Selling Dos and Don'ts

Get out that sold sign -- these selling tips will make your property a hot commodity.

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Don't do major renovations before selling.

Huge construction projects aren't likely to bring you a big return when you sell. Small changes that play up your home's assets are more likely to increase your sale price.

Do provide easy access for showings.

Selling your home is all about getting buyers through the door, so don't make any aspect of the process hard on house hunters. Declutter your house so you can be ready for a showing at a moment's notice, and make your home available to buyers and agents for as much time as possible each day. And don't forget about the little things, like easy access to parking. If a buyer is looking at several similar listings, small things could push your home to the top of the list.

Do market your home in different ways.

Almost 80 percent of home searches start on the Internet, so why not finish them there too? In lieu of the traditional method of selling through a real estate agent, some home sellers are turning to the Web to sell their homes. If you choose to sell with a Realtor, make sure their marketing plan extends to the Internet with virtual tours, photos and more.

Do showcase your home's best features.

Your house's furnishings suit you fine, but your beloved rooster wallpaper might not appeal to the masses. Look at your house from a buyer's perspective, and make minor enhancements to put its best foot forward.

Do research before you go it alone.

Faced with the prospect of forking over a hefty sales commission, you may find the "for sale by owner" (FSBO) route pretty tempting. Still, selling by owner isn't as easy as sticking a sign in your yard and waiting for the offers to roll in -- according to the National Association of Realtors, fewer than 10 percent of home sales are open-market FSBOs.

It is possible to sell your house on your own, but it might not be as easy as you imagine. Before you decide to ditch the agent, learn how to steer clear of the most common snags.

Don't try to make the hard sell.

No one knows your home better than you, but that doesn't mean you should stick around to show it to buyers. Buyers need to critically examine a property before they can decide to buy it or not, and it's difficult for most buyers to talk frankly with their agent if the seller is listening in.

Don't wait until spring to sell.

Spring is the heaviest time for sales, but that doesn't mean people don't buy homes 365 days a year. Whatever season you choose, make the most of your home's seasonal amenities during that time.

Don't set your sale price too high.

Your house is only worth what people will pay for it. Research recent home sales to make sure you're pricing your home correctly. You may miss a boatload of potential buyers if they think your home is out of their price range.

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