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How to List and Sell Your Home

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If you're moving, chances are you probably want to sell your old home. The moving process can be very costly even before including the cost of your new home. To make everything affordable, you want to sell your old home as quickly as possible and for the best price. The way you list and present your home will determine just how many good offers you get.

Find the right price

The first step in selling your home is determining a reasonable price to ask for it. You can start by acting like a buyer and searching for sellers of similar homes in your area. Remember to only compare your home to similarly sized homes that are either still on the market or only recently sold. Housing climates change with time so older sales can't help you get a very accurate feel for the price your home should be in the current market.

Examine the competition: 
Homes that are still on the market need to be considered, as well. There may be a reason why these homes haven't sold yet. Be sure to consider how long they've been on the market and if it has been months, the asking price for that home may be too high.

TIP: If you are going to list your home soon and your home is very similar to existing homes in your area that are still on the market, you will be in direct competition with them. If the home is stagnant with a high price you could easily undercut them. You don't need to go too much under though, since a stagnant home loses its desirability after a few weeks on the market.

Visit open houses: 
All this searching and comparing can be done online or in person by visiting local open houses. Open houses will also be very good to use as a point of reference for how the competition is presenting their homes.

Calculate a good asking price: Besides comparing your home to other homes, you can come up with a price using an online home price calculator. You simply need to enter in some of the specs of your house and it should come up with a ballpark figure for your asking price. You may want to choose a lower price because an overpriced home will never sell. An underpriced home, however, could get multiple bidders and that can raise the price to something more in line with what you want for the house.

Hire an agent

Usually, it pays to hire a real estate agent to help sell your home. These experts know how and where to list your home and can do the salesperson things that you may not be comfortable with doing. You could attempt to avoid paying an agent's commision by selling your home on your own, but that takes quite a bit of extra work on your part, and if you could end up getting yourself a bad deal.

Not every agent is good, however, you should consider several agents before hiring one and consult customer reviews. Here are some things to ask prospective agents:
  • What homes have you sold recently in this area?
  • What is your marketing strategy for my home?
  • What do you charge?
  • How quickly have your last five homes sold?

List your home

There are a variety of websites that are good places to list your home. Consult your agent for the best ones in your area. Zillow may be the hottest real estate website right, now so that should be at the top of your list. Be sure to include all the relevant information about your home in any online profile and include a lot of flattering pictures, (of your home, not yourself) as well.

TIP: Professional photographers may be worth hiring. Professionally photographed homes have been known to sell faster and for higher prices than homes photographed by amateurs.

Online listings get to the widest audience, so they are the most important, but you may want to contact local newspapers and list with them as well. Newspapers are the traditional place for home listings and some older buyers or luddites may only be looking there for home listings. You want to cast as wide a net of potential buyers as possible and older buyers do tend to have more money.

Prepare your home for an open house

Now that you know what to charge for your home and how to market it, you need to show off the product. Here are some keys to holding a good open house:
  • Don't be present at the showing, let the agent be the host
  • Clean your home completely, no dirt and no clutter
  • Don't remodel or renovate your home. It is rarely worth the expense
  • Landscape, repair, and wash the exterior - that is your home's first impression
  • Remove any personal or possibly controversial items from your home. You want buyers to picture themselves living there
  • Have things furnished with new looking furniture, but also try to emphasize open space
  • Have your agent take note of feedback and adjust the house accordingly
The first week on the market is when most offers come to a home, so you need to be sure your first impression is a good one. Using feedback, adjust anything that seems wrong as soon as possible.

Beyond adjustments, once your home is listed and the open houses are ongoing, there is nothing you can do but wait. If you hired a good agent, they can take care of trying to sell the home while you focus on moving in to your new home.

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on August 4, 2014 - Moving Expert
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