Slide background

Learn from the first-hand experiences of others.

Slide background

Learn from the first-hand experiences of others.

Slide background

Learn from the first-hand experiences of others.

Slide background

Learn from the first-hand experiences of others.


people found Scott's experience helpful.

Did you?

“Hi, it’s Scott. Sorry for calling so late, but I need to cancel our appointment for tomorrow morning – my wife’s water just broke.”

It was 8:30 p.m., and my wife and I were headed to the hospital to have our first child. A week later our stager would get back in touch with me and let me know how excited that she had made it to the list of people to call when we had our baby.

My wife and I had recently graduated from school and were getting ready for our first child. We had a specific date when we would be moving across the country, and we had only about a month to sell our home.

Two weeks after that night we spent in the hospital awaiting our newborn, our appointment with our stager was rescheduled. She came over to help us with staging, and, on her way out, put a “Coming Soon” sign in our front yard.

Within two hours, we received a phone call and had a buyer. Our house was sold, and it hadn’t even gone on the market.

Our Research Paid Off

Knowing we had a narrow four-week window in which to sell our home, I spent hours researching real estate agents and pricing our home. While we lived in a fairly desirable neighborhood, the neighborhood alone did not price and sell the house. I am convinced that our home sold in two hours because I had done my homework. The hours of research had paid off.

As the end of school approached and people knew we would be selling our house and moving, many friends recommended real estate agents. I had already made the mistake of using a realtor suggested by a friend, though. When we bought our home initially, we went with someone who came highly recommended. She neglected to follow through on a repair that cost $1,500. Ultimately, she took the money out of her commission, but the mistake was an ordeal that I didn’t want to deal with again.

This time, I sought out recommendations from real estate investors. I didn’t know them, but I knew they bought and sold homes regularly. “They must be pleased with their agents,” I figured.

After amassing a list of recommendations from investors, I interviewed four realtors. Each one came to my home, shook my hand and had a beautiful presentation. If I were a fourth-grade teacher, each realtor would have gotten an “A.” I was not a teacher, though. I wanted someone who could sell my home, not the person with the most congenial personality.

As each realtor went through their presentation, I focused on their marketing strategy. The one I ultimately went with did not have the most aggressive strategy, but she had the most detailed plan. She had explained the entire process step-by-step.

After signing a contract with her, she and I spent hours going over comps and pricing our home. We looked at an identical home that just sold. We considered the sales in the past three, six, and 12 months in the neighborhood. We considered who would purchase a home on my block, and how much they would have to spend on a home. We looked up the tax appraisals. We considered all the other homes currently on the market in my ZIP code.

After considering all the angles, we settled on an asking price of $119,900. The offer we would receive was $119,000. I think we nailed the market value of the house perfectly.

We Shouldn’t Have Waited

Selling our home in a month with a newborn could have been a nightmare. It has gone perfectly, though. I don’t have many regrets about the process, but there is one thing I would change if I had to do this again.

The sign our stager put in our yard was the first step in our realtor’s marketing plan. It was a basic “For Sale” sign that simply read “Coming Soon” instead of “For Sale.”

The next time I sell a home, I will put a sign like this out sooner, perhaps even before I have a realtor. I wanted to wait until we were ready to list the house and had prepared for showings. In the end, none of that mattered. It’s not like the sign read, “Coming Soon for $119,000.” There’s no reason why I couldn’t have put that sign out while still doing research. Perhaps it would have sold before we went to the hospital.

Research Is Key

In school, I learned how important research is. A well-researched paper is easier to write than a poorly conceived one. It turns out that the same is true when selling a home. Take your time to find the best realtor and really study your home. I’m sure glad I did, and I doubt you will regret the investment.

Read More Selling a Home Stories

see all stories in this category