Steps to Selling a Home

null

Selling a Home

Getting a home ready to sell takes plenty of work—of both the physical and the paper variety—and you’re bound to have plenty of questions. We’ve found Web sites with reliable answers and guidance to help you smoothly and quickly through the process, and even offer advice if you fear losing your home to foreclosure.

Steps to Selling a Home

Selling your home is a busy time (and on top of it all, you’re also planning a move). But it’s important to start with some real estate basics before jumping into the market. Online tutorials and news and commentary sites can arm you with the knowledge you need to feel confident during the selling process.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • Remember that sites on the Web may provide only a very general overview of the home selling process across the United States. Individual states have their own particular real estate laws and requirements, so it’s important to be familiar with the specifics where you live. FindLaw has a page of property and real estate laws in each state. Also check your state’s official Web site for real estate laws (use USA.gov to find your state’s site).

Dulcinea's Picks

For a real estate glossary …
For reviews of the home selling process …
For information about home appraisals …
Back to Top

Should I Sell My Home?

It can be hard to tell whether now is a good time to sell your home or if you should wait for market conditions to get better. The trustworthy Web sites in this section can help you gauge the best time to put a “for sale” sign on the lawn.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • Read the financial or real estate sections of national and local newspapers to get a sense of the real estate market nationally and where you live. That may help improve your decision about when to sell your home. Many newspapers have their own Web sites; find the Web address by checking your favorite search engine or by using the U.S. Newspaper List.
  • Also check Realty Times and other sites recommended in the Real Estate News and Blogs section of this guide for current market information.

Dulcinea's Picks

Back to Top

Sell Your Home Yourself or Hire a Realtor?

Selling a home isn’t easy and it involves a lot of paperwork no matter how you go about it. Those who want reassurance that everything has been done correctly may benefit from having a realtor sell their home. People interested in saving a little money might decide the best option is selling their home themselves. Either way, we’ve found some of the best resources on the Web to help you make an educated decision about which option is right for you.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • Most realtors have their own Web sites, making the Internet a great place to start shopping around for an agent who can help you sell your home.
  • If you’re unsure about the legitimacy of an online home listing site or realtor, look it up on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) Web site.
  • Classified ads in your local newspaper or on Craigslist are a great place to list homes for sale. To find the Web site of your local paper just type the paper’s name into a search engine like Google or Ask.com or search for it at the U.S. Newspaper List.
  • Selling a home may be a particularly emotional process for senior citizens who have lived there for many years. It’s important to ensure that those emotions don’t get in the way of a home sale and cause important steps in the process to be overlooked. Senior Citizen’s Guide published “7 Costly Mistakes To Avoid When Selling Your Home,” that urges caution in making sure seniors are still aware of all details in a home sale, such as finding a credible realtor and understanding the financial costs of home sales.

Dulcinea's Picks

To weigh your options …
To learn about brokers and realtors …
To sell your home yourself …
Back to Top

Financial and Legal Aspects of Selling a Home

Selling a home requires a lot of paperwork and will likely have important tax consequences as well. Make sure you understand all details of this busy time and what’s required of you as the seller by using the Web sites we’ve included in this section.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • Beware of paid versus natural search results when you look for legal information on the Internet. Particularly in the legal field, paid search results (which typically appear above and/or to the side of natural search results, and are usually noted as “sponsored” or “partners”) will likely have more advertising gimmicks than legitimate material. Consumer Reports WebWatch offers these tips on improving the chances that the results you find will be credible.
  • If you have questions or are uncertain during any point in the process of selling your home, consult with an attorney or a real estate agent to ensure things progress correctly. To find an attorney who handles real estate matters, check the FindLaw Web site. Make sure you also look at the information under the “Real Estate” tab.
  • Generally, the responsibility of having a home inspected falls to the home buyer. However, learning beforehand what an inspector will look for can help you fix any problems that could delay your sale. We’ve included some home inspection sites in this section of the guide.
  • If you need to speak with your state’s land title association during a home sale, use the American Land Title Association page to find links to state affiliate Web sites.

Dulcinea's Picks

For information about real estate lawyers …
For home inspection and title information …
For contract and closing information …
For tax information …
Back to Top

Show Your Home

One of your best bets to selling your home quickly is to clean up as much as possible and complete those little repairs you’ve been saving for later. Buyers want to know that a home has been well maintained and cared for, and your efforts now will pay off in the long run. Use the Web sites in this section to learn where to get started.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • If you obtain home repair advice from a message board, remember to take this information with a grain of salt. Generally, anyone can post to these boards and the advice you receive might not be reputable. Check for sites with moderators who are construction professionals.
  • Consult with an area realtor or use their Web site to learn what you can do to improve the appearance of your home. A local professional may have a few “tricks of the trade” that are especially helpful for selling a home in your area.

Dulcinea's Picks

For cleaning tips …
For home remodeling and repair tips …
For advice on home staging and curb appeal …
Back to Top

If Your Home Isn’t Selling

Despite your best efforts, your home might not sell quickly, and it may be due to matters within or beyond your control. Find out what you can do to get things moving with the help of the sites we’ve recommended in this section.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • If your home is overpriced, or you’re having problems in the negotiation phase, remember that the art of negotiation isn’t specific to selling a home. When researching negotiation tactics, look beyond real estate sites; if an article is offering advice for boardroom negotiation tactics, you may find it just as useful if you can apply its principles to your home-selling negotiations.
  • Read a bit about market trends and the recent sale history of houses in the neighborhood you are selling in. Public records can be found online and this information may save you from overpricing. Find housing market news and commentary sites in the “Steps to Selling a Home” section of this guide.
  • You’ll have to think about interest rates when you’re trying to settle on a purchase price for your home, as they can greatly affect buyers’ budgets. We’ve included a site that lists current rates, updated weekly.

Dulcinea's Picks

If you have neighborhood problems …
For help making sense of the housing market …
Back to Top

When You Are Facing Foreclosure

For those whose financial circumstances may necessitate the quick sale of their home, it’s especially important to take a step back and make sure you understand the home selling process as well as possible. Before you jump into anything, however, read through these Web sites, which can help you determine whether you might be able to keep your home after all.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • Although the Web is a good starting point to get a basic understanding of your options, you should always consult your lender or other financial professional when making a decision about whether it is possible to keep your home.
  • Be very cautious of any financial counselors you choose, as there’s an endless supply of scammers looking to prey on people who are in financial trouble and want a “quick fix” to their problems. Check with the Better Business Bureau to see if a particular counseling agency is reputable, and be wary of any firms that contact you unsolicited, especially via e-mail.
  • Government Web sites (indicated by a “.gov” in the URL) are among the most reputable sources of housing and financial information you’ll find on the Web.
  • Much like when you choose a real estate agent, you should be selective about any companies that offer you a quick sale of your home. Immediate cash offers are often very low.

Dulcinea's Picks

For tips about avoiding foreclosure …
For options other than foreclosure …
Back to Top

Real Estate News and Blogs

Following news and developments in the real estate market helps build your knowledge as you prepare to sell your home. We’ve found reliable news and commentary sites that may expand your understanding of the real estate market.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • It’s particularly important when you read a real estate blog to check the credentials of the blog’s author or authors. Most blogs have an “about the author” section; if the information you find is sparse or questionable, the blog’s content may be questionable as well.
  • Beware of the many Web sites and publications that offer industry analysis/advice may really be shady investment vehicles. The “About Us” section of a site is a good place to verify author credibility (the absence of such a section could be a sign that the site isn’t legitimate).

Dulcinea's Picks

Back to Top

Most Recent Guides