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When you are planning to sell your house, the first thing you will need to decide is whether or not to use a broker. Most members of the National Association of Realtors and other licensed brokers will bring numerous prospects to see your property but they will usually have a fee that is 5 to 7 percent of the selling price. If you are interested in saving that fee so you will have the option of lowering the price of your house, encourage a faster sale or so you can keep the proceeds, you will need to make all the sales arrangements for yourself. In other words, you will be responsible for financing your own advertising and promotion of the property.
Brokers will usually arrange an open house for your property. They will provide a listing fact sheet and take care of advertising your house. They also show the house and help with the close of the sale. Most services and fees are negotiable and in some areas discount brokers offer services that are pared down for a lower flat fee. It is good to know when listing your property that there are several different ways to do this. You can have an open listing where you will list your house with several brokers and only the selling broker will get a commission. When you list exclusively with one agency you will need to pick one broker and pay the commission only if the broker sells the house. In this case, if you sell your own house you will not have to pay the broker a commission. When you sell with an exclusive right to sell listing you have the choice of picking one broker. But in this case you lose the right to sell the house yourself without paying the broker a commission. The broker or brokers you use may handle your house exclusively or they may share the listing with other brokers in a multiple listing. This type of listing guarantees the broker some of the commission no matter who sells the house.
Be sure you read all agreements carefully before you sign and have your attorney negotiate for any changes you want. Most listing agreements will run from 30 days to 5 months and you will still have to pay a commission if a sale is made up to a certain amount of time after the expiration or if the buyer saw the property while it was listed. Keep in mind that both time periods are negotiable. Even if you do not use a broker, you will need an experienced real estate lawyer or escrow company. It is wise to have the person or company you choose involved from the beginning.
The best way to price your house is by investigating the local market to see what comparable houses are selling for. Check with your local tax assessor’s office to see recent sales records. Talk to your broker if you are using one and if not, use a qualified appraiser. This will in most cases cost between $100 and $1000, depending on the property you are selling. Remember when pricing your house that under pricing will sacrifice profit. On the other hand, over pricing can mean taking longer to sell or perhaps not selling at all. It is much easier to sell a property that is priced as close to fair market value as possible.
When advertising and promoting your house in a case where you are not using a broker, you will need to prepare a listing sheet. This should give the age of the house, lot size, room sizes, taxes, cost for fuel, utilities, water, number of bedrooms, bathrooms and other such amenities. Be sure to specify what comes with the house such as carpet, appliances or such. It is wise to provide photographs as well. Once your listing sheet is in order have approximately 200 copies made and place ads in several different newspapers. When you place the ad be sure to stress features that make your property appealing. These should include such things as, sale by owner, any outstanding location factors, special landscaping, special features such as swimming pool and such. When running your ad try to avoid using any confusing abbreviations.
Once this is done you will want to look over your property for any faults as if you were a buyer. When you find faults, fix them so your property will look its best. Lawns and shrubs need to be kept well manicured, if necessary repaint both outside and inside. No matter what you feel is needed to perk up your property be sure you do no over invest in new additions or to modernize. Whatever changes you make should be reasonable enough that a buyer would be willing to pay extra for the improvement. In most cases, painting, driveway repairs, a well-kept yard, a good roof and other such face lift ideas will suffice. But if you know you have plumbing or electrical problems you might consider having these repaired prior to showing your house. Be sure that your improvements do not cause the price of your property to go above others near it.
Be sure when you show your house to provide warm touches such as flowers, a fire in the fire place, cookies in the oven and such. Do not play music that might be offensive and keep noisy children or animals out of the way. When you have a broker showing your property simply smile and retreat. These people are well trained in bringing out the finer qualities of a property and unless they ask you a question you will do well to say nothing. No matter what happens when selling your house, never lie to a buyer. You can be sued if it can be proven that you have concealed known defects. Although every real estate transaction is unique, you can start with a standard contract form. Allow your attorney to amend it to your advantage and always try to have a cap put on expenditure liabilities such as termite damage repair. The contract should specifically mention each item that will stay in the house or go. In this case verbal promises will not count. Make sure your insurance is in force right up to the time of the official closing of the sale. Under no circumstances pay the real estate commission fees until the closing is complete. If a buyer ask that you help finance the purchase of the property, you should only do this when you know you are prepared to take back the property or when the tax benefits of installment payments outweigh the benefits of collecting the full purchase price in cash and investing it for a high, trouble free return. If you are planning to sell owner financed be sure to talk with your broker and attorney.