Real Estate Selling Tips
Pricing your home
If you are ready to sell your house, you'll have to decide what price you're going to ask for your home. This is a very difficult decision to make. Almost all buyers select by comparing different homes. It's important to have a fair market price on your home so it will sell. A Realtor can assist you in determining a top-dollar price for your home. While maintaining a fair market price.

The following are things you should consider when pricing your home:
How old is the home, and what kind of condition is it in?
Does it need updating?
What improvements have you made to the home, and the property?
How much have similar homes in your area sold for?
Has the value of the home increased or decreased?
Are there a lot of homes for sale in your area?

Take into consideration that your home is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it. By working with a Realtor your property will receive the needed exposure to attract qualified buyers.

Appearance is everything.
Before you put your home on the market, it’s important to have it looking it’s best. Prospective buyers will take a close at your home, to see what it has to offer.

Some simple things that you can do to make your home more marketable are:
Keep the exterior clean by painting trim, washing windows, and spraying down the entire exterior.
Keep up on yard work, trim hedges and bushes, weed and keep the lawn trimmed, edge sidewalks and drive ways. You may want to bring some color into the yard by planting flowers.
Inside you'll want to present a cozy and homey feeling.
Try to lighten up the darker rooms and corners, keep windows clean and shades open to allow sunlight into rooms.
Adding a fresh coat of paint to rooms will make them feel clean and new.
Putting away clutter will give your home an open feeling.
Make sure there are no "stale" odors in the home. Especially in remote areas such as the basement or attic.
On the day of your open house, you may want to consider baking some cookies or bringing in some fragrant fresh flowers. This will add a cheery and pleasant scent to your home. Little things like this might help you sell your home a bit faster.

Using marketing to sell your home:
When selling your home, you generally have to bring your home to the buyer, and that means counting on your Realtor to comprise a successful marketing campaign You'll want to find a Realtor who utilizes television and newspaper advertising. Also one who,utilizes a front end MLS system and the Internet. Having a presence on the World Wide Web is very important. Lastly, you'll want to have a number of open houses to invite a variety of "window shoppers" to your home. Having a Realtor who is knowledgeable in marketing will definitely help you to sell your home.

Receiving an offer
Eventually as a seller you will receive an offer from a potential buyer. As the seller, you have three basic options: you can accept the offer, reject the offer or give a counter offer. A counter offer usually encourages the buyer to continue with negotiations. There are times that you might receive multiple offers. This is when you would want to consider your options. Sometimes taking slightly less for your property from someone who is willing to pay cash is better then taking more from someone who needs to sell their current home first. Contingencies, closing dates, and financing are all things to consider when weighing an offer. Often times this can be some what overwhelming, but your Realtor will be there every step of the way to help you determine which offer best suits your needs.

Closing time
Once you have accepted an offer on your property there are still a number of details that need to be finished. An inspection of your home will probably take place to determine the integrity of the home for the buyer. The buyer's mortgage company usually sends an appraiser to your home. The appraiser will estimate the property’s value to assure the lender of your property's worth. The title company has to warranty that there are no liens or existing encumbrances which would decline transfer of title to the buyer. You may chose to be represented by an attorney. Many sellers and buyers feel more comfortable to have the paper work reviewed before signing. Rest assured because you can always rely on your Realtor to make sure the entire home selling process proceeds smoothly.

Preparing Your House
Make It Look GREAT!! Presentation is everything! Buyers are attracted to clean, spacious and attractive houses. Your goal is to dazzle buyers. Brighten-up the place and remove all clutter from counter tops, tables and rooms. Scrub-down your house from top to bottom. Make it sparkle. Simple aesthetic improvements such as trimming trees, planting flowers, fixing squeaking steps and doors, broken tiles, shampooing rugs and even re-painting a faded bedroom will greatly enhance the appeal of your house. Also, make sure your house smells good. That’s right, clean out the cat box and light mildly scented candles. Invite a neighbor over to walk through your house like a buyer would. Get their opinion on how it “shows.” The stuffed donkey in the family room may have to go to your in-laws for a while.
Here are some ideas on how to prepare your home for potential buyers…

