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Selling my home. How do I get started?

Selling my home. How do I get started?

If you’re selling your home, you’ve likely been through the buying process before. That means you already know about the value of asking questions, doing your research and making informed decisions.

There’s one thing that buying and selling have in common: finding the right sales representative to guide you through the process. It’s important to consider your needs and expectations, because real estate brokerages can offer varying levels of service. A “full service” arrangement can include everything from a customized marketing strategy for your home, professional photos for the listing, conducting showings and open houses, negotiating with prospective buyers and more.

On the other hand, in a minimal service arrangement the brokerage might simply post the listing on the MLS system. But there’s a lot of middle-ground between full-service and minimal service. Discuss your needs and expectations with your sales representative in detail, and get everything in writing.

If any of your friends or family have sold a home recently, they can be a great source of referrals. Talk to them about their experiences and identify a few potential candidates. Meet with those sales representatives to ask about their sales strategy and gauge their knowledge of the local area. You may consider asking them to present a competitive market analysis, which will show what similar properties have sold for to give you an idea of what sales price you can expect.

Once you’ve found someone who is a good fit, you might be eager to sign on the dotted line. But first, take a little time to check their references, and use the “real estate professional search” tool.

The real estate professional you’ve selected will ask you to sign a seller representation or “listing” agreement. This is a legally binding contract between you and the brokerage where your representative works. It’s not something to be taken lightly. Before you sign, read the agreement in full and check that the important details you discussed verbally are included. If there’s something you are unsure about or don’t understand, discuss it with your representative or their manager. Consider speaking with your lawyer, if you have concerns about the rights and obligations in the agreement.

Before you bought your home, you probably attended a few showings and open houses. Now that you’re the seller, you’ll be the one hosting prospective buyers. When people talk about open houses they tend to focus on how to make a home more attractive by removing clutter, using a home staging service, and so forth. But with a large number of people moving through your home, it’s equally important to think about security. Before open houses and showings, be sure to remove and securely store your valuables, including jewelry, small electronics, financial statements, credit card receipts, prescription medications or other valuables that could be picked up easily.

As with buying, selling a home can be an emotional experience. Depending how long you have been in the home or the significant life events you may have experienced in the home, leaving a home can have the feeling of losing a member of the family. Being informed and having the right professionals by your side will help make the process a little easier.