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Selling Your Home

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Everyone approaches the sale of his or her home from a different place. Some will be parting ways, not just with a building, but also with many great memories of family and friends. Others never really liked the place and can't wait to get out. You could be retiring to another state or country, or maybe you're moving because of a new job. Whatever your situation is, there are two main ways to go about selling your home: with a real estate agent or independently.

Getting your home ready

Whether you choose to sell with an agent or independently, it's important to get your home ready for selling. There are two main things you have to focus on:

Up to code: Safety codes are put in place, in part, to protect buyers. Potential buyers will probably hire inspectors to make sure that the place they're buying is up to legal standards. You should hire your own building inspector in advance, so you can find out about and remedy any problems that might exist.

You can still sell your home if there are problems, but be prepared for the fact that potential buyers will probably try to negotiate a lower price once they find out about them.

Presentation: Obviously, you want to make your home attractive to potential buyers. Consider the following:

  • De-personalize: Your prospective buyers should be able to visualize themselves living in your home. It will be much easier for them to do so if you leave it as a relatively blank slate. Pack up all your photos and other personal items. You might also consider hiring a professional stager to make your house look nice.
  • Clean: Clean your house and free it of clutter. People tend to poke around, so make sure everything is neat and clean (even inside the fridge, cabinets, etc.).
  • Minor Repairs: While they may not be below safety standards, cracked tiles, leaky faucets, and burned out light bulbs can have a negative impact on those viewing your home.
  • Outdoors: Check out your home's curb appeal. Mow the lawn, paint the shutters, or do whatever else is needed to make the outside of your home appealing to others.
TIP: For more on getting your home ready to sell, check out our guide "Fixing Up Before Selling".

Selling independently

When you sell your home independently, it's up to you to find a buyer. You'll have to advertise your home either online, in real estate catalogues, on fliers, or all three. It will be your responsibility to show potential buyers your home and answer all the questions they might have.

Once you find a buyer, you'll need to negotiate a price. This can be the most difficult part of the home-selling process. Even if you do sell independently, you'll still need a lawyer to draw up the paperwork and to be present at closing.

Using a real estate agent

Other than cleaning and fixing up your home, a real estate agent does all the work of selling your home for you. Real estate agents have the training to advertise your home, show it to potential buyers, and field tough questions. They'll also take the lead on negotiations.

The obvious drawback to hiring a real estate agent is that it costs money to do so. However, real estate agents are trained to get the best price for your home and may be able to find a better buyer than you could yourself. Since your agent would be working on commission, he or she would have all the motivation necessary to find a good price.

If you've gone through the process of selling a house before, you may feel like you know enough to be able to take on the task on your own. For first-time buyers, though, it could be easy to get overwhelmed, so hiring a real estate agent may be the way to go to sell your home.

Photo by: Stuart Miles (Freedigitalphotos.net)

Adam Mandelbaum  Posted by Adam Mandelbaum on May 14, 2010

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