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Selling your own home can save you tens of thousands of dollars in real estate commissions. Here's a step-by-step guide to the process: Clean Out Your Home As soon as you decide to sell your house, thoroughly clean it from top to bottom. Don't forget rarely-cleaned areas such as baseboards, blinds, roof gutters and window wells. If you don't have time to undertake a deep clean, hire a maid or a cleaning company. A clean home will help an appraiser see your house in a better light and value it more highly, as well as appealing to buyers. Clear Up Clutter While You Clean Make your home look more spacious by getting rid of any unnecessary junk. You'll see a big difference in how your closets look, as well as your garage, porch and bathroom. Buyers want to feel like they're purchasing sufficient space, and clearing out more of your stuff helps them see themselves in your home. If you can't bear to part with anything, consider moving the items to a storage unit temporarily. Have your property evaluated As much as you'd like to set the price of your home as high as possible, you have to be realistic. Many for-sale-by-owner listings fail to sell because owners persist in thinking their home is worth more than the market will offer, or because they have already settled on a set amount of money that they want and refuse to budge. Having a professional, third-party assessment of your home's worth will help you get comfortable with a price range, in addition to providing you with a solid reference point if a buyer or realtor accuses you of setting the price too high. Timing is everything If your neighborhood is undergoing a mini boom of strong residential sales, those transactions will increase the value of your home. Conversely, if your neighborhood has seen a lot of short sales or foreclosures, your home's value will be decreased. Try to time your listing so that you're not affected by distressed sales. For instance, in most areas, a comparable sale can only weigh against the value of your home for 90 days after the sale date. It might be worth it to wait a few months to list your home if you can do it at a higher price. Know your selling points Before you start marketing your home, write up a list of special selling points you think will attract buyers. Potential items include good school districts, recent renovations, benefits that have been grandfathered into the property, energy-saving windows or insulation and new appliances. Highlight these items in your ads, when you talk to people about your home or while you're showing it. Memorize them so that you don't forget anything. Market your home List with MySecretAgent to get you listed on the MLS and hundreds of websites. Be Flexible When potential buyers or their Realtors contact you and want to see the home, try to be as available and flexible as possible. Be aware that many people will want to see the home in the middle of the day, when you might be working. Set a peaceful, enticing mood Before your potential buyers arrive, quickly clean up any clutter. Put away food on the counter, throw dishes into the dishwasher, and gather up laundry. Light a scented candle if you have one, or put a few drops of vanilla on a cookie sheet at put it in the oven at around 250 degrees Fahrenheit (120 Celsius). Put some light, soft classical music on in the background. If the weather is nice, open a few windows; if not, light a fireplace or turn the heater up a bit. These extra little steps will make your home seem inviting and calm. Be a good host This might seem like obvious advice, but some people are so anxious about selling their home that they forget basic etiquette. When your potential buyers arrive, greet them with a firm handshake and look them in the eye. Introduce yourself, and ask and remember their names. As they step inside your home, ask if you can provide them with a glass of water or light refreshment. Some may like a personal tour of your home but other may prefer to walk through your home with just their agent. If this is the case step outside and give them privacy. Secure your valuables Lock up everything truly irreplaceable in a safe location before you open your home to strangers. Try to close cleanly and quickly Once the buyer is making offers and negotiating, try to close the transaction as quickly as you can. Make sure you've provided all the necessary disclosure documents required by your state. If you don't like the buyer's offer, don't just say no. ''Always'' make a counter offer. Try to accommodate the buyer wherever you can afford to. Also, consider taking the offer to a lawyer for professional evaluation. Once everything is settled, try to move out as quickly as you reasonably can.