Real Estate Seller's Check list, refer to this handy list to get you
through the selling process.
1. GAUGE YOUR NEED TO SELL.
Define your goals for the next 5 -10 years.
Weigh the pros and cons of selling your house.
Figure out if you can afford to sell, move and buy
a new home.
Calculate your home equity.
Research the local housing market.
Consider remodeling the home to fit your needs.
Weigh the pros and cons of renting out your home.
2. CALCULATE YOUR SELLING EXPENSES.
List the repairs and projects you'll have to do to
get your home in selling condition and estimate the costs of hiring
supplies and contractors.
See what projects you can afford and
adjust how much you expect to get for selling your home.
To get top dollar, consider remodeling projects and
green upgrades that increase your home value.
Expect to pay about 7 percent to 10
percent of the home's sale price in closing costs, including real
estate agent commissions, transfer taxes and prorated property taxes.
And factor in these costs:
Professional home inspection.
Capital gains tax.
Mortgage payoff penalties.
Staging and marketing expenses.
Cost of living in new city or neighborhood.
Costs related to getting a mortgage for new home.
3. PLAN YOUR SELLING STRATEGY.
· Determine how fast you need to sell your
house and how much money you want to get from the sale.
· Interview at least three reputable real estate
brokers and list your home on the multiple listing service (MLS).
· Weigh the pros and cons of selling the home
· Learn how to go about selling your
· Consider a physical or online auction for
a quick sale in a slow market.
· Look into home-swapping opportunities online.
· Plan your sale during the spring or fall
peak homebuying seasons.
· If you go FSBO (For Sale By Owner), hire
a real estate agent or attorney.
· If you hire a listing agent, negotiate terms of
your listing contract, such as commissions and termination date.
· Determine your home's strengths and unique features
and promote them in all advertising.
4. DETERMINE YOUR HOME'S FAIR MARKET VALUE (FMV)
AND SET A PRICE.
· Research public records and collect information on
comps -- comparable homes in your area with similar square footage,
construction, age and condition that sold within the past six months and are
currently on the market.
· Browse listings for homes for sale in your area to
get a sense of what is on the market and current home prices.
· Ask your agent to prepare a Comparative Market
Analysis (CMA) report.
· Find out about new construction and foreclosures in
· Figure out the average cost per square foot for
your area, and make sure your home is in line with it.
· Evaluate market trends, including whether it's a
buyer's or seller's market.
· Use your FMV to determine your asking price.
Consider pricing strategies such as pricing low to urge a bidding war or Value
5. ADVERTISE AND MARKET THE HOME.
"For Sale" signs.
Classified sections of local newspapers.
Real estate publications
Put ads on free Web sites like craigslist.com.
Create your own Web site to promote your home.
Email notices or flyers about your home to real
estate agents, friends, family, coworkers, everyone.
Use photos to showcase your home. Hire a
professional real estate photographer or learn how to take great pictures
Use a handheld video camera to give online buyers a
virtual tour of your home, by walking through each room and talking about its
6. PREPARE AND STAGE THE HOME.
Have a yard sale. Sell, donate or trash everything
you don't need. Make necessary repairs.
Make improvements to increase your curb appeal,
i.e. the home's external attractiveness when viewed from the street.
Hire a professional home stager or research staging
Declutter, depersonalize and decorate every room
and outdoor areas so buyers can imagine themselves living in the home.
Paint interior rooms neutral colors.
Replace outdated lighting fixtures and window
7. SET UP SHOWINGS AND OPEN HOUSES.
Keep the home in show-ready condition at all times.
Take appointments or set up a lockbox so agents can
show the home when you're not available.
Hold an exclusive open house for local real estate
agents to introduce them to the home and get feedback. Include food and
Hold an open house for potential buyers. Advertise
in local publications and put up signage in the area.
8. REVIEW PURCHASE OFFERS.
For each offer, note the proposed offer price,
preapproval letter, contingencies, earnest money amount, proposed closing date
and offer expiry date.
Have a process in place if you expect to get
Keep emotions in check when receiving lowball
9. MAKE COUNTEROFFERS AND NEGOTIATE.
Approach each offer as an opportunity to negotiate.
If the buyer's offer is contingent on selling a
home, counter with a Removal of Sale Contingency.
If you won't budge on price, offer financial
incentives that don?t require cash out of your pocket, such as paying for part
or all of the buyer's closing costs, repairs found during the property
inspections or points.
Offer to include furniture, appliances, window treatments
or lighting fixtures.
If you're worried you won't be able to buy a home
after you sell, include a "rent back" clause which lets you rent back
your home from the buyers after escrow closes.
Make a full-price counteroffer, if your comps can
back it up.
Make the sale contingent on your buying a home.
Don't forget to set a closing date and move-in
If you find a serious buyer who is having trouble
qualifying for a mortgage, consider offering seller financing, a mortgage
assumption or a lease-to-own deal.
10. Get through escrow.
Create a formal plan for
handling home repairs, including when they should be made and who pays for
Clean and prepare the home for
the appraisal and home inspections.
Choose an escrow officer who
will order a title search, request payoff information for your mortgage and
other liens on the home, prepare and record documents, hold and disburse funds
and prepare closing statements.
Prepare for the final
Sign the closing documents and
move out of your home.
Keep copies of your documents
for reporting the sale on federal and state tax forms.