Buyers’ FAQs

Where do I start?

Buying a home is an exciting proposition. For most people, it’s not an impulse decision. You might want to spend some time driving around neighborhoods, looking at homes for sale in the newspaper and on Web sites, and talking to your friends about their home buying experiences.

After a while, you will get a general idea of where you want to live, what styles of homes you like, and how much homes cost in the areas you like.

What do I do when I’m ready to start looking at houses?

First, you need to figure out how much you can afford. Then, determine the most important elements of the home you hope to buy. The combination of these two pieces of information will help you determine where to start your search.

Your REALTOR® can help you compile a list of houses in your price range that meet the requirements on your wish list. The REALTOR® will then arrange for you to view those properties.

Finding a home you like is the fun part, but it’s only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. A REALTOR® can help you through each step of the process, giving you information to help you make better decisions.

How do I find a REALTOR®?

Recommendations from friends and acquaintances can be very helpful. You can also look in the Texas Association of REALTORS® “Find a REALTOR®” search or contact your local board of REALTORS® for a directory of their members.

Remember, not all real estate agents and brokers are REALTORS®. Find out the difference.

How should I choose a REALTOR®?

You may want to contact several REALTORS® before deciding on one to help you. Make sure you are comfortable dealing with that person—you will be working with him or her for quite some time.

Some REALTORS® specialize in certain areas of real estate, and many have completed advanced educational requirements in those areas. You may be interested in working with a REALTOR® who has achieved a designation such as Accredited Buyer Representative, Certified Residential Specialist, or Graduate, REALTOR® Institute. Read about the various REALTOR® designations.

Do I have to use a REALTOR®?

No. Before you choose to go it alone, though, make sure you are prepared to handle all aspects of this complex transaction. After all, if you make an offer that is too high, negotiate poorly, fail to exercise options available to you, or any number of other mistakes, you could potentially lose much more than you would save by doing it yourself.

Planning The Move

It’s really never too soon to begin planning for a move. The planning process means a lot of organizing. If you plan well, the whole process can be much easier to handle. Your new home is well worth the effort. You should start your moving process at least 8 weeks before the actual day. Here is a helpful checklist and timetable to make your move a little easier.

This checklist is a great way to involve the entire family in the move and to spread some of the responsibilities to each person, including your children.

Eight weeks before moving:

  • Go through the garage, basement and attic and dispose of those things you know you won’t need in your new home. Anything not being moved should be sold at a garage sale or donated to charity.
  • Obtain a mail subscription to the local paper in your new community to familiarize yourself with local government, community, and social news and activities.
  • Call at least three different moving companies for estimates. If you prefer to handle the move yourself, contact rental truck companies for details.
  • Begin to inventory and evaluate your possessions.
  • Place all of your valuables in a safety deposit box (so you know where they are while packing).
  • Start to use up things you can’t move, such as frozen foods and cleaning supplies.

Six weeks before moving:

  • Start packing what you can.
  • If you’re moving at an employer’s request, verify what expenses and responsibilities are theirs and which are yours.
  • Contact the IRS and/or your accountant for information on what moving expenses may be tax-deductible.
  • Arrange for copies of medical, dental and other professional records to be sent to your new location.
  • Obtain copies of eyeglass and medical prescriptions.
  • Register your children for school and arrange for transcripts to be forwarded to the new school.
  • Open a bank account and establish credit at your new location.
  • Start making travel plans. If you belong to a club or organization that provides travel advisory services, contact them soon.
  • Make a list of those you want to notify of your change of address (magazine publishers, insurance companies, national credit card companies, brokers, attorneys, relatives and friends).
  • Cancel/transfer memberships in religious, civic, social and fraternal organizations.
  • Have your car checked and serviced for the trip.
  • Locate all auto licensing and registration documents.
  • If some of your goods are to be stored, make the necessary arrangements now.
  • Ask your veterinarian about shipping pets and get record of inoculations.

