There is a lot to selling a home. Of course, this time of year, the “fervor” of the summer selling season has waned a bit. While the market is still rumbling along, it is important to have a solid strategy and a reputable, local real estate professional in your corner.

Along with that, there are a few little tidbits that we have picked up that I’d love to share today. For the seasoned sellers, some of these will be “old hat” but there’s always something we can pick up, regardless of how long we have been “in the biz.” According to a report from Zillow, over half of today’s sellers are selling for the first time. So, let’s get started.

First, and honestly the most critical (and unfortunately common) mistake sellers make is putting any (and I mean ANY) stock in the online estimates found. Regardless of what online aggregator you prefer, they are all equally inaccurate when it comes to putting a true valuation on your home. At no point was there a real estate professional driving around your neighborhood doing research on comparable homes. They have no idea of the renovations you have done (or not done) nor do they (in ANY way) have an inkling of knowledge about the local real estate market.

We have seen the scenario play out countless times and we read about it happening all across the country. The sellers look up their “Zestimate” and, honestly, at no fault of their own, believe what they see. They then burn through a handful of agents because no experienced agent is willing to take the listing on at that price.

Remember, experienced, professional real estate agents are in the business of SELLING homes, not just listing them. Once the home sits on the market for a few weeks or months, the sellers reconsider their asking price and now they have lost that initial posting excitement in the market. Do yourself a favor and talk to a professional from the beginning. Some random, huge corporation all the way across the country is most certainly not looking out for your best interests.

Speaking of awesome real estate agents, some are awesomer than others. I have been through the process of obtaining a real estate license in two different states. It is a series of classes that you take to learn all the ins and outs of the real estate business. Then you go through this “wringer” of a test and walk away (hopefully) with a huge smile on your face. That’s when the real work begins.

A few years ago, any real estate agent could walk out their door and simply trip and fall into selling a home. The market was white-hot and listings were getting loads of competing offers. Once the market came back down to earth, most of those agents blew away like autumn leaves. What were left behind are the agents who have been working on their knowledge both of the real estate business and the local market. The surviving and thriving agents are the ones who continue to build their network of connections. Those truly awesome agents are working every day to ensure they can provide the best service to you regardless of which side of the deal you are on.

When you are considering selling your home, do a bit of homework to find your agent. There is truly no substitute for personal referrals. That is something that none of us can buy.

“In this business, one of the most valuable things we have is our reputation,” said Badger Realty agent Kathleen Sullivan Head.

Ask your friends, family and neighbors who they used and get some details on their experience with that agent. There really IS a difference and you can enjoy the fruits of your research when you get to experience that agent’s awesomeness as well.

Our final note for today has to do with repairs and replacing appliances. There is a fairly logical mindset with repairs and appliances that the buyers will appreciate the ability to purchase their own appliances so you can just provide a “credit” for them during the purchase. The reality is that this doesn’t ring true. If you have purchased a home, you can likely recall the thought, planning and overall stress that goes into this significant change in your life. The last thing you want to be dealing with along with everything else is replacing your stove and fridge. On top of that, before even getting to the closing table, it will be far more attractive to show your home including the all-new, energy-efficient appliances that are in place.

Selling a home is a big step and an exciting time for you and your family. It represents new beginnings and a myriad of new experiences, friends, schools, work, etc. I strongly encourage you to hitch your trailer to a local, experienced real estate professional that will have your best interests in mind. Do a bit of homework. Talk to your circle of friends and get some referrals before you start. You'll be glad you did!

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