A Assess market conditions. Buyer's Market? Seller's Market? The economy of the region, time of year, new construction starts, rental prices, and supply and demand all play a role in market conditions.
B Broadcast your house sale to everyone you know. Mention it to your coworkers, the postman, friends... everyone. With 6 million home sales nationally each year, you never know who is looking to buy.
C Click on http://www.zillow.com to check out sales in your neighborhood or similar neighborhoods.
D Disclosing your property's defects can prevent difficulties late in
the final negotiation of your home sale and prevent a lawsuit based on misrepresentation. Most buyers today insist on having a thorough home inspection and expect your home to be in good working order. Although it is not required by Massachusetts law, some real estate franchises require the completion of seller's property disclosure forms (in part to protect their brokers and agents). Some buyers decide that an 'ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure' even though their state does not require completion.
E E-mail can save you lots of time and creates a record of your communication. Some buyers prefer to use e-mail over other methods of contact because they don't want to talk directly to sellers or agents to find out particular information.
F Find the original deed and get a current copy of the tax bill. You will need both of them to help complete the paperwork for the sale of your home. (Ask for a "field card" at your town or city hall assessor's office).
G Gather all the family photographs and personal mementos that could prevent buyers from envisioning themselves as the homeowners. Depersonalize, get rid of clutter, and freshen the house with paint in neutral colors.
H Highlight the positive features of your home. What made you fall in love with your house? Make sure you emphasize them on fact sheets and mention them to agents and buyers.
I Invite real estate agents to give you a "CMA", comparative market analysis. Level with them if you plan to do a "For Sale By Owner" though. Agents know that many people try it on their own for a period of time before they list with an agent.
J Jump in the car and do some errands or take a drive when agents want to show your home. Buyers prefer to look at homes when the owners are not there. They feel more comfortable and can take their time viewing your home.
K Keep track of all potential buyers who visit your home. You can use a nice sign-in book (recycle it later as a journal) or just a list for sign-in that as a place for their telephone number, e-mail and/or address.
L Locate warranties for appliances, repair bills, and other documents that will impress home buyers that you have maintained your home. Many home buyers are grateful for the names of good contractors and services in the area and will appreciate your thoughtfulness.
M Make your to-do list and be realistic about how long it will take to get things spruced up before you put your house on the market. Start with a spring or fall cleaning (get rid of the clutter) and then get out the tools for fix-up. Call the professionals right away for anything you can't tackle.
N Negotiate in a business-like manner. Don't let your emotions take over and say something you will regret later. Always be polite, even in response to a low-ball offer. Many Americans are not used to 'haggling' and find it uncomfortable.
O Online help is just a click away.... Use Google to find websites for mortgages, moving, inspection, relocation, etc.
P Print up Fact Sheets about your home, community and schools. Don't take for granted that buyers know all about the area because they are looking at your house. Relocating transferees are especially thankful for the extra information as they scurry from house to house during their trip to the area.
Q Query real estate agents about the financial qualifications of potential buyers as soon as they show some serious interest. Good agents will have that information already. You don't want to take your home off the market for someone who cannot afford it.
R Raise the shades, turn up the lights, and air out the house. Everyone wants "Light, bright, and Open". Do your best to make your house match their wishes.
S Silence pets and kids for all house showings. House hunters need to be able to imagine themselves living in your home. That's hard to do if they are distracted by an active household.
T Turn your attention to the 'curb appeal' of your home. Spend some money on decorative touches like pots of flowers, door arrangements, a new mailbox, porch furniture. Spend some elbow grease on cleaning and fresh paint (time consuming but cheap!)
U Use the bulletin boards in public places and businesses that allow it to post information about your house for sale. Post your house sale on web sites for For Sale By Owners or free classified ads. (Determine if there are any costs before posting).
V Validate all of the information on your fact sheet and listing sheet. An inaccurate entry can give a home buyer ammunition to back out of the deal. Imagine finding out the lot size or gross living area is lower than stated... they may wonder what else is misrepresented. Whether they walk away or buy, you don't want to be accused of the biggest cause for lawsuits, misrepresentation.
W Weigh all offers by considering price AND terms. The closing date, request for repairs and inclusion/exclusion of appliances or furnishings can add or subtract dollar value from the sale price of your home. For example, if you pay extra mortgage payments for space you are not living in, or conversely, have to find expensive short term housing, it effects your 'net.'
X Xamine your "net" after all expenses of your sale. Start with a full price offer, deduct commissions and listing fees. This will be your best case scenario and consider yourself lucky if you get full price. Now look at your worst case scenario and calculate your net with the lowest price you will take
Y Yield to small concessions in the negotiating process that let's the other side feel as though they won something. Believers in the "win-win" philosophy of negotiation know that both sides want to feel as though they did a good job in their negotiation.
Z Zero in on the competition. Try to find out everything you can about the houses up for sale that are similar in price, style, etc. to your house. The buyers will be comparing what you are offering to all the other houses so it pays to be "in the know".