Four weeks before moving:

  • Close all local charge accounts and destroy any credit cards you won’t need in your new location.
  • Notify utility companies of the date you want service discontinued or transferred to new owner and request refund of any deposits.
  • Notify the post office of your move date and arrange for the first class mail to be forwarded. Send out change of address cards.
  • Find out the requirements for driver’s license and auto registration in your new location, if you are moving out of state.
  • Discontinue home delivery of newspapers and any other home delivery items.
  • Return library books, video’s, and other borrowed articles. Retrieve any items you may have loaned out.
  • Contact insurance companies (auto, homeowner’s, medical, and life) to arrange for coverage in your new home.
  • If you’re packing yourself, purchase packing boxes from your local mover. Pack items that you won’t be needing in the next month.
  • Plan a garage sale to sell unneeded items or arrange to donate them to charity.

Two weeks before moving:

  • Collect important papers (insurance, will,deeds, stock, etc.).
  • Continue to pack, pack, pack !!!

The week before moving:

  • Retrieve valuables from safety deposit box and close your bank accounts.
  • Arrange to take valuables with you or send ahead by registered mail. Movers will not take valuables such as money, securities, stamp or coin collections and jewelry.
  • Set aside toys and games children might want to have with them on the trip.
  • Set aside items that you want to be given special handling by the mover.
  • Prepare a list of those things you want to “load last,” so you can get them first during unloading.
  • Dispose of any flammable or combustible materials. The mover will not take materials such as gasoline, paint thinner, ammunition.
  • Pick up articles of clothing at the cleaners.
  • Service all small gas-powered vehicles/appliances. Drain oil and gas from snowmobiles, power mowers, etc. for fire prevention while moving.
  • Determine at least one entire room for movers and packers to work uninhibited.
  • Organize manuals and instructions of your former home for the new buyer.
  • Give away any plants not being moved.
  • Arrange for transportation of houseplants yourself, many moving companies will not handle them for you.
  • Plan special needs for children and pets.

The day before moving:

  • The packing crew usually arrives the day before the van is loaded. Be sure someone is on hand to supervise the packing. Never leave until the packers have. You should spend the entire day at the house.
  • Pack any valuables you intend to take with you. Keep all small valuables (jewelry, vital documents, etc.) with you at all times. Or send them to your new address using Registered Mail.
  • Make sure fragile items receive special attention. Label cartons as to contents and where they go in the new home.
  • Empty, defrost, and wash out the refrigerator and freezer.
  • Notify police if your home will be unoccupied after you leave.
  • Inform friends and relatives of your planned route to your new home (all stops including major restaurants and hotels) in case of emergency.

Moving day:

  • Plan an early, simple breakfast.
  • Never leave until the movers have. You should spend the entire day at the house.
  • Oversee the inventory of your possessions, informing the movers and packers of fragile valuable items. However, don’t interfere with their jobs unless absolutely necessary.
  • Find out the Moving Truck Driver’s name and make certain he knows how to reach you at the destination. You should give him your new home phone number and emergency contact numbers (cell phone, pager, etc.). Receive his or his company’s contact number for information while en route. Receive his complete planned driving route. Accompany him to the weigh station if possible.
  • Check the mover’s inventory to see that you agree with the mover’s judgment on the condition of your household goods. Take photographs if there is a dispute.
  • Make sure you get a copy of the inventory.
  • Load those things you are taking on the trip, including luggage.
  • Search every room before the van leaves. Double . . . triple check every room and compartment within the house: all closets and cupboards, the attic, the basement, the garage, etc. Make sure nothing is left behind.
  • Check the bill of lading for completeness before you sign it. Retain a copy for your records.
  • Prepare the house for final departure by shutting off all utilities. Lock all doors and windows. Notify your Realtor, the new owner and/or your former neighbors that the house is empty.
  • Gather keys to the house and arrange to leave them with the new owners of your home, your Realtor, or a trusted neighbor.

Arrival at your new home:

  • Get there before the movers. There could be a waiting charge if you are late.
  • Contact utility companies.
  • Confirm all utilities are working including, furnace, and hot water heater, so you can contact a repairman immediately if something is not working.
  • Check household goods carefully as they are unloaded for loss or damage. List all lost or damaged items on the inventory form.
  • Since you will probably do some unpacking after the movers leave, make a note on the inventory “subject to inspection for concealed damage.”
  • Ask the mailman if he is holding any mail for your arrival.

