Rules to Follow When Selling

  1. Hire a good agent. A professional who knows your neighborhood and has a good track record in your community will go a long way in helping to find a buyer.
  2. Clean out the clutter. Open spaces look best. Clean and clean some more to make a good first impression.
  3. Spiff up the property. Make any improvements that will improve the show of your home. When possible, stick with the simpler (and less expensive) options to be sure the buying price covers your investment.
  4. Determine the worth. Know the market value of your home. Your REALTOR® can help you assess the cost. You may also want to have the home appraised.
  5. Price it right. A REALTOR® can help you objectively set the price so that it reflects the value of your home and the trends of the surround community.
  6. Come up with a plan. Are you set on your price, or eager to move? How low are you willing to go to settlement?
  7. Get pre-approved for your next move. If you’re looking to buy another house, make sure you know your financial situation.
  8. Figure out your selling costs. Commission, ad costs, attorney fees, taxes and prorated costs may all come into play. REALTORS® deal with transactions every day and can give you a very close estimate of seller closing costs.
  9. Set the stage. Clean the windows, open the curtains, turn on the lights, display fresh flowers. A bright house is a welcoming house.
  10. It’s show time. Be ready and willing to have your home shown any day, even with short notice. Making it difficult to see will also make it difficult to sell.

Five things to do before putting your home on the market

  1. Have a pre-sale home inspection. Be proactive by arranging for a pre-sale home inspection. An inspector will be able to give you a good indication of the trouble areas that will stand out to potential buyers, and you’ll be able to make repairs before open houses begin.
  2. Organize and clean. Pare down clutter and pack up your least-used items, such as large blenders and other kitchen tools, out-of-season clothes, toys, and exercise equipment. Store items off-site or in boxes neatly arranged in the garage or basement. Clean the windows, carpets, walls, lighting fixtures, and baseboards to make the house shine.
  3. Get replacement estimates. Do you have big-ticket items that are worn out or will need to be replaced soon, such your roof or carpeting? Get estimates on how much it would cost to replace them, even if you don’t plan to do it yourself. The figures will help buyers determine if they can afford the home, and will be handy when negotiations begin.
  4. Find your warranties. Gather up the warranties, guarantees, and user manuals for the furnace, washer and dryer, dishwasher, and any other items that will remain with the house.
  5. Spruce up the curb appeal. Pretend you’re a buyer and stand outside of your home. As you approach the front door, what is your impression of the property? Do the lawn and bushes look neatly manicured? Is the address clearly visible? Are pretty flowers or plants framing the entrance? Is the walkway free from cracks and impediments?

Portions of this article reprinted from REALTOR® Magazine Online by permission of the National Association of REALTORS®. Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.