At first, selling your home seems daunting: You haven’t sold a home before, the market looks complex, and what worked for owners 10 or 20 years ago seems inappropriate today.

What steps should you take?

Here’s a simple list to get you started.

1. You Can Do It.

Millions of existing homes are sold every year.  Other owners have done it and so can you.

2. Define Your Goal.

Do you want the highest sales price — or the biggest check at closing? They’re not necessarily the same. Imagine that two homes sell for $300,000, but one owner pays 2 points and agrees to replace the roof. The owner who sold without such costs got a bigger check at settlement. The bottom line: To have a successful sale you need to look at both price and terms — you must have a strong negotiator in your corner.

3. Times Have Changed.

Today’s real estate marketplace is radically different when compared with 10 years ago. Buyers are much more informed and prepared than in the past. The internet, disclosures, inspections, and buyer brokerage have changed things significantly and for the better.

4. Sparkle And Shine.

Imagine going to a supermarket and seeing dusty fruit or aisles filled with old shelving and cans. It doesn’t happen because the grocery store knows how to present its goods. Sellers must do the same. Get rid of things you don’t want to move, organize closets and storage areas, and clean everywhere. Read our post Prepare Your Home To Sell.

5. Mechanics Count.

Buyers expect everything to work. Home inspections are almost always done, and what buyers miss home inspectors will catch. Fix and paint things now and they won’t be an issue in the future.

6. Set the stage.

When buyers see your home, it’s showtime. They want an environment where they can see themselves. De-clutter and hide knick knacks that will distract them from their dreams. Give them a show where everything is painted, arranged, and attractive, a home where the only issue is when to move in.

7. Know the market.

Real estate is local. Your broker can explain current market trends in your community, including what’s selling, what isn’t selling, and why. This information is central to getting the optimal price and terms.

8. Know the competition.

Your property will be competing with other homes for buyer attention. Ask your broker how to be competitive — and how to have an edge.

9. Be realistic.

Markets differ by location and time. When interest rates are low and the local job base is growing, it’s great to be a seller. But when times are slack and mortgage rates are rising, homes also sell. The trick is to be realistic, to get as much as market conditions will allow. Read our post Pricing Your Home to Sell.

10. Have a plan.

Real estate marketing involves far more than a sign in the yard and an ad in the paper. Successful brokers use a variety of methods to attract and qualify prospects. Ask your agent about the best marketing plan for your home.

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