I'm planning to put my home on the market, but I don't know where to start. Any advice?

Asked by Mznova, Weslaco, TX Mon Jun 9, 2008

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Dottie & John…, , 21244
Thu Jun 12, 2008
Interview experienced Realtors in your area. Look for yard signs so you know who is farmiliar with your neighborhood. You must feel comfortable with this person as you will become a team. Do not go with the person who says they can get you the most money, because the house will most likely be over priced and not sell.
If you want the most return on your investment, it needs to be CLEAN, CLEAN, CLEAN.
1. Start by cleaning all your window screens, take them off and hose them down. You can use a bristled brush if you need to.
2. Wash all the walls and woodwork in your home. If you can afford it and it needs it have a fresh coat of paint applied.
3. Have your furniture cleaned professionally.
4. Clean the carpets. Have them professionally shampooed or just rent a machine from your local grocery store. If you have pets, you may need to have the carpets sanitized.
5. Clean out the ashes from your fireplace.
6. Wash and/or dry-clean your drapes.
7. Wash your windows, especially the windowsills and all the window wells to make sure there isn't any built-up dirt in them.
8. Clean out your kitchen and medicine cabinets. Throw away any food and/or prescriptions that have expired.
9. Clean the refrigerator. Empty it out entirely and wipe down all the shelves and drawers before restocking the fridge.
10. Clean out your linen closet.
11. Clean out your own closet. Donate or sell those clothes you know you'll never wear again, even if it's your "favorite sweater since you were a teenager!"
Good luck it will sell. Do not listen to the news media.
1 vote
Ralph Janisch, , Houston, TX
Wed Jun 11, 2008
You have to be very comfortable with the agent you choose. But, before you do anything else you MUST make sure that your home is ready to sell. What that means is walk out to the street with your yellow pad and start writing. Look at your home with the eyes of a prospective buyer who as we all know will be VERY picky. Is the lawn and garden in perfect shape? Trees and bushes all manicured? Beds all freshened and mulched and fresh flowers planted? How about the front walk and door? Is the walk clean or is it covered with algae or dirty stains..... (think waterblaster) Front door should be clean and fresh. If not, paint it. Clean the gutters and paint any areas with peeling flaking paint. Is there mold or mildew on the exterior walls? If so, clean them. Wash the windows.... squeaky clean. Then move inside and look for the same things. Dirt, clutter, dirty carpet, smells. Clean it if you can, paint it if needed, replace carpet that won't clean properly and then stage the home. If you don't know how, look for Accredited Home Staging Specialist or even an interior decorator. The cost for a couple of hours for a decorator could pay off handsomely when you sell. Then declutter EVERYTHING. Then go back and re-examine again and declutter some more. When you have done these things you should be ready to call up a realtor and interview him/her to see if you can work together.
Web Reference:  http://www.ralphjanisch.com
1 vote
Bruce Lynn, Agent, Coppell, TX
Tue Jun 10, 2008
1. Clean and declutter your home.
2. Get the yard in great shape.
3. Clean Clean Clean your home.
4. Interview 3 Realtors in your area and pick one you feel most comfortable working with.
5. Follow their recommendations of things you need to do to sell your home.
Web Reference:  http://www.teamlynn.com
1 vote
Donnie, Home Buyer, 30135
Fri Jun 13, 2008
find a good realestate company in your area and find an agent that works with buyers and sellers.
Have them to do a CMA on your property and neighborhood they should do this as a curtesy.
0 votes
Debt Free Da…, , 85260
Thu Jun 12, 2008
The web is a great place to start. Just do your research online first.
Web Reference:  http://getprequalified.com
0 votes
Svetlana P.…, , Washington, DC
Thu Jun 12, 2008
Hi Mznova,
I cannot agree more with Ralf Janisch's statement that you MUST make sure that your home is READY to sell. He gives your simple steps to achieve it.
• I just want to emphasize the importance of de-clattering the space. All of your decorating items must go. Take away all religious, ethnical and personal items that can prevent potential buyers from associating themselves with the property. The interiors of the space should appeal to both sexes. Investing in professional interior design services will pay you off. You house should appeal as well organized space with clear idea of room functions.
Ask a "buyer"
• Invite friends-female and male to walk through your home like a buyer would. Get their opinions on whether or not it's inviting, clean and well-maintained. Make any changes they suggest.

As a seller Mznove, you need to tell your real estate agent what is most important to You-Pricing or Timing and Why.
• Then your real estate agent who you comfortable with and Available for you (some experienced Realtors are often too busy) can Educate you to current Market conditions and concepts.
• Create the perception of Value of your property to stimulate the buyer’s pool to bring offers.
• Negotiate you top dollars for your house.

