Seller’s Tips

Seller’s Checklist

Refer to this handy list to get you through the selling process.

1. Gauge your need to sell.

  • Define your goals for the next 5-10 years.
  • Weigh the pros and cons of selling your house.
  • Figure out if you can afford to sell, move and buy a new home.
  • Calculate your home equity.
  • Research the local housing market.
  • Consider remodeling the home to fit your needs.
  • Weigh the pros and cons of renting out your home.

2. Calculate your selling expenses.

  • List the repairs and projects you’ll have to do to get your home in selling condition and estimate the costs of hiring supplies and contractors.
  • See what projects you can afford and adjust how much you expect to get for selling your home.
  • To get top dollar, consider remodeling projects and green upgrades that increase your home value.
  • Expect to pay about 7 percent to 10 percent of the home’s sale price in closing costs, including real estate agent commissions, transfer taxes and prorated property taxes.

And factor in these costs:

  • Professional home inspection
  • Capital gains tax
  • Mortgage payoff penalties
  • Staging and marketing expenses
  • Moving expenses
  • Cost of living in new city or neighborhood
  • Costs related to getting a mortgage for new home

3. Plan your selling strategy.

  • Determine how fast you need to sell your house and how much money you want to get from the sale.
  • Interview at least three reputable real estate brokers and list your home on the multiple listing service (MLS).
  • Weigh the pros and cons of selling the home yourself.
  • Learn how to go about selling your home yourself.
  • Consider a physical or online auction for a quick sale in a slow market.
  • Look into home-swapping opportunities online.
  • Plan your sale during the spring or fall peak homebuying seasons.
  • If you go FSBO (For Sale By Owner), hire a real estate agent or attorney.
  • If you hire a listing agent, negotiate terms of your listing contract, such as commissions and termination date.
  • Determine your home’s strengths and unique features and promote them in all advertising.

4. Determine your home’s fair market value (FMV) and set a price.

  • Research public records and collect information on comps — comparable homes in your area with similar square footage, construction, age and condition that sold within the past six months and are currently on the market.
  • Browse listings for homes for sale in your area to get a sense of what is on the market and current home prices.
  • Ask your agent to prepare a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) report.
  • Find out about new construction and foreclosures in your area.
  • Figure out the average cost per square foot for your area, and make sure your home is in line with it.
  • Evaluate market trends, including whether it’s a buyer’s or seller’s market.
  • Use your FMV to determine your asking price. Consider pricing strategies such as pricing low to urge a bidding war or Value Range Marketing.

5. Advertise and market the home.

  • “For Sale” signs
  • Classified sections of local newspapers
  • Real estate publications
  • Put ads on free Web sites like
  • Create your own Web site to promote your home.
  • Email notices or flyers about your home to real estate agents, friends, family, coworkers, everyone.
  • Use photos to showcase your home. Hire a professional real estate photographer or learn how to take great pictures yourself.
  • Use a handheld video camera to give online buyers a virtual tour of your home, by walking through each room and talking about its features.