11 Popular Home Seller Questions - Answered.

By Home Bay

Posted on December 4th, 2015

You’ve got questions, we’ve got answers. Today, we’re going to tackle eleven of the most popular questions we get from homeowners considering selling their property. Let’s dive in!


  1. What steps should I take to prepare my home for sale?
    There are several things you need to prepare before you list your home. At a minumum, you should clean, de-clutter, stage, get high quality photos, prepare your listing description and determine a price. It may sound like a lot, but putting in time on the front end will save you a lot of time and stress in the long run. Use our handy listing preperation checklist for sellers to simplify the process!

  2. Is it expensive to sell your own home?
    It can be – but there are solutions available (like Home Bay’s comprehensive listing package) that offer seller services for pennies compared to the cost of an agent commission. If you decide to sell your own home, there are a number of different services you can use. Each one has varying costs (from $250 to 2% of your total home sale) and provides varying levels of service. If you’re considering selling on your own, check out this comparison of the three most popular For Sale By Owner services to learn about all your options.

  3. When is the best time to sell my home?
    You’re ready to sell, but it’s December. If you wait until summer, will you sell faster and for a better price? This is a tough question to answer because it really depends on the state of the real estate market as well as your location, the season, etc. etc. Generally speaking, spring and summer trend as the hottest times for real estate activity. However, that can change if you live in a highly seasonal area or a touristy location. If you’re not in a rush to sell, you can really list whenever you like. Take a look at this post on the eight things that impact how quickly your home will sell to get a better idea of the impact seasons can have. If you live in California, you can also request a free listed to sold time estimate.

  4. How do I figure out how much to list my home for?
    There are several steps you should take to determine a good list price for your home. First, you’ll want to do some research. Use online home valuation tools from Zillow and Redfin to get a jumping off point, then start looking through listings that match your home’s specs and location to see what similar homes are selling for in your area. You can also hire an appraiser to asses your home’s value for a few hundred dollars. For more detailed instructions, check out our pricing guide.

  5. Are online home value calculators accurate?
    Not really. They should never be your sole source of pricing intel. Also, some are more accurate than others. We tend to recommend Redfin’s home valuation tool over the other ones out there because it uses real data to calculate your price rather than computerized estimates. Other tools, like Zillow’s Zestimate tool, are consistently off by as much as 8%. These tools are great to give you a ballpark idea of value, but to accurately determine a fair sale price, you’ll want to put a little more time into researching.

  6. What’s the best strategy for pricing my home?
    It’s the classic Goldilocks scenario – you don’t want your home price to be too hot or too cold, you want it to be just right. So should you price low to leave room for bidding? Or should you price high to leave room for negotiations? In most cases, your best bet is to identify your home’s most realistic value (this will help) and price right around that point. A well priced home will typically sell quickly and will sell for at or very close to listing price, so you don’t need to leave wiggle room for negotiations or bidding wars.

  7. How much does it really cost to sell a home?
    There are a number fees associated with selling a home that are typically lumped into “closing costs.” But what are all the fees and how does it break down? This question requires a bit more detailed explanation, so we wrote an entire post on it. Learn about all the fees involved with selling your home here.

  8. What is a sale contingency?
    A contingency is a dependence on the fulfillment of a condition, which is to say, one thing must happen for another to follow. A sale contingency occurs when a potential buyer must sell their existing home before they are able to purchase their new home. Before you get to the point of considering offers, you may want to decide whether you’re willing to work with contingency buyers or not.

  9. Should I include appliances in my sale or leave them as negotiable?
    If you have older appliances that you don’t want to take with you, leave them for your buyers (or at least ask if they want them). The appliances aren’t worth much, and your buyers will appreciate having a functional move-in ready home. If you recently bought new appliances that you love, you can certainly take them with you. Just keep in mind that every kitchen and laundry room is different so what fits in your current home may not fit in your new one. If you’re on the fence and you have fairly modern appliances, consider using them as a negotiation tool to sweeten the deal for potential buyers.

  10. Are open houses necessary?
    In short, no. Real estate agents often use open houses to generate interest in a listing, but they also get the upside of connecting with lots of buyers, aka potential new clients. If you’re selling your own home, it’s perfectly acceptable to skip the production of an open house if it seems overwhelming. You can offer individual showings instead. Most buyers don’t find the house they ultimately buy at an open house anyway – and if they are really interested in your home, they’ll be happy to work with you to schedule a private tour.

Hopefully this post answered some of your most burning questions about selling your home. If there’s anything we missed, post it in the comments! We’re happy to help.

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Posted in Selling a House