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American Homeowners Association



Accurate Listing Provides Smooth Sailing for Home Sellers

Realtors use the multiple listing service (MLS) to publish information about houses that are for sale and to locate homes for buyers. The MLS is owned and operated by local Realtors' associations, and only licensed agents who are members of the association may enter data into the system or view the houses in it. This is your port of entry into the world of realty, and buyers will come to your home based on the information found in your listing. It is essential that the information in your listing be as accurate and as informative as possible.

Work with your Realtor to make sure the lot size and property lines are represented correctly, along with the utility and property tax information. Next, double check that the price of the house is listed correctly. Buyers also rely heavily on the information presented about bathrooms and bedrooms, so make sure the information is accurate regarding these rooms. Avoid the common mistake of counting an attic or basement room as a bedroom when it does not meet the legal qualifications of a bedroom. Discuss these qualifications with your Realtor. Sometimes a room must have an escape route (other than the door to the hallway) for the room to be classified as a bedroom.

Once the basic data about your home is in place, think about the characteristics of your home, which make it unique. Was there a feature that attracted you when you originally bought the home--like hardwood floors, a room with wonderful skylights, or a deck? Be sure to describe that feature in the "remarks" section of the listing. This is where you can elaborate on the features of your home, and make bland numerical descriptions come to life. Be sure to mention any work you've done on your house, like remodeling the kitchen or rewiring an older home.

Also note selling points like the proximity to public transportation, schools, and airports. Avoid mentioning items like an older washer and dryer that you would be willing to leave in the home for the new owners. Items like these can be used as a bargaining tool during price negotiations. They allow you to respond to an offer that is too low in price by proposing to decrease the price of the house slightly, but include the washer and dryer, as well.

Once your agent has entered all of this information into the MLS, ask for a copy of the listing. Review the listing for accuracy and then show it to a few friends, just to be sure you have included all pertinent information.

A listing in the MLS is your link to homebuyers. Finding buyers who want your type of home and in your price range is essential. An accurate listing provides you with a solid start to finding a qualified buyer.

Sources: Chris Sicks, The Washington Times.

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