Svetlana Casey
0 votes
Millie Martin, Agent, Charleston, SC
Thu Jun 12, 2008
The first thing you need to do is get the house in the best shape possible. Start at the front sidewalk and go all the way to the back yard, look at your house as a buyer would. Take care of any negatives that you see. Rent a storage unit and de-clutter if you have a lot of "stuff". The less you have in it the larger it will appear.
When it is ready to show ask relatives and friends if they have a realtor they would recommend. If not then call some agencys and set up interviews with some agents. When you feel comfortable that one of them has answered your questions to your satisfaction then hire that agent. There are agents that will tell you what you want to hear as far as price so ask to see all the comparables for your area and then see who is closest to the right price for you home.
Web Reference:  http://www.milliemartin.com
0 votes
Russell Lewis, , Austin, TX
Thu Jun 12, 2008
1. Start by doing a few hours of research online and with froends who live in your area. Ask around... get to know who has the most signs, ads and marketing material in your neighborhood. Compile a list of agent names and use these questions to help you determine which agent is right for you.
2. Who are the most active agents? Not just the name you see most, the “neighborhood specialist” often is not as objective because of the perception that a sign in the yard is more important than listing your home at a realistic price. Look for at least three in the neighborhood.
3. Interview prospective realtors and ask for information. You can often get a good idea of which agents are the most professional by looking at their promotional materials. If their own materials aren’t professional, how well are they going to market your home? Track how long each agent takes to respond to your request and how quickly they follow up. If they don’t respond efficiently to your listing requests imagine how they’ll handle potential home buyers.
4. How long the agent has been in business and what professional organizations are they associated with? The length of time a real estate agent has been licensed is not a sure fire sign that they’ve been an active seller. They may have been in business for 10 years but only part time and an agent needs to be in business full time at least 2 years to be viable. So take into account what the time they have worked and also the professional organizations they belong to. The minimum should be a licensed professional who’s a member of the local real estate board and multiple listing service as well as the state and National Association of Realtors.
5. How many homes has the agent listed and/or sold in the area? Look for an agent who has experience with homes similar to yours and is active in your area. If your home has special features look for an agent with experience in those areas. Your agent should have a good record of selling homes, not just listing them. After all, this is your ultimate goal.
6. Do the agent have an assistant or support staff? By employing someone to handle the details of their business the agent can spend more time servicing your needs.
7. How often will the agent hold open houses? Simply putting a sign on your lawn and holding open houses every Sunday will not sell your home. Too frequently open houses are used for a newer agent in the office to attract buyers. No one likes to be pressured and it is best to have the listing agent hold the open house because they know more about your home and the area and are better able to help with all prospective inquiries.Look for an agent with a specific plan for each open house. The plan should be just one facet of a complete marketing plan.
8. What listing price do you recommend and what is that price based on? Pricing is the most critical step to selling your home. Take great care in choosing an agent with the knowledge to price your home effectively. Keep in mind the selling price should attract prospective buyers to your home, get you top dollar in the current market and reflect the condition of your home. Be realistic and avoid ‘yes agents’, who will say ‘yes’ to any request or price while your home languishes on the market. Lowball agents will try to talk you into an artificial price simply to sell as fast as possible.
9. What does the listing agreement entail, what are the beginning and expiration dates, and what are the fee amounts you will be paying? Have your agent go over every detail in the listing agreement with you until you understand it completely. Make sure the beginning and ending dates are on the agreement; in this market a good standard for length is four to six months. Know exactly what fees you will be paying and remember that less is not always better. If the agent stands to make very little commission you can bet it will be reflected in the amount of time and effort that is spent marketing your home. If the agent reduces their commission to get the listing it may mean they intend to spend very little money promoting the property.
10. What types of things separate you from your competition and will you give me some feedback? - How effectively will they advertise? Do they have Internet presence? Will all the leads be followed up on by your agent? Agents who are innovative and offer new methods of attracting home buyers will measurably outperform agents who rely on methods of the past. Marketing effectively these days requires progressive strategies that add value and service for both buyers and sellers!
I hope this helps -Russell
0 votes
Thu Jun 12, 2008
You have many great answers already.
Find out, by interviewing a few agents in your area, the one that you fill more comfortable to work with. It is extremely important to have an agent that you can trust. Find out the commitment that He / she will do the best to sell your house. Find out how ready to sell you are and the services the agent provide that should include: pricing, getting you and your property ready to sell, marketing, guidance form starting to closing. Once you made your selection; then, I find it reasonable to, ask for a CMA (Current Market Analysis of your property)
and continue from step 3-7 and or visit the Web reference site (Seller's guide)
Step 1: Plan/Prepare
Step 2: Get a REALTOR®
Step 3: Set the Price
Step 4: Market It
Step 5: Sell It
Step 6: Close
Step 7: Moving

Best wishes,
0 votes
Eileen Scates, Agent, Clermont, FL
Wed Jun 11, 2008
What to ask a REALTOR ... and do ASK! While it has to be a comfort factor - once you do hire an agent trust their advice. You should also receive copies of advertisements and internet emails/stats and notification of property showings. Good Luck!

