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Selling Your Home

First impressions are probably more important in selling your house than almost any other factor, except the price. So when you put the house on the market, it will pay to get it in tiptop shape. Deciding to let a reputable real estate agent sell your home is a wise decision.

Real estate is a field where it pays to use the services of a professional. Real estate agents can save you time, get the most money for your property, and can help with details you probably wouldn't consider.

The following information gives you tips on how to price your home, how to ready your home for sale, and how to find a buyer.

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 awhile.

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.

Bargaining

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.

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 efforts 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 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. So the professionals at Monroe have prepared 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.

Outside

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
Clean/polish floors
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

Kitchen

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, toilet
Replace toilet seat
Clean shower curtain

Bedrooms

Make beds
Use most attractive bedspread, curtains

Living room/den

Plump 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

Let the 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 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 you against past claims or title faults and makes your home safely yours. It protects your ownership against financial loss. Monroe Title Insurance Corporation can protect your real estate investments with unparalleled strength and security. This long-standing service is a reflection of our dedication and commitment to delivering quality service to the real estate community. So be sure to tell your broker that you want your investment protected with an owner's title insurance policy from Monroe.


  Copyright 2006 by Monroe Title Insurance Corporation