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Once you have decided to try to sell your home, the next big decision you will face is whether you want to sell it yourself of go through a real estate broker. The broker usually charges 5% to 7% of the selling price for her services. However, realtors know the local market, can help you determine a reasonable selling price, and save you a lot of the hassle involved if you sell it yourself.

In selecting a broker, invite several real estate brokers to tell you what they would deem to be a fair selling price and explain their commissions and fees. They'll probably do this for free. You will also want to ask about their past experience in the area.

Most home sales are through agents and brokers. But if the market is a "sellers market", if your home is sharp, perhaps you will want to try selling it yourself.

Is Fix-Up Necessary Before Listing?

It doesn't hurt to do minor repairs and cosmetic touch-ups prior to showing your home to potential buyers. We hear a lot about "curb appeal" -- how a house appears from the street. Is it attractive enough for a buyer to even want to come in and look? If there are major repair problems, you may have to lower your price in the end. Maybe what you think is important to do to fix up the house will not appeal to the buyer -- she'd rather do it to suit her own taste.

How Much Should You Charge?

By definition, the value of any asset is whatever a buyer and seller can agree upon when both parties have access to all the relevant facts. With homes there are several ways to get a "starting point" from which to begin this process.

A good first step is to see what similar houses in similar locations in your community have sold for in the recent past. A local real estate agent will also have a lot of information about recent sales in your area. Don't be overly impressed by the "asking price" of comparable homes, look to actual "sales prices" as your best guides. You may also want to enlist the help of a professional home appraiser -- for a cost of between $200 and $400 an appraiser will prepare a detailed evaluation of the estimated value of your home.

What If Nothing Happens?

If it is the economy -- national or local -- you can't do much about it. If no one is expressing any interest in your home, or it simply does not sell, you could consider the following:

  • Lower your asking price.
  • Make some obvious repairs or upgrades.
  • Change real estate agents.
  • Try selling the house yourself.
  • Offer to finance all or part of the purchase price yourself.

Selling your home may take time and patience, but it deserves your most detailed attention as it is one of the largest transactions you will undertake in your financial life.

Posted 10:30 AM  View Comments

Tags: finances, home
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