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Can I save money by selling my home myself?
Initially the idea of not having to pay a commission to an agent may be tempting to some sellers. However, any prospective do-it-yourselfers should also be aware of exactly what’s involved in selling a home and make sure they have what it takes to follow through with every step. The majority of home owners choose to let a professional real estate agent handle all the legwork and paperwork for them—as well as any potential problems that may arise in even the seemingly simplest of transactions. In addition, by listing with a Realtor, home owners have access to the Multiple Listing Service, the marketing tool that accounts for the vast majority of home sales. Even if sellers choose to go it alone, they should still talk with a Realtor they know and trust. Many professionals will still offer to help with paperwork and marketing for home owners handling their own sales. This way, if something unexpected does happen, the seller has already built a relationship with a professional who is ready to help.
What do I need to do to prepare my home for sale?
Selling your home involves more than simply putting a sign in the front yard. To maximize your home’s appeal to potential buyers, you may need to be willing to make some minor cosmetic changes or repair major problems. Ask your Realtor for a complete list of cleaning and makeover strategies, as well as other details which can add to the curb appeal and ultimately may make your home worthy of a higher price.
What if there’s something wrong with my home? Do I have to tell the buyer?
It is always in the seller’s best interest to disclose everything regarding the state of the property. In most cases it is illegal not to disclose. In many areas laws have been established to hold the seller accountable for home defects even if the seller wasn’t aware of the problem. Sellers should consider going above and beyond the law’s requirements for home inspections and disclosure. This will make buyers more comfortable about buying your home and, in some cases, even paying more for it.
How can I tell a good offer from a bad one?
Each seller should know in advance what his or her “bottom line” is, what contingencies or terms would be acceptable and what would not. In addition, the seller should find out whether the buyer has been pre-approved for financing—something most real estate agents will quickly determine right from the start—before seriously considering any offer. Beyond that, each offer should be reviewed for a deposit, the price offered, the down payment, the terms involved, occupancy details and any contingencies. Any offers should be reviewed in private with the seller’s agent. This way, the home owner and the agent can openly discuss how well this offer matches the seller’s goals and what should be included or deleted from any counteroffer that may be necessary.
I cannot impress upon you how important it is to have representation when selling your home.