Why Use a Real Estate Agent to List Your Property
Ask yourself these questions…

• How do I price my property in an upward market?
• How do I market the property?
• Suppose I get 5 offers, how do I make it fair to everyone so I don’t get sued?
• How do I decide which offer(s) to accept or counter?
• Do I counter more than one?
• If so, how do I ensure that I don’t end up selling the property to more than one person and get sued?
• Suppose 3 of the 5 offers are good and very close, I counter all 3 and while I’m waiting for those 3 to come back, a 6th and even better offer comes in, how do I handle that? Can I accept it? What about the other 3?
• What if someone wants to be in a back-up position?
• How do you handle the myriad of disclosure requirements? Contractual obligations? Negotiate physical inspections? Agree to liquidated damages? Mediation and arbitration? State & federal requirements? Hazardous materials disclosures? Escrow? Transfer of funds?


The Interior

Atmosphere: Place yourself in the buyer’s shoes and consider the overall atmosphere of your home. In walking through your home keep in mind color, lighting, and odors. Create an atmosphere of shelter, a place that is safe, warm, and in good condition.

Smell: A clean-smelling house creates a positive image in a potential buyer’s mind. Be aware of odors from cooking, cigarettes, and pets that made put off potential buyers.

Color: When painting or replacing carpet be cautious of selecting colors. You want to appeal to a broad segment of the buying market as possible. Stay with neutral colors – letting the new owner select their own color schemes.

Lighting: Try taking advantage of as much of the natural light as possible by cleaning windows and opening drapes and shades. Add lamps where necessary. Check that all the fixtures are clean and that the bulbs are working. Consider increasing the bulb wattage in basement areas.

Walls: Check for peeling paint, loose wall paper. Once again, think of repainting with neutral colors if the existing walls are painted in bold or unusual colors.

Floors: Clean all wall-to-wall carpeting and area rugs. Clean and polish linoleum, tile, and wooden floors. Consider refinishing hardwood floors if necessary.

Closets: Empty closets of off-season clothing and pack for the move. Organize closets to emphasize the most efficient use of the space. Leave as few items on the floor and shelves as possible.

Furniture: Arrange furniture to give rooms as spacious a feeling as possible. Consider removing furniture from rooms that are too crowded. Avoid the cluttered look. Pack up or store knickknacks both to protect them and to give a room a more spacious feel if necessary but leaving enough items for the personal touch. Store large furniture if necessary.

Woodwork: Clean and wash all woodwork if necessary. Pay particular attention to kitchen and bathroom cabinets.

Bathrooms: Cleanliness is very important. Look over the entire bathroom and make sure all surfaces are spotless and remove any non-skid decals that are peeling or in poor condition. Replace old and worn or dirty shower curtains, clean and repair caulking, and store all personal care products out of sight. Check faucets for leaks and other problems. Clean any mineral deposits with vinegar or commercial products. Clear off counter tops and clean and organize drawers and cabinets. Add a plant for color and freshness.

Fireplace: Sweep and clean the fireplace. Put a few logs on the grate to create an attractive atmosphere. Consider having the chimney cleaned and inspected. A fire during showings and open houses creates a great atmosphere.

Kitchen: Once again try to avoid clutter. Store small appliances to maximize the appearance of work space. Clean and organize storage spaces. All sinks, cabinets, appliances, and counter tops should be clean and fresh looking.

Basement and Attic: The basement and attic should be clean and organized. Check to see that the stairs are clear and well lighted and that the handrails are secure. Remove, give away, or store any items that will not be moved with you. Pack any other items neatly in boxes.

Garage: Sweep and wash the floor to remove any dirt and stains. Organize all the tools, garden equipment, and sporting gear.

Note: Remove items not included in the sale of your home. Replace, if applicable, any items that will not be included such as light fixtures.

The Exterior

The Lawn: The yard should be neatly mowed, raked, and edged.

Trees and Shrubs: Plants should be pruned and shaped to compliment the property.

Flowers: Consider planting seasonal flowers for color.

Sidewalks and Driveways: Paths, walkways, and the driveway should be swept and washed to remove debris, dirt, and stains. Cracks should be repaired or patched.

Painting: Look over your home for any needed maintenance as a buyer would. Repaint or touch-up as necessary. This is one of the better investments you can make when you are selling your home. Consider both the exterior and interior. You don’t want potential buyers turned off by the exterior before they can see the inside of your home.

Doorsand Windows: All doors and windows should be in good working order. Clean and paint doors if it is necessary, wash all windows, and replace any cracked or broken windows panes. Window screens should be replaced if they are torn or missing. Check locks to ensure they are working properly.

Roof, Gutters, and Down spouts: Consider a roof inspection prior to selling. Clean out gutters and down spouts and replace if they are worn out or missing.

Walk across the street and look back at your home as if you were a potential buyer. Ask yourself what a buyer might object to.

5 Rules for realistic renovating..

· Nail Down a Smart Spending Plan.

You’ll fare far worse in recouping your costs if you turn your otherwise unprepossessing place into the ritziest ranch on the block. To make your house easier to sell when the time comes, try to make sure that the value of your home (including the cost of improvements) does not exceed that of the priciest place on the block.

· Expect cost overruns.

Construct a spending plan that equals only 80% of the total amount you can afford; reserve the other 20% for overruns. Mistakes occur, unforeseen problems arise–or you may change your mind about something mid-project.

· Get your design done right.

For easy projects, contractors can draw up basic plans and then have structural engineers convert those plans into a final blueprint. If your job involves knocking down walls, though, you’ll need an architect to render an aesthetically pleasing design that is sound. Make sure you pick an architect who normally works within your price range.

· Find a contractor who’s on the level.

The challenge is to find the dedicated pros, not the fly-by-nights. And that requires serious gumshoe work. Start by asking friends, colleagues and the folks at the local building-supply company. Ask contractors to show you a state license, then call the agency that issued the certificate to confirm that no complaints are on file. You can also call the Better Business Bureau. Finally, ask each contractor to have his insurance company send you a copy of his liability and workers’ comp policy so you can verify that he has coverage too. If your contractor plans to hire subcontractors, you’ll need to check their references as well.

· Get three bids, then draw up a contract.

Ask contractors to break out specific costs in their bids, for easy comparison. When you make your selection, put everything in writing.