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?
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.
Determine financing alternatives.
Contact lenders in your area to determine what the options are for your prospective buyer. You want to be informed before they ask, or your lack of knowledge may turn them off from dealing with you.
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:
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, are the leaves swept up? Are all toys put away such as bikes, scooters, etc.?
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?
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 when using an agency to sell.
Staging, professional photos/video, handyman work, and other preparation fees.
Title, Escrow, Notary and other professional fees.
Excise 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.
Establish a marketing plan
Create a plan on how to best reach prospective buyers, both local and out-of-town. Since many people do relocate from a distance, I will be sure to include internet advertising and my network.
Write the text and/or design your ad
Our marketing department will custom-designed ad in the paper and/or to use as flyers to hand out at open houses (or anywhere else you might meet prospective buyers). A professional, well-crafted ad can attract buyers while a poorly designed and executed one can turn buyers off to your property.
Install a “for sale” sign
The sign must be placed where it can clearly be seen from the street.
Prepare a fact sheet
Design a single sheet description of your property listing the features and benefits that will draw in prospective buyers. This should be attractive and professional looking. Have enough copies on hand to give out at open house showings. Again, if you are working with an agent, he or she will most likely do this on your behalf.
Set up a schedule of open houses
While most are held on the weekend, this is not convenient for all buyers so we will be hosting broker tours during the week.
Keep a list of prospective buyers
As people come through during open houses, or as they call from reading our ads or seeing the sign out front, I keep a list with their names and phone numbers to make follow up telephone calls to all those who seem seriously interested in your property.
Get our documents in order
A number of documents are required for the legal sale of your property. In addition to the contract of purchase and any counteroffers, there are approximately 20 other forms that the seller is required to provide to the buyer. It is necessary to review the contract carefully to determine when these forms/documents are due and what the buyer’s rights are once they receive the document. The form and content of many of these documents are prescribed by state or federal law and must be adhered to in their entirety.
Once we have an offer, it’s time to negotiate
Leave your emotions behind when we enter negotiations. We never want to get angry or give away the fact that you’re overly eager.
Negotiate final terms of the sale
Buyer(s) need to come to an agreement (in writing) regarding the following:
Date of closing
Date of possession
When both the buyer(s) and a witness can be present, 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.
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 simultaneously 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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