After you move:

  • Obtain necessary licenses: driver’s, automobile, dog, etc.
  • Contact newspapers,dairy, etc., for home deliveries.
  • Register car at new address. You usually have 5 days before a penalty will be applied.
  • Register to vote. Every change of address requires a new registration.
  • Obtain new emergency phone numbers of police/fire departments and nearest hospital.

The Buying Process

Choosing a REALTOR®

Buying a home is one of the largest purchases and biggest decisions of your life. The first thing to do is to find a REALTOR® you trust. Ask your friends and relatives who have bought homes recently for their recommendations. Or, you can use the find-a-REALTOR® search to locate a REALTOR® in your area.

Before working with a REALTOR®, you should know that the duties of the REALTOR® depend on whom the REALTOR® represents.Many REALTORS® specialize as buyer’s agents, representing clients who are searching for their next home. These agents can save you time and money by researching properties based on your criteria, helping you secure the best mortgage rates, counseling you on the offer amount and terms most favorable to you, and negotiating on your behalf. For buyers, there’s really no downside to hiring a REALTOR® because the seller generally pays buyer’s-agent commissions. Many buyer’s agents have earned the Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR®) designation from the National Association of REALTORS® Real Estate BUYER’S AGENT Council.

If you choose not to use a buyer’s agent, you could negotiate directly with the listing agent representing the owner. All brokers must treat you honestly and fairly regardless of whom they represent. If you choose to have a REALTOR® represent you, you should enter into a written contract that clearly establishes the obligation of both parties and specifies how your REALTOR® will be compensated

Deciding What you Need and Want

Needs and wants list

Before you start looking, make a list of what you want and need. Once your list is made, go back over it and decide what is most important–which items are musts and which you are willing to give up. Assign each item a priority so that you will know what to look for as you begin house hunting.


Deciding where you want to live may be the single most important factor in choosing a home. Location to employment centers, shopping centers, schools, major traffic arteries, and other attractions are important and have significant influences on value.Your choice of location may be limited somewhat by the price you can afford. Even so, make sure you consider such things as:

  • prices of properties and property taxes;
  • distance to work, schools, shopping, and entertainment;
  • proposed changes in land use such as commercial shopping centers and roads, and potential hazards such as flooding and noise from a nearby airport or highways.

Type of Home and Lot

A single-family detached home typically provides more living space and land area than other types of living units and permits you greater freedom (less restrictions) to remodel, expand, paint, and alter the appearance.If you don’t like spending leisure time on yard work, consider a condo or garden (patio) home. Condos and garden homes often offer shared greenbelts and garden areas or membership in private recreational facilities such as swimming, golf, and tennis.

New vs. older homes

Pre owned homes usually have established yards, and the neighborhood or subdivision is usually built-out. On the other hand, they may require more maintenance.New homes are not without problems. Although they require less maintenance in the first few years, you may have to put in landscaping and call the builder back to correct faults. And if buildings are still active in the area, you may have to endure nearby construction.You could already have your dream home in mind. Then again, you might not know what you like until you see it. Either way, your REALTOR® will listen to your preferences and help you find the perfect home.

What Can you Afford?

There are typically three major areas of concern when deciding what you can afford: down payment, qualifying for a loan, and closing costs.

Down payment

A conventional loan typically requires a down payment. It is not uncommon for buyers to place a down payment of 10% to 20% of the purchase price. For example, on an $80,000 home, a down payment of $8,000 to $16,000 in cash may be warranted . Government-backed loans, insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and the Veterans Administration (VA) are particularly useful to first-time buyers and often require 5% or less as a down payment. Generally, a higher down payment means better loan terms and a lower interest expense on the mortgage.

