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Tips for home sellers

Is Your Buyer Qualified?

7 Terms To Watch For In A
Purchase Contract

5 Things to Do Before You Sell

10 Tips for Holding a Yard Sale

Tips for Pricing Your Home

10 Ways to Make
Your House More Salable

5 Ways to Speed Up Your Sale

7 Steps to Preparing for an Open House

10 Ways to Make Your Home
Irresistible at an Open House

What You'll Net at Closing


Is Your Buyer Qualified?

Unless the buyer who makes an offer on your home has the resources to qualify for a mortgage, you may not really have a sale. If possible, try to determine a buyer's financial status before signing the contract. Has the buyer been pre qualified or pre approved for a mortgage? Such buyers will be in a much better position to obtain a mortgage promptly. The lender letter will take care of these questions.

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7 Terms to Watch for in a Purchase Contract

1. The closing date. See if the date the buyer wants to take title is reasonable for you.

2. Date of possession. See if the date the buyer wants to move in is reasonable for you.

3. The earnest money. Look for the largest earnest money deposit possible; since it is forfeited if the buyer backs out, a large deposit is usually a good indication of a sincere buyer.

4. Fixtures and personal property. Check the list of items that the buyer expects to remain with the property and be sure itís acceptable.

5. Repairs. Determine what the requested repairs will cost and whether you're willing to do the work or would rather lower the price by that amount.

6. Contingencies. See what other factors the buyer wants met before the contract is final inspections, selling a home, obtaining a mortgage, review of the contract by an attorney. Set time limits on contingencies so that they won't drag on and keep your sale from becoming final.

7. The contract expiration date. See how long you have to make a decision on the offer.

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5 Things to Do Before You Sell

1. Get estimates from a reliable repair person on items that need to be replaced soon, a roof or worn carpeting, for example. In this way, buyers will have a better sense of how much these needed repairs will affect their costs.

2. Have a termite inspection to prove to buyers that the property is not infested.

3. Get a pre-sale home inspection so you'll be able to make repairs before buyers become concerned and cancel a contract.

4. Gather together warranties and guarantees on the furnace, appliances, and other items that will remain with the house.

5. Fill out a disclosure form provided by your sales associate. Take the time to be sure that you don't forget problems, however minor, that might create liability for you after the sale.

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10 Tips for Holding a Yard Sale

Use a yard sale to reduce the clutter in your home and get rid of items you donít want to move.

1. Check with your city government to see if you need a permit or license.

2. See if neighbors want to participate and have a block sale to attract more visitors.

3. Advertise. Put an ad in free classified papers, put up signs and balloons at major intersections and in stores near your home.

4. Price items ahead and attach prices with removable stickers. Remember, yard sales are supposed to be bargains, so don't try to sell anything of significant value this way.

5. Check items before the sale to be sure you haven't included something you want by mistake.

6. Keep pets away from the sale.

7. Display everything neatly and individually so customers don't have to dig through boxes.

8. Have an electrical outlet so buyers can test appliances.

9. Have plenty of bags and newspaper for wrapping fragile items.

10. Get enough change, and keep a close eye on your cash.

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Tips for Pricing Your Home

• Consider comparables. What have other homes in your neighborhood sold for recently? How do they compare to yours in terms of size, upkeep, and amenities?

• Consider competition. How many other houses are for sale in your area? Are you competing against new homes?

• Consider your contingencies. Do you have special concerns that would affect the price youíll receive? For example, do you want to be able to move in four months?

• Obtain a CMA from your realtor to determine the fair market value and listing price for your home.

• Be accurate. Studies show that homes priced more than 3 percent over the correct price take longer to sell.

• Know what youíll take. It's critical to know what price you'll accept before beginning a negotiation with a buyer.

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10 Ways to Make Your House More Salable

1. Get rid of clutter. Throw out or file stacks of newspapers and magazines. Pack away most of your small decorative items. Store out-of-season clothing to make closets seem roomier. Clean out the garage.

2. Wash your windows and screens to let more light into the interior.

3. Keep everything extra clean. Wash fingerprints from light switch plates. Mop and wax floors. Clean the stove and refrigerator. A clean house makes a better first impression and convinces buyers that the home has been well cared for.

4. Get rid of smells. Clean carpeting and drapes to eliminate cooking odors, smoke, and pet smells. Open the windows.

5. Put higher wattage bulbs in light sockets to make rooms seem brighter, especially basements and other dark rooms. Replace any burnt-out bulbs.

6. Make minor repairs that can create a bad impression. Small problems such as sticky doors, torn screens, cracked caulking, or a dripping faucet may seem trivial, but they'll give buyers the impression that the house isn't well maintained.

7. Tidy your yard. Cut the grass, rake the leaves, trim the bushes, and edge the walks. Put a pot or two of bright flowers near the entryway.

8. Patch holes in your driveway and reapply sealant, if applicable.

9. Clean your gutters.

10. Polish your front doorknob and door numbers.

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5 Ways to Speed Up Your Sale

1. Price it right. Set a price at the lower end of your property's realistic price range.

2. Get your house market ready for at least two weeks before you begin showing it.

3. Be flexible about showings. It's often disruptive to have a house ready to show on the spur of the moment, but the more often someone can see your home, the sooner you'll find a buyer.

4. Be ready for the offers. Decide in advance what price and terms you'll find acceptable.

5. Don't refuse to drop the price. If your home has been on the market for more than 30 days without an offer, be prepared to lower your asking price.

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7 Steps to Preparing for an Open House

1. Hire a cleaning service. A spotlessly clean home is essential; dirt will turn off a prospect faster than anything.

2. Mow your lawn, and be sure toys and yard equipment are put away.

3. Serve cookies, coffee, and soft drinks. It creates a welcoming touch. But be sure the kitchen has been cleaned up; use disposable cups so the sink doesn't fill up.

4. Lock up your valuables, jewelry, and money. Although the real estate salesperson will be on site during the open house, it's impossible to watch everyone all the time.

5. Turn on all the lights. Even in the daytime, incandescent lights add sparkle.

6. Send your pets to a neighbor or take them outside. If that is not possible, crate them or confine them to one room (a basement or bath), and let the salesperson know where to find them.

7. Leave. It is awkward for prospective buyers to look in your closets and express their opinions of your home with you there.

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10 Ways to Make Your Home Irresistible at an Open House

1. Put fresh or silk flowers in principal rooms for a touch of color.

2. Add a new shower curtain, fresh towels, and new guest soaps to every bath.

3. Set out potpourri or fresh baked goods for a homey smell.

4. Set the table with pretty dishes and candles.

5. Buy a fresh doormat with a clever saying.

6. Take one or two major pieces of furniture out of every room to create a sense of spaciousness.

7. Put away kitchen appliances and personal bathroom items to give the illusion of more counter space.

8. Lay a fire in the fireplace. Or put a basket of flowers there if it is not in use.

9. Depersonalize the rooms by putting away family photos, mementos, and distinctive artwork.

10. Turn on the sprinklers for 30 minutes to make the lawn sparkle.

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What You'll Net at Closing

To find out how much money youíll net from your house, add up your closing costs and subtract them from the sale price of the house.

Closing Costs for Sellers:

Mortgage payoff and outstanding interest.
Prorations for real estate taxes.
Prorations for utility bills, condo dues, and other items paid in arrears.
Closing fees charged by closing specialist.
Title policy fees.
Home inspections.
Attorney's fees.
Survey charge.
Transfer tax or other government registration fees.
Brokerage commission.

Total

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