Pre-Listing Tips for Sellers

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Real Estate


When helping someone sell their home, you might find that they’re surprised at how quickly expenses add up. Painting, fixing up, and moving all create costs that can feel daunting during an already stressful time – not to mention the costs that can accrue once under contract. One of the best ways to ease this financial burden is helping your clients to keep savings on their mind from the outset; deliberate planning can help them save thousands.

Consider touching on the topics below during initial conversations with sellers or in your pre-listing presentation in order to drive home the fact that you’re looking out for their best interests:

Get Paperwork in Order

Not only does this help your clients stay organized, it also makes your life much easier. Make sure your clients are fully prepared to sell their house before taking that first listing photo. Homeowner association documentation, property surveys, property tax bills, and appliance warranties can all be difficult to obtain under ideal circumstances. When they’re holding up a sale, it can be a much bigger headache.

Do your research before listing a property – make sure to inform the sellers of all the documentation they may need; mortgage and financing paperwork, records of home improvements made, etc.; to provide and point them in the right direction to get started. This is one of the biggest values of hiring a real estate agent to help sell your home. A checklist of requisite documentation and a directory of numbers can go a long way in helping sellers to stay on top of their paperwork and avoid costly fees or penalties down the road.

Find Upgrades with Good ROIs – Avoid All Others

While this may cost money upfront, certain home projects are almost guaranteed to increase a home’s value. Others may be necessary to sell the home at any sort of competitive price: after all, no one cares about new granite countertops if the roof is leaking. To save the most money, update and replace features instead of fully renovating.

Learn your sellers’ house and be willing to make suggestions for quick, easy improvements

If they’re not under a time crunch to move, a few home improvement projects can have a significant impact on how much they can list it for. Focus on “first impression” upgrades – the things that will impact a buyer’s initial impression of the home. This includes the front yard, front door, and wall paint. All of these offer great opportunities for quick, relatively easy upgrades. You can also think outside the box to provide neighborhood-specific updates like new attic insulation or backyard safety upgrades.

Keep in mind that most home improvements don’t often offer a huge ROI

According to Remodeling magazine, only a handful of upgrades will earn you more than 75 percent of what you put into them. Don’t let that discourage sellers, however; especially when a single upgrade can make the difference when selling a home. Work with your clients to help them find projects that will add real value to their listing – installing heated floors in a $150,000 property probably doesn’t make sense. In general, bathrooms and basements offer the worst ROI for home remodeling projects.


If sellers can work on these upgrades themselves, it will give them an even bigger ROI. As long as these projects are in your client’s skillset, they will only require the cost of materials. This is an excellent way to insert some late-stage sweat equity into a property. Some great DIY projects that help sell homes are easy – think painting or new sod – while others require a bit more labor.

If your clients don’t feel comfortable taking up improvements on their own, encourage them to find contractors to reduce costs.

Check Emotions at the Door

It’s incredibly easy to get attached to a house, so it’s no surprise that selling one can get emotional. Make sure to help your sellers stay calm and rational throughout the process by providing everything they need to make an informed decision.

Your clients may lean toward a higher listing price because that’s what they believe the home is worth, but that can really cost them down the road. A listing price that’s well beyond the value of the home can scare away potential buyers during the important first few weeks of a listing. What’s more, the longer a home stays on the market, the less likely it is to sell, which means your client may have to repeatedly lower their asking price below what they could have actually sold the home for. An emotional seller can cause more issues for themselves beyond the listing price, so make sure they are approaching this as a business transaction and not as the sale of a loved one.

People should not feel like they’re bleeding money when selling their home. Help your clients approach selling their home with an organized plan and you can help them stay within budget and they just might think of you when they sell their next home.