Selling Your Own Home

Working with an experienced real estate agent can save you a lot of time and energy.  This process includes a lot of work!  It is best to use someone that is fully committed to selling your property, has access to a wide variety of resources, knows the market and is focused on getting the highest price possible for the sale of your property in the current market.

The following is a checklist to help walk you through the process:

Know your property. If you are not already, become familiar with such facts about your property as property taxes, zoning, lot size, square footage, etc. Look at the terms of your existing loan.

Research the current market and property laws in your area. How much are properties similar to yours selling for? What are the terms of the sales? What property disclosure laws do you need to take into consideration?  Your agent is there to help with this information and answer any questions that may arise.

Set the price. Once you know the specifics about your home and have checked out what similar properties in your area are selling for, set a realistic price.  Your agent will be able to discuss the best price for your home in the current market!

Determine financing alternatives. Discuss with your agent the options buyers for you home will be looking into and the types of financing that will be available for them.

Perform a "walk-through" of your property. Look at it from the perspective of both the prospective buyer and the inspector. Take notes on all items that need to be repaired or replaced. Things to consider include:

Outside:

  • From the street, is the house appealing? This is called "curb appeal".
  • Does it need a new coat of paint (either because the old paint is obviously cracked or faded, or because of an uncommon choice in color that might turn off prospective buyers)?
  • If a house with a yard, is the lawn and landscaping attractive and well-kept?
  • If it is a condo, you can't do much about the building, but is the front door (and balcony, if there is one) appealing?
  • Are the windows and doors attractive and in good condition?
  • Are the roof (and the gutters) in good condition?
  • Is the grass nicely cut, are the hedges trimmed, and are the leaves swept up? Are all toys put away such as bikes, scooters, etc.?

Inside:

  • Are the interior paints and finishes in good condition (recently updated), or do they need to be freshened up? This is one area with the best ratio of least expensive to most desired. For a minimal investment, you could possibly make or break a sale by having your home look well-kept and inviting.
  • Are the appliances in good working order and of recent vintage?
  • Are the plumbing and electrical systems in good condition? Are they fully functional?
  • Are the carpets or other floor coverings clean and in good condition? Like the paint, are they attractive and well-kept? Floor coverings are worth paying for so that your home makes a good impression.
  • Are the sealants (sink, shower, tub, windows) in good condition?
  • Are all light fixtures working properly, and is there good lighting in each room so that prospective buyers won't think you're hiding something?

**Make all repairs noted in your inspection.

Know your neighborhood. Most prospective buyers will want to know about the local schools, shopping, parks, transportation, etc. Be prepared so you can knowledgeably answer their questions.

Establish a marketing budget. How much are you willing to spend to sell your house?

  • Real estate commission – which will include advertising/marketing expenses. 
  • Transfer tax for the sale.
  • Prorated costs for your share of annual expenses, such as property taxes, home owner association fees, and fuel tank rentals.
  • Any other fees typically paid by the seller in your area (surveys, inspections, etc.).
  • Real estate agents deal with transactions every day and can give you a very close estimate of seller closing costs.

Investigate the real estate sections of local newspapers and other publications. What will get you the most "bang for your buck?"  In the local paper(s), is it better (in your area) to run a text-only classified, or do they have "photo boxes" where you can run both text and a photo of your property?  Look to your agent for advice for the best forms of exposure and advertising of your home for your market.

Marketing Plan-  Your agent will discuss a marketing plan that includes everything you should need for proper exposure to make sure  your home is advertised in the best light possible.  We work hard to get as many qualified buyers through your home to get it sold!  Look to your agent to go over the details of their marketing plan!

Clear your schedule.  Your agent will take care of showings and open houses on your behalf.  It is best to allow agents to show your home on their own so that the prospective buyer does not feel uncomfortable or pressured.  Make sure to try your best to accommodate all appointments that your agent tries to set.  The more buyers that see your home, the more likely it is to sell!

Your agent will be there to help you stay on top of all activity in your home.  Once you have a buyer that makes on offer there will be paperwork to go over.  Your agent is there to make sure you are protected and have a good understanding of the agreement you are about to accept. 

Here are some of the final terms of the sale that your agent will be negotiating on your behalf.

  • Price
  • Inspection contingencies
  • Financing terms
  • Date of closing
  • Date of possession 

Final walk-through. When both the buyer(s) and their agent, schedule a final walk-through before you complete settlement in order to determine that the property being conveyed meets the expectations of all parties involved. Resolve any disputes before the transfer of title.

Find and make arrangements for the home you will be moving to. Unless you have already built or bought a new residence, you'll need to be the "buyer" for a new property while simultan eously being the "seller" for your current one. If possible, schedule both transactions to close at the same time, or else close your purchase shortly before closing your sale. You need to be moved out before the new owners take possession.

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