Exterior
The first step in preparing the exterior of your house—a buyer’s first introduction to it—is to take a clear-headed look at the house from the street. Stand at the curb and look at your house as a buyer might. What stands out and catches your eye? The beautiful landscaping and the new roof? Or does something else strike you? The faded exterior paint? The rust in the driveway? The 2 missing shutters? Remember, this is how your home will “introduce” itself to a potential buyer. If the appeal isn’t there, they will likely move on to the next available house, no matter how beautiful the interior of your house may be!
If you need major improvements or renovations to your house, do them before you put it on the market. The average buyer simply does not have the “vision” necessary to see the job done (if you are planning to do the improvements prior to closing). If you are attempting to sell the house as a “fixer-upper” be aware that even though many buyers say that this is what they want, when confronted with the prospect of actually buying one, they often run for the hills!
Overall Appearance: Remove any junk or clutter from the yard. This includes tree limbs and leaves, but especially goes for junk cars or parts, lawn tractors, etc.
Overall Appearance: If the exterior of the house is dirty or moldy, power wash it. If it is in need of paint, get competitive bids if you can’t do it yourself.
Grass: If possible, reseed any bare areas of the lawn.
Landscaping: Trim all shrubbery and plantings. Trim trees if necessary, especially dead limbs.
Landscaping: If the season is right, plant colorful flowers where appropriate.
Landscaping: Add mulch to planting beds and around trees. An inexpensive but very effective way of freshening the look of the yard.
Decks and porches: Power wash and seal, stain or paint.
Driveway: If the driveway is stone and looking lean, add a coat of gravel. If it is asphalt, consider resealing if necessary.
Gutters and downspouts: Check gutters and downspouts to make sure they are clear and functioning properly.
Lights: Make sure that all exterior lights are operational.
Windows: Make sure the exterior (and the interior) of windows is clean and operational.

Interior
Many home sellers make the mistake of ignoring certain repair or maintenance items in the hope that a potential buyer will either not notice, or if they do, telling them that they (the seller) will repair or replace the item. Most buyers do not have vision. They are not able to look at a room that needs paint and carpet and imagine it fresh and attractive. Telling them that something will be cleaned, or painted, or repaired may work with some, but the majority will not be able to envision the house after the changes have been made and will scratch your house from their list. Painting: When it comes to preparing a house, painting gives you the best return for money spent. Which rooms should you paint? Any rooms that have dirty or marked walls or any rooms that are currently painted in dark colors. Keep it neutral—off-white or antique white is the best.
Carpeting: At the very least, all carpeting needs to be steam cleaned. Any worn, stained or foul smelling carpet should be replaced. You may be tempted to give a “carpet allowance” and that may work. Just remember, most buyers do not have vision.
Operation: If you are not having a whole house inspection done, check all faucets, toilets and electrical items for correct operation.
Safety: Make sure that your house is safe. Not only can a wobbly railing stop a sale, it could also cause an injury to a potential buyer who is not familiar with your house (and is spending time looking instead of being careful).
Clutter: If an item is not necessary for your day-to-day life, box it up and store it or throw it out!
Fireplace: Have a professional fireplace or woodstove cleaning and inspection. The buyer will most likely request it anyhow. Getting it done in advance impresses the buyer and makes the home appear cleaner and fresher smelling.
Closets: Make sure all closets are neat, clean and organized.
Doors and Windows: Check all for smooth operation. Replace any cracked windowpanes.
Cleaning: Even though you may consider your house clean and tidy, a thorough cleaning—including dusting, washing and waxing everything—will always make a house more appealing.

Room to Room
When you get a buyer into your house, it is important to make their visit as pleasant as possible—and that means having the whole house ready. You want them to be as comfortable as possible, and to linger in the home. A “turn off” will send them scurrying quickly to the next house on their list!

It must be especially inviting for your guests (your potential buyers). Make certain it is well lit, clean and has nothing lying around either inside or outside. Paint the front door if it even remotely needs it.
If you normally use a back or side entrance to your house, pay particular attention to the front entry. You rarely see it but this is where thy buyers will enter!

Living Room or Great Room
If possible, keep furniture at a bare minimum so that traffic flow is easier and the room does not appear smaller than it actually is.
If bookshelves, curio cabinets and the like are overflowing with books and knick-knacks, remove some of them.

Family Room or Den
If this is the room you live in the most, make it look inviting but not overly lived in.
Keep furniture at a minimum but make the room look like a comfortable place to spend time.
Clean the exterior of all appliances. Clean the oven interior.
Clean or replace the stove hood filter. This is often overlooked, usually dirty and greasy and looked at by a lot of buyers.
Clean cabinet faces. Make them shine!
Remove all clutter and unnecessary items from countertops and clean all countertops and backsplashes thoroughly.
Clean vinyl or ceramic floor.
If you have ceramic tile elsewhere in the kitchen, pay particular attention to the grout—make sure that it’s clean. If it is discolored, there are “grout whitening” products that are available.

