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Save Yourself The Headaches: 10 Steps to Selling Your Home

Apr 1, 2008
Selling your home may be the most daunting project that you'll ever undertake! But did you know that these 10 steps to selling your home can add thousands of dollars to the selling price and save you headaches in the long run? You should have a checklist of things to do in preparation for selling your home-from the time you make that all important decision to the moment you sign your name on the dotted line. Here's a ten step plan that will help selling your home go more smoothly.

Step One: Have Your Home Formally Inspected and Appraised By a Professional

Any Realtor will tell you that the key to selling your home is to offer it at the right price, and the best way to come up with that price is to get a professional to tell you what your house is worth. An initial home inspection will also help you determine what, if any, problems you will need to repair before your house is marketable.

Step Two: Readjust Your Thinking

The moment you decide to sell, you need to stop looking at your home as YOUR home. In other words, you'll need to put aside your sentiments and emotions and see your home as a house - a piece of merchandise that you're preparing for sale. Take a brutal, honest look at your home, inside and out, and make a note of anything that is less than perfect.

Step Three: Make Repairs and Improvements

The number one rule of thumb in doing work on your house is: improve when you buy, repair when you sell. In most cases, you won't come anywhere near recovering the cost of any major improvements that you make just before you sell. This is the time to take care of those repairs that you've put off, such as fixing broken roof tiles, repairing gutters and trim, or taking care of that loose hinge that makes the shutter on the bedroom window hang crooked.

Step Four: Take Care of the Cosmetics

This is also the time to consider repainting, inside and out. You'll get the biggest return on your investment on cosmetic improvements - a new paint job, new carpeting, or new landscaping.

Step Five: Decide If You're Going to Sell Your Home Yourself, Or Hire a Realtor

There are definite pros and cons to either option. In general, if you need a quick sale, or if you don't have the time to put into marketing your home yourself, a Realtor will likely be your best option. Realtors have the expertise to market your home to the right buyers, and the time to do it right. If, on the other hand, you have time to sell, or want to save the commission fee that you'd pay a Realtor, there are many options available to the sell-it-yourselfer.

Step Six: Do Some Market Research

Whether you're selling your home on your own or contracting with a Realtor or real estate agent to sell for you, you should do a bit of market research. The price you list your home for will be the single most important factor in how quickly it sells, or if it sells at all. Find out how much similar homes in your neighborhood have sold for in recent weeks, and adjust your expectations accordingly. Remember, even if your home has been appraised far above the prevailing community prices, pricing it according to the appraisal rather than the neighborhood is a poor business decision. Buyers buy location as much as they do 'house'.

Step Seven: Set the Stage

Depersonalize your house. Put away all personal memorabilia. Take family photos off the walls and mantelpieces and tuck knick-knacks away out of sight. After you've put away all your personal accents, take a look around. If it's bare, perk things up with a few potted plants or 'neutral' accents. Remember, the more potential buyers can visualize the house as "theirs," the better chance you'll have for a sale.

Step Eight: Advertise Your House for Sale

If you've decided to sell on your own, you'll need to advertise. Get your house listed in local 'Home for Sale' magazines, place ads in the local newspaper, put up a sign on your lawn and at the end of the street, and put your home up on the web on a sell-your-own-home site.

Step Nine: Hold an Open House

Open houses are a great way to have your house seen by many people at once. Plan a weekend open house when you first put your house on the market, and make sure that the Realtors in your area are aware of it so that they can bring their buyers to see your house.

Step Ten: Have Inspections Done Beforehand So That You Will Have All the Paperwork On Hand

While some buyers will still insist on having their own inspections done, many will be grateful to be spared the expense and time. It's one more thing that can expedite the selling process once the offer is made.

It's not impossible to have smooth transaction throughout the process of selling your home-it only takes a little planning and organization!
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