First Time Selling a Home?

The process of selling a home can be an interesting one. It is full of ups and downs that can both excite and terrify in the same moment. If you are venturing into the market today to sell your first home, congratulations, this is a time that you will never forget. It is the time when you will learn the most about real estate in Idaho, and you will get up close and personal with the selling process. Since it is your first time, you will want to be prepared - you will want to prepare yourself and your home so you can get the most bang for your buck and so the process can go smoother and faster.

The two things that need to be prepared are you and the home. The following two sections explore both aspects to give you a better idea of what you can do to better your chances for a successful sale.


When it comes to self-preparation, there are several important things you need to know. First, you need to know what how the selling process works - what steps you take and when, you also need to hire an agent, and you will need to find out how much your home is really worth.

The home selling process goes a something like this:

- Hire an Agent

How to hire an agent will be explained later on, however, it is important that this is one of the first things you do when selling you home, because they can help you along the way with their years of experience.

- Preparing the Home for Sale

This will also be explored further later on, however, the fundamental idea is that you need to do all things that are needful to prepare your home for sale as soon as you can. When the preparations are not done early on or in a timely manner, the sale of the home will be long and drawn out, costing you valuable time and money.

- List the Home

When an agent 'lists' a home, it means that it is officially for sale. This means that pictures will be take of the home and, along with a small description of the home, will be posted onto the Intermountain Multiple Listing Service (commonly referred to as IMLS) which is a large collection of listings from around the area that allows for people to search for homes based on their specific criteria. Someone will then see your home is for sale and, if they like it, will schedule an appointment to see the home.

- The Home Will Be Shown

When people see your home on IMLS and want to see it, they will call you or your agent to schedule a time to stop by. You will not be able to present when they come so they can comfortably look around and express their feelings more openly. Now, since these calls can come up out of nowhere, it is important to keep your home relatively clean and show ready at all times.

- Offers Will Be Made

After your home is shown, eventually an offer will be made on it. You and your agent will discuss these offers and choose which one to accept.

- Open an Escrow Account The purpose of an escrow account is to be a third party that will mediate the sale of the home. The buyers can give the escrow account their money for the home but the escrow will hold on to that money until the seller completes their end of the bargain. (Sometimes there will be arrangements made that the seller will fix something on the home before the buyer will pay, so the escrow account will hold that money until that time).

- Schedule for an Appraiser and a Home Inspection

Appraisals and home inspections are two different things. The appraisal, for instance, is when a person comes and determines the true market value of your home. If the appraiser comes back and says the home is worth less than the agreed sale price, the buyer may do another offer to save money.

The home inspector, on the other hand, comes to make sure that the home is in good shape. He or she will check the foundation, the roof, and everything else to make sure it is in tip top shape. If they find anything majorly wrong with the home, it could cost you money, so it is worth it to have an appraiser come out before you have an offer made to make sure everything is in good standing.

- Close the Deal

This is the last part of the home selling process (aside from move out). This is where checks are signed and keys are transferred.

This list is not a comprehensive description of the selling process, it is just to give you a rough idea of what you are in for. If you want more information, talk to the agent that you hire and they will be able to help you out.

- Hire an Agent

Hiring an agent is a very big step and is one that should not be taken lightly. The agent you hire will drastically influence how your home sells. Since this is your first time selling your home, it is best to hire an agent that is experienced and can guide you through the ups and downs that were mentioned earlier.

The best way to pick an agent is to interview them. You are hiring them and should interview them like a normal job interview. Ask them about their sales stats from the last few years, what kind of experience they have in the area, and other questions like that. Their answers will help you to determine if they are the right fit for you.

- How Much is the Home Worth

There are many ways to determine the worth of a home. But aside from an official appraisal, none of them are definitive. It is advised to have an appraisal done before you list the home so there are no surprises when the buyer's appraiser goes to check out the home.

However, if you are simply curious as to the worth of your home, there are several methods that you can take advantage of. The first would be to look through the IMLS and a CMA of your area (ask your agent for a CMA). These will allow you to look at all the homes that are similar to yours and how much they sold for. The second method is to use the plethora of online estimators that are available. There are hundreds of free online estimators and to use them all you do is enter your address and it will do its calculations to figure the price. If you use these, however, use several of them and take the average as no one price will be completely accurate.

- Preparing the Home

Once you have done all of the self-preparation necessary, it is vital that you start preparing your home. The sooner your home is prepared, the sooner you can sell it. The most important things that need to be done to prepare a home are first, repairs, then decluttering, cleaning, and staging.

- Home Repairs

Repairs can either be a minor project or a massive one. Whatever your house needs, be sure that it is fixed as soon as possible. No one will want to buy a home if it is in need of repairs, so the more you have fixed before listing photos are taken and showings start happening the better.

- Decluttering

Decluttering can make or break the sale. If a home is full of clutter, then a potential buyer will not feel comfortable inside and will be less likely to put in an offer on the home. So, it is best to cut down the amount of stuff in your home by 1/2. This includes furniture, belongings, and so forth. Cut it in half. This will make the home feel more open and easy to maneuver. The belongings can be sold, prepacked, or just moved to a different location, it doesn't matter. All that matters is that the clutter is gone.

- Cleaning

Cleaning may seem simple, but it can be quite a bear to tackle. Aside from the usual cleaning that has to be done, all of the detailed cleaning needs to be done as well. Clean the walls, the window and sliding glass door tracks, under the stove and refrigerator, and so on. Make sure that it looks as clean as you can possibly get it. If necessary, hire a cleaning service (which are in abundance in the Boise area).

- Staging the Home

The last thing that needs to be done to prepare the home is the staging. Staging a home can be a delicate process, however, essentially, all you are doing is making it look as neutral and welcoming as possible. If it helps, picture your home as a model home or a hotel as these are always delicately staged to look as good as possible. If you need help, talk to your agent and they can give you some pointers.

Selling a home can be a long and arduous process, but with some preparation and the help of an experienced real estate agent (like those at the Hughes Group), it can be easier, more fun, and productive. Contact the Hughes Group today for more information!