Bedrooms
Remove all clutter. If you don’t need it, store it or pitch it!
Arrange or remove furniture to maintain good traffic flow through rooms. Remember, there may be three or four people in each group that walk through your house.

Bathrooms
Make sure all bulbs are working and have the highest wattage available and safe for each fixture. Brighter is better!
Clean all ceramic tile. Check the grout for cleanliness and deterioration.
If faucets drip, fix them.
Thoroughly clean sinks and tubs. If rust spots are on the porcelain, attempt to remove them.
Remove any evidence of mildew from the shower and bathtub. Products are available that spray on and quickly kill the mildew.

Basement
If the basement is damp or musty, consider a dehumidifier.
Give prospective buyers room to move around. Clutter…well, you know the drill!!

Garages
Remove all junk: broken tools, old car parts, toys from the 1960’s, etc.

Miscellaneous
Replace the furnace filter.
Your house has been checked, inspected, and cleaned from top to bottom. You have priced it at what you feel is a fair price. The marketing and advertising program is in full swing. Now it is time top put all of the preparation into action: showings! All of the work that you have done up to this point will only have an effect when a buyer walks into your house for the first time.

Showing Your House to Maximum Advantage
Give all family members assigned jobs in advance that will go into action when a short-notice showing is scheduled. Everyone must know their duties and carry them out, so that you don’t end up banging into one another trying to get everything done quickly.
Open every window covering. All drapes, curtains and blinds should be positioned to let in maximum light. Buyers like house to be “light and bright,” so accommodate them! Turn on as many lights as possible.
Make sure the house smells good. Baking cookies, often recommended, may be overdoing it, but pet odors, smoke or greasy cooking odors definitely will not work! Air out the hose just before the scheduled showing, but close the windows (unless it is a perfect day) before they arrive.
Six very important words: no clutter, no clutter, no clutter!
Make sure that everything is spotless. Pay particular attention to the bathrooms and the kitchen. In the bathrooms, towels should be fresh and clean, sinks and baths scrubbed, and the floor freshly cleaned. In the kitchen, make sure all dishes are put away and countertops and sinks are cleaned.
Check the thermostat to make sure that the house is at a comfortable temperature.
Remove pets from the house, or at least, keep them outside. Pets under foot will quickly put a damper on an otherwise positive showing.
Make the Spec Sheets are available and easily accessible. (The dining room table is an ideal place for them)
Lastly, be sure you and any other family members are gone! If this is not possible, make yourself as inconspicuous as possible. If it is comfortable outside, go for a walk or sit outside your home until the buyers leave.

Planning For Your Move
Whether you have moved once or a dozen times, it never seems to get any easier. The culmination of all the emotion associated with selling a home is another huge emotional challenge: Moving! Here are some hints that we hope you will find helpful as you prepare for moving day.

To avoid surprises, get coordinated in advance: Use this checklist to monitor your progress.
Make agreements with buyers (ideally at the time of the contract, but definitely long before closing date) regarding possession of the home and moving date. Having sellers and buyers meet on the front walk—each with a house full of furniture—is not a happy situation.
Start planning early. Once you are reasonably confident that you will be proceeding with the sale, start weeding out your current possessions. Toss (or give away, or sell at a yard sale) things that you don’t want to move. This goes a long way toward uncluttering your life too!
Compare moving plans. Are you going to want to do the entire move yourself? Will you want a professional mover to handle the entire process? Don’t wait until the last minute—or you may be doing the whole move on your own! Compare rates and services as well as availability.
Make a list on any important items you will need to buy for your new house.
Examples: draperies, blinds, shower curtains, etc. Having these things with you on the day you move in prevents unnecessary surprises.
Start packing early. Anything that you are sure you will not be using before moving day should get boxed.
Determine a “staging area” where any items that are ready to be moved are placed. This saves a lot of the aggravation associated with having boxes scattered throughout your present living quarters and gives you a place to look should you need an item that is already packed.
Mark every box and carton. Again, it makes it much easier if you need an item before you move, and makes it much simpler after you move. Unpacking will probably be somewhat of a gradual process—this way you know where the most necessary items are located.