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Selling a home can be a stressful process. Sellers need to be prepared to get their house ready, close the deal, and everything in between. These frequently asked questions will help you plan out the process so you don’t miss a beat.

When is the best time to sell my house?

There isn’t a set answer to this question because it varies from place to place. Although data throughout the years has shown that spring is the best time for selling a home, it’s best to discuss this with your realtor; they will have a better knowledge of the local market. Fall and winter can also be great times to sell due to lower competition. The important thing to remember is that someone will always be looking for a home.

How much work needs to be done before putting my house on the market?

This all depends on the level of wear and tear your home has experienced. You will want to present your house in the best shape possible. Decide early on which things can be repaired and which things should be upgraded. A fresh coat of paint and new flooring can instantly spruce up a place. You should also walk through your home and check to see if there are rotten wood doorframes, water stains on the ceiling, or cracks in the walls. You’ll also want to take care of any doors that don’t shut properly or have broken handles.

How do I find the right realtor?

Finding the right realtor is a vital step. This person will be your partner in handling one of the largest transactions of your life. You will need a realtor who is familiar with your area. Once you have selected a couple of prospective candidates, reach out to them and evaluate how quickly they respond. The best candidates respond very quickly. Ask tough questions in regards to their experience, the number of houses sold within the past year, and the ratio of listing price to actual sale price for their listings. You also need to find out the marketing strategies they will use to sell your home. Don’t assume that the cheapest realtor is the best choice. You want someone who demonstrates confidence in asserting what their services are worth. It will be a good indication of the agent's negotiating skills.

How much commission do realtors make?

Typically, realtors make around 7% of the home’s sale price. This percentage is also shared with the buyer's agent. It is important to note that realtors do not get paid unless they succeed in selling a home.

How much is my home worth?

The value of your home will depend on the size, neighborhood, current upgrades, and other factors. You will need to do some research on the sale price of homes in your area that are similar in size. It is important to look only at homes that were sold within the last six to 12 months. If you have made major renovations to your home, they may increase its value. A discussion with a local realtor is the best way to arrive at a fair and realistic price. There is a common misconception that setting a slightly higher price is a good strategy as it allows room to go down, but setting a higher price may result in your home spending more time on the market. On the other hand, fixing the price slightly lower may result in more bids, allowing you to increase your sale price. Remember, a listing price is the price at which your home is listed for sale. A sale price is the actual price at which the home was sold. A good realtor will set a listing price that is close to the final sale price.

Can I determine how much my home is worth on a website?

The short answer is no. Third party real estate sites provide estimates of home values across the United States using generic formulas. A realtor who knows the local market will have a much better idea of your home's value than an online company based thousands of miles away. Sellers who use online value estimates risk frustration and unrealistic expectations.

What are common closing expenses for home sellers?

There are a number of fees associated with closing on a house. Typical expenses include settlement/closing fee, abstract or title search fee, attorney fee, title insurance, state recording stamps on deed fee, lien/municipal search fee, recording fee, document/courier/wire fee, homeowners association estoppel fee, county property taxes, brokerage commission fee, and other seller contributions. Depending on your geographical location, some of these charges may not be necessary, or you may be responsible for additional expenses.

Should I be present when buyers are viewing my house?

It may seem that being present is a good idea since you know your own house the best. However, buyers tend to feel intimidated when the owner is present. The may not feel free to ask certain questions or address certain concerns. It’s best to leave the viewing up to the to the agent and let them report back to you.

How do I get ready to close?

Once you have agreed to the final sale price and other terms, the buyer will conduct a home inspection, and then, barring the discovery of any major structural or safety issues, will proceed to obtain final mortgage approval. Make sure any last minute details that you agreed to are complete before closing is done. Working in concert with your attorney, your realtor will arrange everything.

How do I prepare to leave?

The final step in selling a home is moving out. Once the documents have been signed, the buyer legally owns the home. By then, all your belongings should be moved out unless you have come to an agreement that allows you a couple of days. Make sure you don’t leave anything behind. It’s common courtesy to leave the home broom clean.