The basic thing you need to know when selling your house is that there are no hard, fast rules. Yes, there are guidelines to follow that will increase the chance of your home selling within a reasonable amount of time. However, you are selling your house to human beings, and humans are often driven by circumstances. Human beings bend the rules.

One of the “rules” that is often cited to homeowners is, “spring and summer is the absolute best time to sell”. This is true, but there are always exceptions. The market might be a little soft during the fall and winter months, but circumstances like a new baby, new job, or unfortunately something more tragic, like a divorce could dictate when a buyer will seek out a new home; your home.

Don’t be dissuaded from placing your house on the market if you are so inclined, regardless, of the season or even the economic conditions. Circumstances are always at play. Keeping this in mind the following 8 steps will assist you in placing your house on the market.

Find an experienced realtor.

Homeowners often find themselves in an overwhelming dilemma. They want to place their homes on the market, but have no idea where to begin. The very first step in the process is to find a competent real estate agent. This is crucial. An experienced, credentialed realtor will look out for your best interest. She/he knows the area, knows the market, and will guide you through the steps to sell your home.

Interviewing realtors will give you a good feel for how they will orchestrate the sale. Additionally, checking out the agent’s online listings is helpful. How effectively does your potential realtor utilize the online database? How well are the homes represented? Is the presentation attractive? You want a real estate agent that will place your home in its best light.

Home Inspection

Having your home inspected is very important, in fact it is debatable as to whether you should find an agent first, or have the inspection before locating a realtor. You might wonder why you should get an inspection at this stage of the game, since it is inevitable that prior to closing the buyers will call for an inspection. But, at this early point in the process, an inspection will arm you with what to expect in the way of repairs. With an inspection in hand, you will be proactive in making repairs before you even show the home.

Spruce it up.

Take a long hard look at your home. Try to see it through non-biased eyes. Look at it as if you were the buyer, rather than the seller. You’ve had the inspection and you know what needs to be done, so go about doing it. Make repairs and even upgrades that will entice buyers. Just be careful to avoid making changes that won’t give you a return on your investment. Your real estate agent can help you with this. Ask her for advice on what renovations will render the best results.

Comparative Market Analysis

In preparation for the sell of your home, your realtor will prepare a comparative market analysis. A CMA is an evaluation of homes that have similar characteristics to one another, and to yours. The CMA will include information on the size, style and age of homes that sold in or near your neighborhood. It will also include the price at which, your neighbor’s home was purchased.

A comparative market analysis is not to be confused with an appraisal. The homeowner and agent will use the CMA to help to determine at one number to place the “asking price”.  The numbers you have to work with are there in black and white. The CMA eliminates guesswork and the homeowner’s lack of objectivity.

Pick your price

The CMA has been completed and now it’s time to make a decision about your asking price. This can be tricky. Your home is invaluable to you. It is where your memories were made. But, you can’t place value to your home that matches the emotional attachment you have to it.  Buyers won’t purchase your home based on your emotion. Take the information you’ve gathered from your realtor and make a sound price decision. The price point has to be just right; not too high, and not too low. Your realtor can advise you, though the decision is in you hands.

Clean it up

This is one of those times when “cleanliness really is next to godliness”. It is not enough that your house is squeaky clean, it also has to be clutter free, and that’s to obsessive proportions. We like that our homes are lived-in, but potential buyers won’t appreciate that lived-in look. They want to imagine the home’s appearance with their personal belongings. Your clean, clutter-free home is the canvas on which they will toss their imagination. So, even if you must rent space to house all your extra stuff, do it.

Curb Appeal

“It’s not what’s on the outside, but what’s on the inside that counts”. This may be true about people, but it is questionable when referring to the sell of your home. How the house looks from the outside is important. It is the first impression your house will make. If you give passersby something magnificent to see from the outside, it will raise their expectations and whet their appetite for what is beyond the front door. Make the outside as appealing as possible.

Set the stage

This is your opportunity to show off. Show off your home’s potential by staging each room. Play up the design and furniture pieces. If design isn’t your forte, you can always hire a professional home stager. Additionally, your realtor may be able to assist in this area. If they aren’t savvy designers themselves, they should be able to recommend a professional stager that is.

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