real estate

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

Check the mortgage
Doofus and Decent

You have a rough idea of what you owe on the mortgage. Before meeting a listing agent, pull your loan documents and turn that estimate into a precise figure, says Chan.

Bankrate's amortization calculator allows you to create a chart that shows how much you have paid and how much you still owe, based on the original loan amount, interest rate and when you got the loan.

"Knowing your loan amount upfront will help a Realtor know what strategy to take with your home," he says. "If the amount you owe is more than the market value, then you're underwater. Selling a short sale is totally different than an equity sale."

Even if your home is in the black, Chan says it's important to work with precise dollar amounts to help get a better estimate of what you stand to make from the sale. Depending on what the agent thinks you can get in the current market, that information might also make the difference between listing and waiting it out.

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