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     So you've decided to let a reputable real estate broker help you sell your home. Congratulations. You've made a very wise decision. People who try to sell their homes without the aid of a real estate broker usually sell themselves short. While the commission savings seems like a good way to make a larger profit, it seldom works out that way. Instead of saving, they wind up spending - time and money.
     Real estate is a field where it pays to use the services of professionals. Brokers can save you time by selling faster and helping you get the most money for your property. They also can help with details you probably wouldn't consider. It's their profession. They do it every day.

Setting the price

     At best you can only guess what your house is worth.
     If you guess too high, you'll discourage many prospective buyers who will consider the property out of their reach. When you begin reducing the price, buyers may wonder what's wrong.
     On the other hand, if you guess too low, you'll sacrifice money you should have had. And a "bargain" price may even seem suspicious to cautious prospects.
     Real estate brokers have up-to-the-minute information about the market. They know what properties like yours are selling for. They also can point out other features that add value to your property, such as favorable location, convenient transportation or popular architectural design. They can help you to quickly arrive at your best asking price.

Locating buyers

     There's more to finding buyers than putting a "For Sale" sign on your lawn. And a "For Sale by Owner" sign has serious drawbacks. Prospects and curiosity seekers alike can ring your doorbell at all hours without regard to your convenience. And they'll expect you to answer difficult questions about financing, settlement, etc.
     Real estate brokers screen prospects in advance and show your home only to those who have the interest and ability to buy. They won't waste your time with someone who's not a serious prospect. Many brokers already have a list of buyers who are looking for properties like yours. And real estate brokers can continue with the selling job even if you're out of town for a while.
     If you decide to advertise, brokers know where to place ads for best results, how often to run ads and how to word them for maximum effectiveness.


     The buyer usually offers less than you're asking. At this stage of the sale, your broker knows how to bargain easily and effectively, and is experienced at making counter offers and discussing price, amount of cash, date of delivery of the deed, amount of mortgage and other important business matters.
     Simply stated, real estate brokers make sure the sale proceeds smoothly and quickly, at the best price.

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How you can help your broker

     While a real estate broker can provide invaluable services to you in selling your home, it's up to you to cooperate with your broker's sales effort by making sure your house looks its best.
     First impressions are probably more important in selling your house than almost any other factor except the price. So when you put your house on the market, it will pay to get it in tiptop shape.
Look at your property as if you were a prospective buyer. Pretend you're seeing it for the first time and try to notice its highlights and drawbacks. Then start sprucing it up in order to emphasize and add to the good points.
     That's often easier said than done, however. It's easy to overlook something unless you spruce up systematically. We have included the following checklist that can help virtually any property look its best.
     Proceed critically down the list. Check off the items that apply to your house. If an item calls for an expenditure, your broker can help you decide whether it's worth the investment.
For a printable version of this list, please click here.

____ Trim shrubs
____ Mow lawn
____ Weed flower beds
____ Edge lawn
____ Repair walk, driveway
____ Repair porch, steps
____ Clean porch light, lamppost
____ Shovel walk, driveway in winter
____ Clean siding
____ Paint trim, front of house
____ Paint sides, back of house
____ Repair roof, gutters, downspouts
____ Paint front door, mailbox
____ Repair/replace storm door
____ Clean/repair screens, storm windows
____ Clean/paint/repair garage - dispose of what you don't intend to keep

Inside - General
____ Paint where necessary
____ Clean/fix windows
____ Replace burned out light bulbs and brighten lighting with more powerful bulbs
____ Make sure doors, windows are operating freely - lubricate with wax if necessary
____ Fix squeaking floors
____ Fix light switches
____ Repair/repaint cracked walls, ceilings
____ Fix faucet drips
____ Clear clogged drains
____ Clean fireplace, lay logs for fire
____ Straighten all closets
____ Use room deodorants to remove mustiness
____ Vacuum/shampoo rugs
____ Clean/polish heating elements - furnace, boiler, etc.
____ Neaten up, throw away what you're not going to move

____ Clean/paint cabinets
____ Use bright curtains
____ Clean ventilating hood, fan
____ Repair/clean/wax floor
____ Clear off counter tops to make kitchen look spacious and neat
____ Make sure drawers slide smoothly
____ Put appliances out of sight, stack items neatly in cabinets
____ Clean/polish appliances - inside and out

Bathroom/Powder Room
____ Put out fresh towels
____ Clean fixtures, tub, toilets
____ Replace toilet seat
____ Clean shower curtain

____ Make beds
____ Use most attractive bedspread, curtains

Living Room/Den
____ Plump up cushions
____ Stack newspapers, magazines
____ Clean television screen

Dining Room
____ Polish table, buffet, etc.
____ Clean glass in china cabinet
____ Make sure chair seats are in good shape

Laundry Area
____ Remove hanging clothes
____ Put away powders, sprays, etc.
____ Clean/polish washer, dryer, tub

Then, let broker sell

    If you and your family are at home when the broker brings in a prospect, relax and let the expert show and tell. Don't tag along. Answer questions carefully when they're asked, but don't offer answers to unasked questions.
     If you've looked at your house like a buyer and attended to the items on our list that apply to it, your house will sell itself - with the expert help from your broker, of course.

Your next home

     If you're selling one home, chances are you're buying another. If so, your real estate broker will probably recommend title insurance. Title insurance protects your ownership against financial loss.



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