Qualifying for a loan

A lender will determine how much they think you can afford. But remember, just because the lender says you can afford one price doesn’t mean that’s what you should spend. Be wise and thoroughly examine how much you should spend on a home.Be prepared to provide the lender with a two- to five- year financial history that contains the following:

  • Income–gross monthly income as well as employment history, education, and any secondary income such as bonuses, dividends, and child support. The lender may require a letter from your employer, W-2 forms, or, if you are self-employed, recent tax returns.
  • Assets–current checking account balances, savings accounts, stocks and bonds, certificates of deposit, other property, insurance policies, and pension funds.
  • Credit–debts on cars and appliances, debts on all credit cards, and history of debt repayment. Your lender may ask for a credit report, so you may want to clear up any known negative terms in advance.

Your REALTOR® can help you determine what price range and monthly payment you can afford. The monthly payment typically consists of principal, interest, taxes and insurance–PITI, for short.

Closing Costs and Other Costs

Purchasing a home involves a number services, and with them, fees. You should expect fees for appraisal, survey, inspections, hazard insurance, loan origination (lender’s administrative costs), credit report, document preparation, title search and insurance, recording fees, notary, attorney, and escrow. You will pay for some fees and the seller will pay for others. The costs will vary depending on each transaction. Most lenders will provide you with a good-faith estimate of such costs. Your REALTOR® can also help you estimate what those costs might be.

An item often confusing to first-time buyers is points. Points are interest collected in advance. One point equals 1% of the loan amount. For instance, three points on a $70,000 loan amount would be $2,100. By collecting points (interest) in advance, the lender increases his rate of return on the loan. So, if market interest rates are at 8.5% for a 30-year loan with no points a lender might offer you an alternative loan at 8% if you pay some points.

And don’t forget about utilities and maintenance. These costs will vary depending on the home you choose, but it’s a good idea to budget for them in advance.

The Offer

What to offer

A REALTOR® can help you find your perfect home, but only you can decide how much you are willing to offer for it. Ask your REALTOR® about the selling prices and marketing time of other houses in the area.Once you have determined the amount you are willing to spend, your REALTOR® will help you prepare a written offer. In most transactions you will offer to deposit earnest money with the escrow agent, showing your sincerity in making a reasonable offer and abiding by the terms of the written contract.

Contract forms

Your REALTOR® will help you prepare an offer using standard forms. The offer, if accepted, will become a binding contract. This document is the most important paper you will sign because it lays out all the terms of the transaction. It contains:

  • a legal description of the property,
  • any property that will be transferred with the home, (blinds, curtains, fireplace screens, etc.)
  • the price
  • financing conditions and contingencies
  • amount of earnest money deposit
  • name of the escrow agent and title company
  • proration of insurance, taxes, and interest
  • fees to be paid and who pays for which
  • rights to inspect the property and for repairs to be made
  • dates of closing and possession
  • what happens if either party defaults on the contract
  • Inspections and warranties

Before signing the contract, take precautions to protect yourself against unseen defects in the home. An inspection by a qualified inspector can provide you with unbiased opinions about the condition of the foundation, mechanical systems, plumbing systems, appliances, etc. If you can, accompany the inspector at the time the inspection is conducted. It’s also a good idea to get a termite and other wood-destroying insect inspection. You may also want to have your REALTOR® request that the seller furnish you with a one-year residential service contract as part of the deal. This is common practice with the purchase of existing homes (after the first year, you’ll have the option of renewing coverage at your expense) and ensures that certain items will be repaired by the company if they fail to function after you move in. If you buy a new home, the builder may offer a warranty as well. Whether you get a residential service contract or receive any other warranty, find out how claims will be processed and how any necessary repairs will be made.

Seller’s options

The REALTOR® working with you will present the contract to the seller’s agent or seller. The seller has three options: accept, reject or make a counteroffer–a rejection of the offer with a simultaneous offer from the seller to the buyer. If the seller makes a counteroffer, you then have the same three options. This process goes on until a suitable price is agreed upon by both parties.

Binding contract

Once you and the seller agree to the written terms and both of you sign, the document becomes a binding contract. Be sure that you pay close attention the terms. Otherwise, you may waive some contractual rights. The contract may also set out other contingencies that have to be satisfied, so read the contract carefully and comply with its requirements. If repairs are required, the contract will specify who will bear the cost of the repairs, who will arrange for the repairs, and when the repairs must be made. Before you close, be sure that the condition of the property meets the required condition specified in the contract.

