Preparing Yourself to Buy or Sell a Home


        There is nothing like going through the Real Estate sales experience as a buyer or seller to grab your full attention and maybe a few sleepless nights.     

        The technical issues surrounding buying and selling property are much simpler than the emotional issues. Is the home safe? Is it in good shape? What needs fixed? What is the best way to repair the building? That’s the easy part.     

        Living through the “people” issues is much more complicated. From listing to closing, it is a roller coaster ride with ups, downs and gut wrenching turns and bumps. Uncertainty abounds in the whole process.

        It starts with the fact that the reason behind buying or selling a home is usually a life changing event. It may be marriage, divorce, having a family, having a family grow up, getting a job, promotion, transfer or losing a job. You get the picture. A fundamental life change in life starts the stress. Hang on as you go through the Real Estate process.    

Understand the Challenges and Take Action Step by Step

  • Get a feel for the house you are interested in. Internet viewing and Open Houses will help. Do a list of what are “wants” and “needs.” Then be prepared to see that list change


  • Deal with your household “stuff.” Sort and throw or give away unneeded items to make the sale and move easier.


  • Decide if you are more comfortable if you first find a new house or sell the old home. Be prepared that it may not work out that way.
  • Select a lender where you are comfortable…….or maybe just not too uncomfortable. The lending process is invasive, arbitrary and sometimes downright humiliating at times.


  • Obtain a “pre approval” amount and letter to qualify for a mortgage
  • Obtain a realistic sales price for your home for listing the home.
  • Select a Realtor, Real Estate attorney or “For Sale by Owner” method that meets your needs. Then take the time to find a professional that fits your personality and needs.
  • Understand the cost of moving into a new house. Issues like needing to purchase appliances can influence your Real Estate transaction.


  • Explore and consider the value that may be added by completing renovations or repairs on your home before listing.


  • Obtain an occupancy inspection. That will need to happen before closing no matter what, and you do not want expensive surprises like needing a new sewer line as a condition of closing.


  • Consider a Pre-Market home inspection. That can increase the chance of selling a home without the deal falling apart or getting hit with a big price reduction after a buyer’s home inspection.


  • Clean house, de-clutter, get rid of odors and any other distraction


  • No matter what happens, focus on the deal, not the people. Do not let bad behavior keep you from making the best decisions for your needs.


  • Changing and picking your utilities. The good news is that we have choices. The bad news is that we have choices and they are complicated.


  • Be prepared for a stressful closing. It will be a difficult day.

Get Rid of the Fears

    Most buyers and sellers react to fears. If you have a preapproval mortgage letter, a seller does not need to fear that you can’t obtain a loan after they accept an offer. If you have a pre market inspection, the potential buyer does not need to fear losing all of their inspection and appraisal money if there are hidden problems.         

Rid Yourself of Uncertainty

    If you know where you stand on the issues you can make better decisions in less time.  When your ducks are in a row, it is easier for the other side in a transaction to accept a deal with you at your terms. This can be a make or break advantage in a deal. 

To Work With a Realtor or Not

    The first big choice is to decide if you are working with a Realtor.  “For Sale by Owner or FSBO transactions are more and more common than ever. With a FSBO, the internet has made marketing a house much easier. However you’re stuck with dealing with buyers and navigating the issues by yourself.   

    A Realtor’s job is to be counselor, therapist, interpreter, facilitator and messenger. Most of the items in the “to do” list above can be facilitated by a professional Realtor. Please take a very serious word of advice. Do not call a Realtor because their name is on a sign of a home you like. Make sure that the Realtor that you select is a good match for you.

    The sales commission can be a good value. Proper handling of the sale can increase the chance of a sale closing.  Commission fees include advertising, the time to show a home, preparing the paperwork, answering questions, and dealing with the other side of the transaction.  

    If you are on the edge of deciding whether to list a home of sale or try the FSBO pathway, there is another option. That’s a “Transactional Agent”.  In this option, a Realtor is hired to provide a part of the services as needed for a fee. Some Real Estate Attorneys also offer this service.   

Girding Yourself for the Closing

    For most buyers, this will be one of the worst days of their life. The closing officer will fill out a form that will have at least one surprise for you.  Will the deal that has to close so that your buyer will be able to close yours actually happen?  Will there be a mistake you miss on one of the papers you sign? Will you have enough money on that day? It is just a difficult time that you will always remember. 

Let me give you two suggestions for getting yourself ready for buying and selling. Watch HGTV and take the time to research and interview the people you work with in this important endeavor. Have a good team of professionals to help you get from the start to the finish line.