Home Selling Tips


Selling Tips for Today's Real Estate Market

Putting your Chicago home on the market soon? Here are a few things to keep in mind before you do.

What Should I Do to Get My House Ready to Sell?

Before you actually list your house with a Realtor or put a for sale by owner sign up, you should have your home inspected by a professional home inspector to determine if there are any repairs that need to be made or disclosed to your potential buyer. Certain items must be up to code for the homeowners safety. The home inspector can provide this information to you in his/her report. After fixing any necessary repairs found during the inspection, use the report as a marketing tool to help make potential buyers feel more comfortable with your home.

FSBO (For Sale By Owner) or Broker

Next you will need to decide whether you want to hire an experienced Realtor in your area or try and sell your Chicago home yourself ( FSBO). The real estate disclosure laws are complex so it is recommended that you hire a Realtor or a real estate attorney to help with negotiating your offer.

Using a Realtor is more beneficial for you because Realtor's have a network of buyers and other Realtors in the area to market your property and more access to internet advertising and the local Multiple Listing Service. Also, they are experienced and know how to market your property to get the maximum exposure. Buyers tend to make more offers on properties where there is a Realtor involved because they would rather deal directly with a neutral third party than the Seller.

Deciding on the Right Price

Whether you choose to work with a Realtor or not, you will need to decide on the right price. In today's Chicago real estate market, you need to be competitive with pricing. The best way to determine the price is to have a free market evaluation done by at least two local Realtors in your area. Also, there are sources that you can use to check recent sold comparable properties in your area such as the Cook County Tax Accessor's Office or other county tax offices where you live. There are two reasons houses sell, the right price and the right location. If your house is priced right it will sell quickly.

What you want to avoid is having your house sit on the market too long. Buyers tend to look at all the new listings first. In a seller's market, where they is low inventory and high demand, if a house sits on the market more than 45 days, buyers tend to feel that the seller is unrealistic about the price. Today's Chicago market is a buyers market so you are competing with more inventory and need to price your house at or slightly below market for it to sell.


Preparing Your Home

Besides making any necessary repairs to your home, you will also want to do a few cosmetic repairs such as painting the inside and outside, cleaning the inside, replacing or cleaning carpets or other flooring, and getting rid of clutter. Take a look at the outside of your home and make sure that trees and shrubs are neatly trimmed, plant some flowers, fix any broken fences and mow the lawn. Box up anything you don't need and are not using and lock up any valuables or put them in a safe deposit box.

You want your home to make a good impression on potential buyers when they walk in so they can imagine themselves living there. Make sure there are no tobacco or pet smells. Burning scented candles or using other home fragrances adds a nice warm touch to the home and makes it smell inviting. Also, add some color to rooms by using flower arrangements or displaying colored glass, nice bowls, you get the idea. Another inexpensive way to make a living room or family room look fresh and new is to accessorize the couch with colorful throws or pillows.

If you want to do some remodeling beforehand, then I suggest remodeling the kitchen and baths. Replace kitchen cabinets or refinish them, replace countertops with granite if it's in your budget. Redo the flooring, and replace old appliances with new ones. When remodeling the bathrooms, install a new vanity, toilet and either refinish the tub or install a new bathtub. Remodeling kitchens and bathrooms will help to get your Chicago home sold for the best price.

Getting the Word Out

Marketing your home is crucial. Today with the internet, buyers come not only from your local area, but also from all over the country and the world. Keep the following in mind:

Place a sign on the property. There are many sign companies that can make one up for you if you decide you are going to sell the home yourself. You want it to look professional. If you use a Realtor, he or she will place a sign on your property immediately.

Have a flyer and a good quality brochure made up to give to all potential buyers and their agents, so they can get information quickly about the property. The flyer should include the price, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, other features such as a pool, garage, grassy backyard and photos. 

Advertise in the local newspaper and on the internet.

Call local brokers and tell them about the property, drop off flyers to their offices. Mostly likely you will have to pay at least one broker commission to the buyer's broker if you do decide to go it yourself.

Qualify Buyers

Before you show your home to potential buyers, screen them carefully on the telephone and make sure they have spoken to a lender and are qualified to buyer your home. You do not want to waste time showing your house to a buyer that cannot afford to buy it and who will not be able to close the deal. When you do show the home, have buyers sign a book and get their contact information so that you can follow up after the showing.


If you are working with a Realtor, he or she will discuss all the pros and cons associated within the offer.  Then you can decide if you want to accept, decline, or counter the offer.

If you have priced your home right and have an aggressive marketing campaign or a Realtor focused on selling your home, expect to receive multiple offers. Multiple offers are favorable for you because buyers are competing for your home. However, don't be greedy because sometimes multiple offers can backfire on you and all buyers walk away if you are unreasonable in your counter offer demands.


Most closings take place at a title company, an escrow company, or your attorneys office.  It is advised to have your attorney prepair all your closing documents.  This way you will be sure not to miss any important information. The title company is usually chosen by the seller's attorney.  It is at closing that you turn over the keys to the buyer and you walk away with your proceeds either via check or by having the funds electronically wired to an account of your choice.