A Seller's Checklist

So you've decided it's time to sell your home. This is a big process to jump into and there is a lot involved. Print out this handy checklist to be sure you do not miss a valuable and important step.

Make sure you know why you want to sell and set goals based on your objectives. There are many different reasons for selling a house. Some people sell because of job opportunities, some to be closer to their families, some because they are ready for an upgrade and others sell simply because the market is ripe for selling. Your reasons for selling will determine what is most important to you when setting a price and accepting an offer.

Establish a fair asking price for your house. Your broker will help you finalize the best asking price for your house but it is wise to have a general idea of your home's current value before the final decision to sell is made. Important elements to look at when pricing your home are: location, local schools, average home prices in your area, supply and demand in your area, market conditions, possible problems and extras that are special to your home.

Identify potential problems. Think about what you might have problems with if you were looking to buy your house. If there are repairs that will need to be made, be armed with the knowledge of what it will cost to make those repairs. If a particular room looks awkward, come armed with suggestions as to how you utilized the space to its potential. Again, your real estate agent will help you with these things but you know your home best and could catch things he or she may overlook.

Get your house in tip-top shape for showing. Manicure your home inside and out. Remember that first impressions mean everything. Make sure the lawn looks good and the paint job is in good condition. Put a wreath on the door or set planters on the front steps - anything inviting to give potential buyers a good feeling from the get-go. Inside, your house should be very tidy and clean. Extra furniture and children's toys scattered around make the home appear smaller and also make people viewing it less comfortable. If it is spring or summer, open the windows to show off a breeze and give your house that fresh smell. If it is winter, light a fire and bake an apple pie or simmer cinnamon sticks in water. Attempt to please the senses of everyone who views your home. Remember, there's more to a purchase decision than the floor plan and price. The feeling you get when you walk into "the one" is a very powerful thing!

Hire a broker. Ask friends for recommendations and interview a few in your area. Make sure the broker you hire has a good track record and is someone you are comfortable with and can trust.

Obtain legal representation. While an attorney is not as important at the beginning of a process, start searching for someone you would like to use and have him or her ready for when things start moving forward quickly.

Seek financial help. You will most likely be shocked on the taxes you will pay when you close your home and the money you dole out to everyone who helped along the way (broker, lawyer, etc.). Make sure you understand what money will end up in the bank when all is said and done.

This should give you a good start and the professionals you hire will help you with the rest of the details. Once you make the decision to buy, start looking for a new home as well. It may take a while to sell your own home but you don't want to end up on the street, either. Lastly, keep on eye on the goal sheet you made and your objectives. Emotions and new situations can cloud your judgment and you want to be sure that in the end you acheived what you set out to do.

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