First Time Selling A House?

Text by Lisa Cavanaugh

Experienced Coldwell Banker Realtor Poppy Troupe has some pointers for you!


Q: It would be impossible for any home owner not to notice that house prices are going up. Should we list our house to take advantage of the hot market?

PT:  Right now, many first-time sellers want to list their home because the market is so strong. But their biggest worry is not having a place to go if their home sells quickly. As a real estate agent, it is important to have options for your sellers ready to go—an exit strategy. I know furnished rentals and storage facilities throughout the area, as well as movers that can help at a moment’s notice. It really is about making everyone feel comfortable with the process; selling a home is a giant life change.

Q: How do I even start with listing my house or looking for my first home?

PT: What benefits first-time sellers is to employ a full-service real estate professional. It’s a big process moving out of a home you might have lived in for decades. I have a rolodex of estate companies, clean out services, waste management companies and professional movers available at a moment’s notice. An experienced home seller has been through this process before. With all my clients, I will hold their hand as much as needed through the entire process of investigating comparable sales in their local market, preparing a house for sale, showings and ultimately the closing table. A first-time seller could get overwhelmed, especially in the current climate where multiple offers arrive quickly and are the norm. A skilled real estate agent will help them navigate the terms of these offers to choose the deal that is most beneficial to them.

Q: With this market, my house should sell quickly, right?

PT:  If a property is priced appropriately based on the market, it should sell immediately. If it doesn’t, there’s a disconnect. As a rule of thumb in today’s market, if you price just under demand, you’re likely to get well above what you’re asking.

Q: With that kind of activity, I’m guessing I don’t need to do much to my property to get it to move.

PT: Right now, nothing is staying on the market, so some agents have become more relaxed with how they stage or present a property. I feel this is a disservice to sellers, because even in this strong a market, they’re not going to get the same amount of money compared to a house that is beautifully staged.  One of the reasons sellers hire me is for my expertise in staging. When I started my real estate career in Boston, my very first listing was a condo on Columbus Ave. The owner had passed away, and the home needed a lot of work. Before I put the listing on the market, I went in and retiled the bathroom floor and brought in odds and ends from my own house to furnish the condo for photos and showings. It made such a big impact on the presentation that I realized I found myself a niche. Fast forward to today, and I have storage units and half a basement full of staging items, such as full living room sets, mirrors, lamps, bedding, etc… I put so much time and energy into staging because it absolutely makes a difference in how fast a home sells and for how much. ..sometimes other agents, when they enter one of my listings, will say “this looks like a Poppy House”, which is very flattering.

Keep in mind that move-in-ready homes are in high demand among many buyers! So, in addition to staging, a fresh coat of paint is an absolute must for most homes. Other options that are quick and not overly expensive are a thorough cleaning, replacing damaged fixtures and re-carpeting, all of which can breathe fresh life into a house. Also, I focus heavily on visual marketing, tailored to the needs of each property: hiring a professional photographer and videographer, producing virtual Matterport tours and hosting video walk-throughs.

Q: Speaking of walk-throughs, are they safe to do in terms of social distancing and Covid?

PT: It’s completely understandable that many homeowners today are concerned about their safety due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s important to find a real estate agent you can count on to put your safety and the safety of your visitors first when selling your property. We have a full game plan in place, which includes set times for showings (during which residents can plan to be elsewhere) with limited intervals and visitors. It’s important to understand and respect the comfort level of each individual seller.

Q: Do you like working with first time sellers?

PT: I love it! My favorite part about working with a first-time home seller is seeing the satisfaction on their face with the transformation of their home when it becomes ready for photos and video. It’s super-satisfying. My biggest value is helping them through that process and making them feel completely taken care of.

Poppy Troupe has been selling real estate for over seventeen years, fifteen of them with Coldwell Banker. She began her real estate career in Boston and has been working on the South Shore since 2005, where she is currently based in her hometown Coldwell Banker office in Norwell, and was the number one agent in Norwell, and a Top 3 South Shore Agent in 2018.


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