Seller's Checklist

  1. Calculate your home equity

    To calculate your home equity, simply take the market value of your home and subtract any outstanding mortgages or liens. Let's say that you have a $100,000 home and have $60,000 left to repay on your mortgage - your equity would equal $40,000. Equity changes depending on your home's value, market conditions and the terms of your mortgage and the simplest way to increase your equity is to pay off your mortgage. Plain and simple, the more principal you pay, the more equity you will garner. If property values in your area increase, so will your equity, as it is based on market values.

    Housing market conditions are affected by a number of things, including interest rates, inflation and the economy. You may have negative equity if you have an interest-only mortgage. In these cases, your monthly payments may be covering just the interest or only a portion of it. At the end of the interest-only term, you still owe the lender the principal as well as any unpaid interest, possibly meaning that you owe more than the market value of your home. You can help avoid negative equity by making sure you pay at least some of your mortgage principal and try to buy a home in an area where property values are increasing.

  2. Calculate potential selling expenses

    Here are the typical upfront expenses when selling a Jackson Florida home. If you might owe capital gains tax after the sail, your prep costs will be important in reducing your "gains," as discussed below.)

    • Painting

      A new paint job is one of most cost-effective ways of freshening your house inside and out. If you've recently painted, this is less important - though if your color choices were bold or unique, you might want to tone them down with some crowd-pleasing neutrals. Your stager, if you hire one (see below) can help advise on the best colors.

    • Window cleaning

      Clean and shiny windows make a surprisingly large difference to buyer perceptions. Hiring someone will cost a few hundred dollars, depending on the size and height of your home.

    • Roof repair or replacement

      Roof certifications are separate from a home inspection. For the most part, home inspectors do not perform thorough roof inspections. Instead, roofing inspectors climb up on the roof and issue reports on possible movement.

      • Ridges, caps and drip edges
      • D-drains, downspouts, and gutters
      • Flashing around roof pipes, chimneys, vents, valleys and mounting of HVAC units
      • If the roof does not require repairs, the roofing company will then estimate the remaining years of life for a roof and certify its inspection. The certification is good for two to five years, depending on local custom. If the roof requires repairs, after the repairs are performed, the roofing company will then issue the roof certification
    • Landscaping

      Buyers are increasingly interested in the state of your garden. If it's already fully planted, you'll want to hire someone (or put in some sweat equity) to get it raked, pruned, and otherwise tidied up. If the area hasn't already been landscaped, plan to add some new greenery and flowering plants. (By the way, if you plant in containers, you can take the containers with you when you move - unless they're so big or incorporated into the property as to be considered "fixtures.") Many sellers simply put in new sod -but do the buyers a favor and don't leave the plastic mesh backing on it, in case the buyers want to replace it with something more interesting and environmentally friendly.

    • Staging Your Home

      Staging your home, or having a decorator help de-clutter, reorganize, refurnish and add some decorative touches after you've moved your stuff out, can help impress buyers in a big way. Expect to pay a professional home stager a few thousand dollars for their services - worth every penny.

    • Utility Bills if Vacant

      If you'll be moving out before putting your house on the market, expect to pay double utilities for a while. It is recommended that you leave the lights and heat on in the house for sale, or program them to stay on during any hours that potential buyers and their agents may be stopping by the place. No one likes to enter a cold, dank, dark house.

    • Fix-ups

      There is practically no house that could not use some quick maintenance to make sure it looks well-cared for and leaves fewer items for a home inspector to focus on.

    • Professional Inspection

      Buyers will usually have their own inspection done, but it's useful for you to pay for an inspection before you put your house on the market. It can help you uncover any defects so that you know what exactly what you're selling and have time to make any repairs.

    • Capital gains tax

      If you earn less than $250,000 on your home sale (or $500,000 if you're married and filing jointly), don't worry - you won't owe a thing in the way of capital gains taxes. But if you earn more than that, you'll want to look further into the matter. Once you've subtracted things like the costs of preparing the property for sale from the supposed gains, you may not owe the tax. For more information, see Nolo's article Avoiding Capital Gains Tax When Selling Your Home: Read the Fine Print.

  3. Hire a reputable full-time Jacksonville Florida area Realtor

    "When you deal with someone who is going to help you buy or sell a piece of property, you'd better find someone that knows what they're doing," says Donald Brenner, professor emeritus at American University.

    I am an experienced Jacksonville area Realtor® with strong communication skills who will ensure that you receive the best possible real estate transaction. The first step in the selling process is to provide you with an in-depth comparative market analysis (CMA) on your home. A real estate agent charges a sales commission that varies depending on where you live and the sale price of the property. An agent can be well worth the commission when they can get you a good sale price and save you some stress.

  4. Ask for a comparable market analysis (CMA)

    The best method available to Jacksonville home sellers to learn their home's current value so they can select the best sale price is to acquire a Comparative Market Analysis or CMA. If you don't get a CMA before you list your home, you are likely to sell it for the wrong price according to what the market is bidding. Setting the price too low means you'll get less money for your home and setting the price too high means your home might not sell at all. A completed CMA is presented in the form of a report, which includes a selling price, detailed information about your home, and comparable properties to determine your home's value based on the market value. A CMA is not an appraisal. Rather, a Jacksonville area real estate appraisal is a comprehensive evaluation performed by an independent professional appraiser.

    With a CMA, the agent's experience in the business and familiarity with the local area can affect the accuracy. A CMA prepared by an experienced agent with good knowledge of the local market is right in line with your home's appraised value and can be a very useful tool in a Jacksonville area real estate transaction. If you set the wrong price for your home, you could lose tens of thousands of dollars. Do your homework and ask a real estate professional for a Comparative Market Analysis to ensure you get the most value for your home.

  5. Set a listing price

    During this phase of the home selling process, your Realtor® will help you set your list price based on:

    • Pricing considerations
    • Comparable sales
    • Offering incentives
    • Market conditions
    • Estimating net proceeds
  6. Home on the MLS to supply other sites is a free MLS search to find real estate MLS listings for sale by Realtors® and other realty professionals that are members of your local MLS Multiple Listing Service. You cannot list property on the Florida MLS unless you are a "Realtor licensed in the state of Florida.

  7. Negotiate offers

    Have your facts at hand about any recent, local sales to support your asking price. Before you start the home selling process, obtain an appraisal and or comparable and have the appraisal available. In a strong or rising market, do not be uncomfortable in pricing your home slightly above the appraisal. In a weak market, peg your asking price at the appraisal and prepare all the items you feel that the appraiser missed. Use the appraisal and sell the features and benefits of your house. Be ready by practicing your presentation and handle the typical buyer questions and concerns. When selling your home you must be prepared to turn down unacceptable offers or situations.

    In 80% of the cases, you will be better prepared than the buyer's agent who won't have done his homework and who won't have a clue about your property. He will try to deal in weak generalities. You will have specifics. You must also be prepared to turn down unacceptable offers or situations.

  8. Order a change of address

    Remember to send change of address notices. The U.S. Postal Service recommends you complete and mail your Change of Address Order Card or Internet form 30 days before you move.

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