10 Tips for First Time Michigan Home Sellers

First time sellerThere are all kinds of articles on the web for first time buyers. Plenty of advice, including seminars, classes and such. But rarely do I hear someone talking about first time sellers and the questions they may have. Yes, first time sellers have been on the other side of the transaction once, but the needs of a seller are quite different from the needs of buyer.

If this is the first time you are selling a Michigan home, here are some things you may not know:

  1. Michigan property taxes are paid in advance, so you will receive a credit back from the buyers at close for the property taxes you have pre-paid. Who doesn’t like getting money back?
  2. Chances are that you did not pay your buyer’s agent a commission when you bought your home. It was paid by the seller. In Michigan, the sales commission is traditionally paid by the seller and is most often paid at close to your listing brokerage. They, in turn, pay your agent and the the buyer’s broker who pays the buyer’s agent. So that commission is actually split four ways in the end.
  3. Interview a few agents. The best listing agent is not necessarily the best buyer’s agent. Look for a good marketing plan first and foremost. Take a look at Dear Mr. & Mrs. Seller, here is what you need to do and Help! I can’t find your agent for some thoughts on what you should be looking for in a listing agent. If you need a referral for a listing agent anywhere across the US, let us know.
  4. The seller traditionally pays the transfer tax, which is calculated at $8.60 per thousand dollars. For example, on a $250,000 sale the transfer tax would be 250 x $8.60 for a total of $2,150.
  5. The seller also pays for title insurance, which protects the seller against claims against the title that might be made after the sale. The cost of the title insurance varies based upon the sale price of the home. If you provide your previous title insurance, you are likely to receive a discount.
  6. In a strong market, where real estate is appreciating, it is challenging to recoup the expenses associated with selling in the first few years after a purchase.
  7. Michigan law requires you to provide a purchaser with the following documents: a seller’s disclosure and a lead based paint disclosure.
  8. There are a number of things you can do to help you get maximum value for a home. A few that come to mind include: make sure it “shows” as well as possible, price it correctly for market conditions, make sure you have an agent who can offer you maximal market exposure and make showings as convenient for buyers as possible.
  9. You can use a home warranty during the listing period, if your agent places one on your home, should the stove or microwave suddenly go out. We’ve discussed that more thoroughly in Is a home warranty warranted?
  10. Today, selling a Michigan home takes a little patience and a strong team effort between the seller and the listing agent. Houses are selling every day. Position yours to be the best in its class and you will be rewarded.

You will find no shortage of our thoughts on selling a home in Seller Information. Our Dear Mr. & Mrs. Seller series contains some of our best advice and commentary on selling a home.

[tags]selling a michigan home, first time home seller, sell michigan home, first time michigan home seller[/tags]


  1. Brian says

    A very well timed post. We just listed our became first time sellers as our ‘starter’ house went on the market last week. A follow-up question if you will… We’ve priced our house at the lower quartile of the comparable inventory currently on the market. In the week it’s been on the market, we have a had no showings, very little foot traffic and have no way to tell how many people are looking at our MLS listing. As a seller (besides lowering the price even more) what things can we do to drive additional traffic? Our agent states that their research shows that Open Houses aren’t as effective as they have been in the past, but is willing to do one after it has been on the market a while. What about a Virtual Tour? Anything else that would help?

  2. says


    You agent should be able to tell you how often the home is being viewed by other agents in the MLS. At least they can if they are using our MLS, which is Realcomp.

    I am a strong believer that virtual tours and multiple photos are KEY to a successful listing. We also use multiple web sites. I think, especially for starter homes, buyers are doing a huge percentage of their searching on the web, so I cannot overemphasize the importance of web marketing. I can actually tell how often the virtual tour and web sites are viewed (and how people arrive there) and I use this information to improve our web marketing.

    Good luck with selling your home, Brian. I hope this helps.


  3. Ashley says

    Very helpful post – actually a lot of those tips looks like they work nationwide really. Looking forward to perusing your blog if you’ve got more helpful information.

    Too often real estate agents use their blogs to just highlight their listings (which is a good idea) but you need to include useful information for visitors too! Nice to see some still do that!

    I work for a national company that provides marketing solutions and real estate leads for agents – so I’m constantly trying to educate agents on marketing themselves online who just don’t want to hear it. How come we never get agents like you, who know how to use their website to their advantage. Oh right, b/c if you already know that, you PROBABLY don’t need much in the way of internet marketing solutions.

    Keep up the great blogging.

  4. says

    I’m surprised at how high the transfer tax is.. in Los Angeles it is $4.40 which is high to our way of thinking as it’s just $1.10 here in the beach cities..Of course our prices are a lot higher also..

  5. says

    Great idea Maureen! I love the way you present this and it is in a lot of ways a nationwide list.

    Have a wonderful day and congrats on becoming a L.T.

  6. says

    I agree with these points but make sure the Realtor is a Realtor, has a strategy for getting your home sold and search around on the internet and check out the agent’s reputation or ask around.

    Just my opinion

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