the value of your home.

Increasing remodeling spend doesn’t always increase home value.

This one can be hard since it’s easy to expect the end-value of our homes to increase with the more renovations and hard work we put into it. However, that’s often not the case. When you’re trying to sell a home, it’s crucial you focus on the right renovations. These are often small reno’s with low costs, and projects like replacing burned-out light bulbs, painting the front door, and replacing the old, hard-to-see house numbers with fresh, attractive lettering can often pack humongous value for the cost. It can be easy for homeowners to overlook minor details like that when they’ve been living among them without issue. Take a step back and take a holistic approach to home remodeling and renovations that focuses on bringing maximum value to potential buyers without breaking the bank.

Don’t take your asking price personal.

Each agent has their own strategy for accurately pricing a home, and it’s difficult to determine which is right or wrong since real estate and the housing market are so dynamic and situational. Just like with taking feedback like a champ, don’t take your asking price personal. It’s tough to see that home around the corner sell for $20,000 more than your asking price when you know deep down inside that your house is way cooler. Your listing agent should have their finger on the pulse of your local housing market to be able to accurately price your house to sell. Just remember, open communication with your agent goes a long way.

CLEAN before scheduled showings. Pretty please.

You’d think this would go without saying…nope. We get it: you’re still living there, it’s hard scheduling your life around showings, you don’t have extra space to store everything yet, but set yourself up for success by doing what you can to clean up prior to scheduled showings. Focus your effort on the kitchen and bathrooms, because whether house-hunters admit it or not, they’re observing, and they’re judging. Be sure to wipe down the splattered bacon grease and pasta sauce decorating your stove-top like an abstract Picasso, vacuum and dust (don’t forget the cobwebs in the corners), hide private toiletries and close the toilet seats, and a lightly scented air freshener never hurt anyone. Details matter!

Patience is a virtue – now more than ever.

Every homeowner lists their house with the anticipation that buyers will swarm them with outbidding offers, but that isn’t always the case. Like we said up top, selling a home is a commitment. It’s a process – and it can be a lengthy one. Here in Upstate New York, our local real estate market in the Capital Region and Southern Adirondacks can depend heavily on the season, and sellers listing homes in the colder months need to be patient and remain positive that the right buyer will come along at the right time. Trust the process!

Have you seen our latest Real Estate Market Update video for the Greater Albany & Southern Adirondack regions? Watch it here.


Be a team player. Help your real estate agent help you.

Selling a home is a team effort between you and your real estate agent. It’s their job to drive awareness around your listing and attract quality buyers, but that works most effectively when you’re also upholding your end of the bargain. In today’s real estate market, sellers need to be flexible and accommodating of buyers’ schedules, as well as be able to maintain a presentable home for last-minute showings. Cooperation and communication make it easier for your agent to help you have a smooth selling experience.

Partner with the right agent.

All 9 of the tips before this one lead up to this final point. You can understate the importance of teaming up with an agent with a proven track record of selling homes in your area, and who can truly help guide you through the process. All real estate agents aren’t created equally, and you should do some homework when deciding who to work with. Make some calls, ask questions, build relationships, and keep this experience as stress-free and seamless as possible.


Here at CMK & Associates, our team of area experts are leaders in the Upstate New York real estate market. We operate out of 6 offices spread throughout the Greater Albany and Southern Adirondack regions and have a knack for helping homeowners sell their homes with confidence.

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