Finding Financing

Once a contract becomes binding, you’ll probably have to arrange for financing. Depending on the terms of the contract, the purchase of the home may be contingent upon you finding the right financing.

Most home buyers get loans through savings institutions and mortgage bankers and, to a lesser extent, from commercial banks, credit unions, other private sources, or even the seller. Sellers often can offer a competitive interest rate and attractive terms. Check on specifics.

Types of loans
In general, three broad categories of loans are available:

  • Private vs. government loans. Most mortgage loans are made by savings institutions, banks and mortgage companies. Generally, a lender will require you to buy mortgage insurance, particularly if you make a low down payment. This insurance may be paid at closing or added to the loan amount. VA loans require no mortgage insurance, but only qualified veterans may apply for them. Mortgage insurance protects the lender, to a degree, in the event of default. On government (FHA and VA) loans, the government does not actually loan the money but rather guarantees (or insures) to repay the lender if you default for some reason. Government loans have important advantages–they generally require a lower down payment than conventional loans and often have a lower interest rate or points. On the down side, government loans limit the amount you can borrow, often take longer to process, and sometimes have higher closing costs.
  • Fixed rate vs. adjustable rate. On a fixed rate mortgage, the interest rate stays the same over the life of the loan, usually 15 or 30 years. That means your payment will not change except for adjustments on taxes and insurance. Adjustable rate mortgages (ARMS) have interest rates or monthly payments that can go up or down over time. These mortgages typically start out with a lower interest rate, lower monthly payments, and lower fees and points than fixed rate mortgages and often appeal to first-time home buyers, younger couples who expect their incomes to grow in the coming years, and people who might not have much cash for down payment and closing costs. If you consider an adjustable rate mortgage, ask the lender to explain the terms fully. Ask about the interest-rate cap (the maximum rate you will be charged no matter how high rates go in the market), the index that will be used to calculate future interest rates, and how index charges will affect your mortgage.
  • Assumable vs. new loan. Some loans, particularly FHA and VA loans as well as some adjustable rate mortgages, are assumable. That means a buyer can assume an existing loan usually on the same terms as the previous owner.  Assuming a loan may save some costs and time. As the buyer, you would typically pay the lender a fee at closing for processing the assumption.

The true price of financing

When shopping for a loan, don’t judge the loan by the interest rate alone. Compare several items in the entire loan package, including:

  • Points on a low-interest-rate loan can be double those for a loan with a higher interest rate, causing you to pay more up front.
  • Total fees charged by the lender. Some lenders will absorb the cost of many services, while others do not, so ask in advance.
  • Term. In general, the longer the life of the loan and the more fixed the payment, the more you can expect to pay over the life of the loan. For example, a 30-year, fixed-rate loan will cost more in interest than a 15-year, fixed-rate loan.
  • Penalties. Ask what penalties will be charged if you pay off the note early. A prepayment clause could require you to pay a penalty if you pay off the loan early, such as refinancing the loan at a later time.

Loan approval process

From the lender’s viewpoint, approving the loan, based on your financial standing, is only part of the risk; the other part is the property itself. The lender may require an appraisal to verify that the home is worth the loan as well as a physical survey to discover any encroachments on the property. Repairs may be required. Insurance must be purchased. Verifications of employment, deposits, and other matters must be obtained. Loan documentation and conveyance instruments must be drawn and approved. In addition, the title company must research the title and arrange for paying off any liens, taxes, and other costs. All these conditions and others must be satisfied before a transaction can close.

Hazard insurance

As another protection, the lender may require insurance to protect against fire and storms. (Flood insurance could be required if the house is in a flood plain.) Even if not required by a lender, it’s probably a good idea for you to consider all types of insurance.

Search to find the information you need

Closing the Deal

The closing is the end of weeks or even months of research and decision making. The closing could last less than an hour but may take longer, depending on the complexity of the transaction. It often occurs at the title company’s office. The title company officer will explain each document before you sign. You may want your attorney present as well.