•How long have you been in residential real estate sales? Is it your full-time job? (While experience is no guarantee of skill, real estate, like many other professions, is mostly learned on the job.)
•What types of specific marketing systems and approaches will you use to sell my home? (Look for someone who has aggressive, innovative approaches, not just someone who’s going to put a sign in the yard and hope for the best.)
•Will you represent me exclusively, or will you represent both the buyer and the seller in the transaction? (While it’s usually legal to represent both parties in a transaction, it’s important to understand where the practitioner’s obligations lie. A good practitioner will explain the agency relationship to you and describe the rights of each party. It’s also possible to insist that the practitioner represent you exclusively.)
•Can you recommend service providers who can assist me in obtaining a mortgage, making repairs on my home, and other things I need done? (Keep in mind here that real estate professionals should generally recommend more than one provider and should tell you if they receive any compensation from any provider.)
•What type of support and supervision does your brokerage office provide to you? (Having resources, such as in-house support staff, access to a real estate attorney, or assistance with technology, can help a real estate professional sell your home.)
•What’s your business philosophy? (While there’s no right answer to this question, the response will help you assess what’s important to the real estate practitioner—fast sales, service, etc.—and determine how closely the practitioner’s goals and business emphasis mesh with your own.)
•How will you keep me informed about the progress of my transaction? How frequently? Using what media? (Again, this is not a question with a correct answer, but that one reflects your desires. Do you want updates twice a week or don’t want to be bothered unless there’s a hot prospect? Do you prefer phone, e-mail, or a personal visit?)
0 votes
Diana Barker, Agent, Redmond, OR
Wed Jun 11, 2008
As I read each of these responses, they all have merit and should all be heeded. The one thing I would add is that when you do hit upon a representative that you like, trust, and have tested for experience in the market - TAKE THEIR ADVICE. If they say your home should be listed at one price and you decide to list it higher, you are basically taking your home off the market. It won't be seen. You might as well not go to the trouble of interviewing and choosing just the right agent for you if you don't intend to follow the advice you are given.

Good luck. Hope you find a great agent and have a great home selling experience!
0 votes
Pete Whan, Agent, Pasadena, CA
Wed Jun 11, 2008
If you were looking for a new hair cutter you would ask your girls friends for a personal referral, the best way to find a good Realtor is to ask friends and family members for a personal referral.
0 votes
Cyndie Gawain, Agent, Dallas, TX
Tue Jun 10, 2008
Interview several realtors in your area.
You will be looking for how many years they have been in real estate full time and how many homes they sell on an average in a year. Ask them what needs to be done to the home and what marketing they will be doing for you. Don't necessarily choose the agent who quotes you the highest listing price for your home. They might be trying to buy their way into the listing and then ask for price reductions.
0 votes
Steve Tennis…, Agent, McAllen, TX
Mon Jun 9, 2008
I am a local REALTOR and I have sold properties in the Weslaco area. I would happily sit down with you and tell you what my company can offer as far as helping you to sell your home.
0 votes
Dallas Texas, Agent, Dallas, TN
Mon Jun 9, 2008
You need to prepared to stage your home, clean the closets, garage, power wash the exterior, then locate a realtor... allooottt of families are moving I would wait for placing your home on the market for sale.

0 votes
Betty Turner, Agent, Port Aransas, TX
Mon Jun 9, 2008
Check out the real estate companies and agents who have successfuly sold homes in your immediate area. Interview them and ask them to provide you with recent comps of like properties that are pending or have sold and closed within the last six months. You should also ask that they provide you with a recommended sale price and their rationale for that price, and a marketing plan with a timetable for implementation. Select the one you feel is most professional, committed and capable of marketing and selling your property quickly and most knowledge about the local market. Then work closely with him/her and take their advice on preparing your home the market. There is no substitute for an experienced, creative and totally committed agent who is enthusiastic about your property. Lots of luck!
0 votes
Chris Tesch, Agent, College Station, TX
Mon Jun 9, 2008
Interview a few agents to find one that you are comfortable with, gives you the most information and will advertise your home on a variety of different medias. Hire someone that can give you sensible advice about staging your home and prepararation for the market. Go to http://www.localism.com to read some of the articles about staging, preparation of homes for the market and what to expect. In general expect to eliminate clutter, beef up landscaping and ensure that everything is in working order.

Good luck with your sale!
Web Reference:  http://www.ChrisTesch.com
0 votes
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