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If you're looking to rake in megaprofits when you sell your home, it might be tempting to try to sell your house yourself. After all, by doing For Sale by Owner, you can avoid paying a real estate agent's commission—typically 6% of the price of the home—and keep that cash yourself!

But it isn't quite that simple.

Be warned: FSBO is riddled with pitfalls and often doesn't pan out at all, which explains why only 8% of recent home sales were FSBO—the lowest share since the National Association of Realtors® started tallying these statistics in 1981. So what exactly can go wrong when you try to sell your house yourself? Read these tales of woe straight from folks who've tr...

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It's human nature for folks to want to sneak a peek at their neighbor's open house—even if they're not truly home seekers looking to buy. Trust us, stopping by to grab a cookie and gawk is something we've all done (or at least thought about doing).

Casual lookers can wander in without so much as leaving their name, but if you're actually serious about buying a home, do you have to sign a contract with a buyer's agent before making the rounds to visit homes for sale?

You certainly don't need to be with an agent to drop in on an open house—and visiting a few can help you refine what you're looking for, which in turn helps your future agent help you.

But smart buyers will reach out t...

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For a majority of people, buying your first home is financially daunting. Beyond the paperwork and negotiating, there’s that big mortgage looming. Taking on such a substantial financial responsibility is enough to leave you wondering if you can even afford it. And if you've figured out that you can, there's still the question of just how much house you can afford. The question inevitably looms: Even though it's your first piece of property, should you extend your budget and reach for something a little bigger, shinier, and newer?

It’s certainly not a case in which you want to throw caution to the wind. First and foremost, you have to set a realistic price range.

“The most ...

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It’s a slow Sunday morning. You’ve just brewed your Nespresso and popped open your laptop to check out the latest home listings before you hit the road for a day of open houses.

You’re DIYing this real estate thing, and you think you’re doing pretty well—after all, any info you might need is at your fingertips online, right? That and your own sterling judgment.

Oh, dear home buyer (or seller!)—we know you can do it on your own. But you really, really shouldn’t. This is likely the biggest financial decision of your entire life, and you need a Realtor® if you want to do it right. Here’s why.

1. They have loads of expertise

Want to check the ML...

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You’ve been drooling over local listings and saving every penny for a down payment. You’re ready. But before you begin your new home hunt in earnest, it’s helpful to know exactly what you need for a purchase. Do you have it all, or are you missing something that could throw a wrench in your dream of owning a home?

After all, you can’t just slap down a credit card to buy a house, particularly if you need a mortgage—your lender will want to check your financial background to size up whether you can afford the place you’re eyeing. That means you’ll have to round up some paperwork as proof.

So here’s a handy checklist of what you’ll need to ...

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Whether you’re looking to sell or buy a home, you will no doubt encounter the multiple listing service, or MLS. This is, in many ways, the very lifeblood of the real estate business. But just what is the MLS? Sure, it’s a huge database of home listings, but there’s a lot more to it than just that. Let’s jump in!

History of the MLS

Yes, the MLS seems like an invention of the modern age. But, in fact, the term “multiple listing”—and the overarching concept behind it—was first coined in 1907. Back then it described the old-timey practice in which real estate agents would gather regularly at offices or conferences to trade info about homes they were...

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Homes come in many shapes and configurations, and one type that’s popular with extended families or budding landlords is a duplex. But just what is a duplex? It’s not just one home, but two. They may be stacked one atop the other on separate floors, or they may be side by side with a shared wall. A duplex may also be called a “multifamily dwelling,” because more than one family can live in it.

A duplex is sometimes confused with a “twin home,” but they’re not the same thing. A twin home may look like a duplex: two separate homes sharing a wall. But with a twin home, the lot line actually runs through the common wall—so on each side you have an...

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Every homeowner wonders, “What is my home worth?” During the housing bubble years leading up to 2007, it was with the pleasant thrill of imagining money piling up in the bank; after the crash, it was with a sense of dread, remembering that looming mortgage debt. These days, who knows?

That’s why coming up with a real answer to this question is important if you want to sell your home—and pinpoint the right asking price. If not? It’s kind of fascinating to see how much your investment may have appreciated over the years. But how do you find this magic number? Here are some ways to figure it out.

One good starting point is to enter your address on realtor.com®, w...

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If you’re selling your house, staging—the mysterious practice by which you prep and prettify your home before its debut—can make a huge difference in catching the attention of buyers and ultimately reeling in an offer. And the room you’ll really want to focus on here is the kitchen: After all, it’s the crown jewel that buyers ooh and ahh over—except when the counters are packed with stacks of mail, near-empty boxes of Froot Loops, and a hulking Cuisinart you rarely use.

To make sure this critical area is perfectly poised to woo buyers, try these home staging ideas for your kitchen and get some offers cooking.

Clear off counters

Put it away—put it all aw...

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Selling your home doesn′t just mean hiring a realtor to stick a sign out front. There are a lot of preparations you should make to ensure you get the best offer possible in the shortest time.

Repair. Just because you’ve gotten used to the cracks in the walls and the rattles in the radiators doesn’t mean a buyer will too. If you have hardwood floors that need refinishing, be sure to get it done—hardwood is a huge selling point. Buyers like to snoop around, so be sure to fix any sticky doors or drawers as well. Finally, don’t forget to address any issues with the exterior—fences, shingles, sidewalks, etc. After all, without curb appeal, some buyers may neve...

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Keller Williams Realty, Inc. is a real estate franchise company. Each Keller Williams office is independently owned and operated. Keller Williams Realty, Inc. is an Equal Opportunity Employer and supports the Fair Housing Act.

Javier Alvarez

Email Me | 562-318-4021