6 steps on
how to sell

decide

Define your needs. Write down all the reasons for selling your home. Ask yourself, "Why do I want to sell and what do I expect to accomplish with the sale?" For example, a growing family may prompt your need for a larger home, or a job opportunity in another city may necessitate a move. For your goals, write down if you'd like to sell your house within a certain time frame or make a particular profit margin. Work with your real estate agent to map out the best path to achieve your objectives and set a realistic time frame for the sale.

Schedule an in-home listing consultation

meet

Hire your Agent. The typical real estate transaction involves at least two dozen separate individuals insurance assessors, mortgage brokers and underwriters, inspectors, appraisers, escrow officers, buyer's agents, seller's agents, bankers, title researchers, and a number of other individuals whose actions and decisions have to be orchestrated in order to perform in harmony and get a home sale closed. It is the responsibility of your real estate agent to expertly coordinate all the professionals involved in your home purchase and to act as the advocate for you and your interests throughout.

prepare

Prepare your home. Most of us don't keep our homes in "showroom" condition. We tend to overlook piles of boxes in the garage, broken porch lights, and doors or windows that stick. It's time to break out of that owner's mindset and get your house in tiptop shape. The condition of your home will affect how quickly it sells and the price the buyer is willing to offer. First impressions are the most important. Your real estate agent can help you take a fresh look at your home and suggest ways to stage it and make it more appealing to buyers. A home with too much "personality" is harder to sell. Removing family photos, mementos and personalized decor will help buyers visualize the home as theirs. Make minor repairs and replacements. Small defects, such as a leaky faucet, a torn screen or a worn doormat, can ruin the buyer's first impression. Clutter is a big nono when showing your home to potential buyers. Make sure you have removed all knickknacks from your shelves and cleared all your bathroom and kitchen counters to make every area seem as spacious as possible.

Vendors to help you prepare

market

Get the word out. Now that you're ready to sell, your real estate agent will set up a marketing strategy specifically for your home. There are many ways to get the word out, including: The Internet, Yard signs, Open houses, Media advertising, Agent-to-agent referrals and Direct mail marketing campaigns. In addition to listing your home on the MLS, your agent will use a combination of these tactics to bring the most qualified buyers to your home. Your agent should structure the marketing plan so that the first few weeks are the busiest.

contract

Once you accept an offer to sell your house, you will need to make a list of all the things you and your buyer must do before closing. The property may need to be formally appraised, surveyed, inspected or repaired. Your real estate agent can spearhead the effort and serve as your advocate when dealing with the buyer's agent and service providers. Depending on the written contract, you may pay for all, some or none of these items. If each procedure returns acceptable results as defined by the contract, then the sale may continue. If there are problems with the home, the terms set forth in the contract will dictate your next step. You or the buyer may decide to walk away, open a new round of negotiations or proceed to closing. Important reminder: A few days before the closing, you will want to contact the entity that is closing the transaction and make sure the necessary documents will be ready to sign on the appropriate date. Also, begin to make arrangements for your upcoming move if you have not done so.

close

Close the deal. "Closing" refers to the meeting where ownership of the property is legally transferred to the buyer and funding occurs. Your agent will be present during the closing to guide you through the process and make sure everything goes as planned. By being present during the closing, he or she can mediate any last minute issues that may arise. Do not switch utilities off, simply switch them out of your name. Forward your mail to your new address. Gather owner's manuals, warranties, keys and remote controls for all conveying items.

Switch utilities