Selling Guide

Quick Start Guide to Selling a Home

Selling a home is a major undertaking, one with emotional, financial, and practical implications. A little planning beforehand can yield some significant benefits once your home hits the market. Good planning can also help you maximize the sale price and reduce the stress of the selling process.

Here are 10 considerations to review before the marketing begins:

1. Research the Market It is important to understand what is happening in the marketplace in order to gauge your expectations and plan a realistic marketing campaign. Price in, marketing times, and buyer expectations all vary considerable with the state of the overall real estate market. Your agent operates in this market every day=make sure to tap this expertise to help you find the answers you need.

2. Be candid about your Needs A realistic assessment of your needs is crucial to a well-planned marketing campaign. If you are under pressure for a fast sale you may want to set a lower listing price or make some quick improvements to increase your home's appeal. Conversely, if you have more time you may want to test the market to see if you can obtain a higher price.

3. Understand the Financial Implications Consider the financial implications of a sale before placing your home on the market. Make sure to consider closing costs in your calculations when projecting the process you will realize from the sale. You'll also want to confirm that the sale meets the criteria for a tax exemption on capital gains (up to $250,000 for single taxpayers and $500,000 for married).

4. Communicate with your Agent It is never too early to establish strong communication with your agent. A good agent can help you with a number of decisions-determining market conditions, setting a listing price, identifying problem areas in your home. Make sure your agent is full apprised of your needs so his or her advice is tailored to your situation.

5. Be Aware of Disclosure Requirements Sellers are obligated to disclose to potential buyers any material knowledge of problems or defects. Since even the allegation of undisclosed defects can cause major problems later, it is worth spending some time reviewing areas that may b e considered deficient. It is not necessary to correct issues not affecting safety or code compliance; however it is essential to disclose these items in writing.

6. Consider Having a Home Inspection Home inspections are standard practice for buyers, but they can be a good idea for sellers as well. A pre-marketing inspection can help identify areas that may be worth improving before your home hits the market-items you will probably have to correct anyway prior to closing. A written inspection report also makes an excellent disclosure document to provide to buyers.

7. Evaluate Potential Repairs and Improvements It is now usually worthwhile for sellers to embark on major improvements prior to marketing a home. Few projects will result in full recouping costs through increased market value. Some improvements, however, can be worthwhile, including those that correct a major discrepancy that will seriously hinder your marketing efforts. Consult with you agent for some ideas.

8. Prepare your Home A thorough cleaning - inside and out - is a must before marketing begins. It is also worthwhile to consider other ways to make your home more appealing to buyers. Reduce clutter, pack away personal items, and make sure that major traffic avenues are clear and easy to navigate.

9. Be prepared for Marketing. It is important to be ready for the marketing process and all it entails. You will need to maintain your home for viewing on short notice. Selling can be hard on your sense of privacy and buyers can sometimes be very direct and critical. Try to remain focused on the marketing process. Ideally you should arrange to be out during showings. When circumstances dictate otherwise, try to be as inconspicuous as possible, leaving the buyers alone with their agent.

10. Don't Take it Personally. Buyers can sometimes be insulting with remarks about your home, and they sometimes make very low offers, hoping to get a bargain. Try not to react emotionally to these factors - your goal is to realize the highest price in the shortest time. Comments from obnoxious home shoppers or lowball offers from bargain hunters are to be expected, but don's let them get under your skin.