real estate

7 home-seller to-do's before hiring agent

Research nearby home values
Doofus and Decent

Most sellers have an idea of what the home should list for, but the savviest sellers check comparable home values before meeting with a listing agent, says Rory Bolger, an agent with Citi Habitats in New York City.

"Give yourself a quick refresher on your local market, as conditions have likely changed since you bought," he says. "The goal is for you and your agent to be on the same page in terms of the value. Sometimes you'll find conditions will be in your favor, and sometimes you may be disappointed with the current market, (but) regardless of what you discover, your research will help you and your agent create a realistic plan for selling your home."

Bolger advises sellers to look at recent comparable sales (known as "comps") in the neighborhood. Sellers can find that information through online real estate sites. Sellers should be realistic, using homes with comparable square footage, the same number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and a similar level of amenities. It's also important for sellers to consider their home's condition relative to the comps.

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