Two basic kinds of documents

If buying a home were strictly a cash transaction, you would simply hand over the money and receive the deed. More than likely, however, you are borrowing money for the home, which means that you are actually making two transactions–acquiring the loan and buying the home.

  • As a borrower, you will sign a note promising to repay the loan and a deed of trust (also known as the mortgage) pledging the house (or other collateral) as security for the note. You will also sign numerous other papers including acknowledgments, disclosures, surveys, certificates, etc. Be sure to read each document carefully. Ask questions if you do not understand anything. There are no dumb questions. Seriously consider having your attorney present at closing.
  • As a home buyer, you will present a cashier’s check (or other good funds) to the seller, sign a document that itemizes closing costs (the lender will have given you an estimate in advance), and pay your share of the closing costs. In return, you will receive a deed, transferring ownership rights to you.

The home is yours

At the end of the meeting, you will likely receive keys to the property. At that moment, the home will be yours. Occasionally, possession of the property will occur after closing. For example, the seller may have negotiated with you for a few extra days after closing, or the loan will not immediately fund, or other concerns. But, in most transactions, you will be the new owner at the end of closing.

Some other points to keep in mind:

    • Buyer/seller agency. It’s important to understand who your REALTOR® represents–buyer or seller. The REALTOR® will provide you with information about representation. As a buyer you may sign a buyer representation agreement with a REALTOR®. It will discuss the scope of the REALTOR®’s representation.
    • Prepaids. You should be aware that your closing costs will include prepayment of an escrow account to cover insurance and taxes.
    • REALTORS® are required to make properties available without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, or familial status.
    • Be sure to have a property inspected by licensed inspectors to determine: a) the condition of the property (structural, mechanical, electrical items, etc.); b) any environmental conditions (asbestos, lead-based paint, toxic materials, etc.); c) wood-destroying insects; and d) other matters. Brokers are not qualified to perform such inspections.
    • Residential service contracts can offer repair to appliances, electrical, plumbing, heating, cooling, or other systems in the property.
    • Be sure to obtain a policy of title insurance or have an abstract of title reviewed by an attorney of your choice before buying a property.
    • Seek the advice of an attorney of your own choice before entering into a binding agreement.

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Sellers’ FAQs

Where do I start?

For many people, the first step they take when selling a home is to contact a REALTOR®. You also may want to do some informal research looking at ads in the paper and on the Internet to get a general idea for asking prices of homes like yours.

How do I find a REALTOR®?

Recommendations from friends and acquaintances can be very helpful. You can also look in the Texas Association of REALTORS® “Find a REALTOR®” search or contact your local board of REALTORS® for a directory of their members. Remember, not all real estate agents and brokers are REALTORS®. Find out the difference.

How should I choose a REALTOR®?

You may want to contact several REALTORS® before deciding on one to help you. Make sure you are comfortable dealing with that person—you will be working with him or her for quite some time. Some REALTORS® specialize in certain areas of real estate, and many have completed advanced educational requirements in those areas. You may be interested in working with a REALTOR® who has achieved a designation such as Accredited Buyer Representative, Certified Residential Specialist, or Graduate, REALTOR® Institute. Read about the various REALTOR® designations.

Do I have to use a REALTOR®?

No. If you sell your home by yourself, though, you will work hard for the money you hope to save. (And if you make a few bad decisions or mistakes, you may actually end up losing more money than you thought you would save.) You must determine a price that will maximize profits without overpricing the home, market your house, schedule and be available to show your home to prospective buyers, handle all negotiating, and coordinate the myriad details involved in seeing the transaction through to a successful closing. In a recent survey by the National Association of REALTORS®, 28% of people who sold their homes themselves said they would hire a real estate professional in the future, while 40% responded that they were not sure of their plans.

How do I figure out my asking price?

What is my house worth?

