Post details: How to Sell Your Home

02/17/05

Permalink 08:58:52 am, Categories: Articles, 635 words   English (US)

How to Sell Your Home


To sell your home, you'll need more than ads and signs. You need a strategy for attracting the best buyer to your home.

By Owner or Broker

Once you've made the decision to sell your home, you'll need to decide if you want to try to sell it yourself with some legal help, or list it with a real estate broker. If you choose a broker, you'll be asked to sign a listing agreement, which is one of several types of contracts in which you hire a real estate firm to find a ready, willing, and able buyer for your home in exchange for a set fee.

Three types of listing agreements

- With an exclusive right-to-sell agreement, the seller pays a fee regardless of who produces the buyer. This fee covers many important services that the real estate agent performs beyond finding a qualified buyer.
- If the seller finds a buyer, he or she is not obligated to pay the fee in an exclusive-agency listing. If the real estate agent finds a buyer, then a fee is paid to the real estate company.
- An open listing is one in which you sign with several real estate firms and give each authority to sell your home. It is typically less effective than an exclusive listing because the real estate agent lacks the incentive to make an all-out effort to sell your home.

Note: Your home could also be included in a multiple listing service (MLS) as part of an exclusive listing. MLS gives your home greater exposure in the marketplace.

Starting with the Facts

Before the yard sign goes up, you and your real estate agent, if you are using one, will need to gather some facts to attract the best buyer. Buyers want to know details; having the answers is a powerful sales tool. Here is the information you need to collect:

- The legal description of the property.
- The number of rooms and their sizes.
- A list of things not attached to the house that you're offering for sale, such as window treatments, carpet, fixtures, swing sets, etc.
- Past utility bills, property taxes, and insurance.
- Information about your mortgage, including the type, terms, and assumability.
- Financing assistance, potentially through your own lender.
- Any liens against the property.
- If you live in a condominium or townhouse, you'll need copies of the association's declaration, bylaws, financial statement, monthly fees, and special assessments.
- Special items or improvements about the house. (Point out things that may not be apparent on a walk-through.)
- The positive points about your neighborhood, such as demographic information and proximity to services, shopping, schools, and other areas.
- Any defects that aren't apparent. (You should inform your real estate agent about defects so a buyer can be informed.)

Pricing and Merchandising

- Don't base your asking price simply on what you paid for the home. You may be asking too little or too much.
- Determine how much time you have in which to sell your home. If you must sell quickly, will you take a lower price? If you have some flexibility, you may choose a slightly higher price.
- If you are working with one, ask your real estate agent for information on recent sales of comparable homes in your area.
- Hire an appraiser to give you his or her opinion of the market value.
- Don't price your home too high as a means of making more profit. You will lose a large pool of eligible buyers who won't even look at your home because they can't afford the price. Likewise, you'll disappoint those buyers who can find more house for their money elsewhere.
- The value of your home is based on the buyer's perception of that value, rather than the amount you originally paid for the house.

Better Homes and Gardens

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