In short, it’s worth what a buyer is willing to pay for it. The buyer must also be able to secure financing to proceed with the purchase at that price. Factors that will influence the price of your home include its size and condition, location, and supply and demand (whether it’s a “buyer’s” or “seller’s” market in your area).
Can I get an estimate on the Internet of what my house will sell for?
There are many Web sites that promise to tell you what your house is worth. The information may not be reliable, though. It’s unlikely that the data used to determine your home’s value is as accurate, relevant, or as up-to-date as it should be to give you an accurate assessment of your home’s value.

How do I find out what my house is worth?

A REALTOR® can prepare a comparative market analysis (CMA) for you. A CMA takes information from recent home sales that are similar to your home and in the same area. You could also get a professional appraisal, which is an opinion of value based on the appraiser’s detailed look at the specs and features of your home and compared to other recent home sales.

Should I price my home higher than its value to leave room for negotiating?

You are free to set whatever price you want for your home. But many experts believe that homes priced much higher than comparable homes ultimately sell for less than if they had been priced fairly to begin with. The reason? A home that is priced too high may sit on the market for a long time with no offers. The seller finally comes down in price to generate some activity. But buyers wonder why the house has taken so long to sell, so they make offers on the home that are lower than even the now-discounted price. By contrast, a home priced fairly may generate interest from several buyers as soon as it hits the market (especially in a seller’s market), and the buyers may make higher offers in order to try to make sure their offer is the one that is accepted.

How can I find out how much money I will make on the sale of my home?

Your REALTOR® can provide an estimate of the costs associated with selling your home. The costs may vary depending on the selling price, so you might want to ask your REALTOR® to figure out the costs for two or three possible selling prices.

How will I market my house?

What will my REALTOR® do to market my house?

REALTORS® have many tools at their disposal to get the word out that your house is for sale. Among the things they may do for you are:

  • Enter your house in the multiple listing service (MLS)
  • Put a for sale sign in your yard
  • Advertise your home in the real estate section of the newspaper
  • Advertise your home on the Internet
  • Tell other agents and brokers about your home
  • Send postcards or newsletters (with a listing of your home) to prospective buyers
  • Hold an open house

What can I do to help market my house?

Word-of-mouth advertising can be very powerful. Tell everyone you know that you are selling your house. Even if the people you tell are not in the market, someone they know might be.Also, consider all the marketing efforts your REALTOR® presents to you. You might have reservations about some of them at first, but further discussion may reveal you would be losing an important tool. For instance, some people object to placing a for sale sign in their yard.

However, yard signs are one of the most frequent ways buyers find out about a home for sale.

Are there quick, inexpensive ways to make my home more attractive?

Yes, but before you dive into those, make sure your house is in good condition. If it needs major maintenance, you should either take care of it before putting your house on the market or be prepared to make concessions in price.
Quick and inexpensive means to making your house more attractive include

  • Neat and healthy landscaping (flowers add a nice touch
  • Fresh paint
  • Uncluttered appearance, inside and out. You might even put some furniture and other belongings in storage
  • You should also keep your house neat and clean at all times.

Can I be in my house when prospective buyers look at it?

It’s generally not a good idea. Buyers want to be able to discuss your house freely among themselves and with their REALTOR®, and they may not feel comfortable doing so if you are present. If you must be in the house during a showing, try to stay away from the buyers unless they or their agent approach you with a question.

17 Simple Things To Make Your Home More Marketable

Find My Dream Home1.  Make sure your entrance way says, “Hey, look at me!”


2.  Prune dead limbs from trees.


3.  Paint (or touch up) exterior, and repair screens and windows.


4.  Clean your windows.


5.  Check A/C and heating systems.


6.  Fix leaky faucets, toilets, and faulty lights.


7.  Vacuum drapes and carpets.


8.  Repair wall cracks, re-caulk bathrooms and kitchen.


9.  Clear out closets.


10.  Remove excess furniture.


11.  Ensure windows, doors, and locks work smoothly.


12. Keep cats and dogs out of visitors’ way.


13. Mow lawn, edge driveway and walkways.


14. Weed flowerbeds and trim shrubs.


15. Throw out junk from garage and storage areas.


16. Clean lawn furniture.


17. If you have a pool, make it crystal clear.