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- STEP 1 -


Front ratio is all your expected housing expenses divided by all your income. Let's say you make $30,000 per year ($2,500 per month) and want to buy a small home or condo. To calculate your front ratio use the following example:

- STEP 2 -


- STEP 3 -


-Help through the entire process of buying or selling

-Information on the property and area

-Avoiding possible legal problems

-Avoiding possible problems with the property

-Protecting your deposit by avoiding possible problems with your loan

-Help negotiating all the details

- STEP 4 -



- STEP 1 -


(If you already know you want to use a professional, skip to STEP 2)

Deciding whether to use a professional to help you sell your home is the most critical decision. There are some circumstances where you may not want to use a Realtor. If you meet the following conditions, you probably wouldn't benefit from a Realtor:

  • You have a lot of time
    • Selling a home is far more than just finding someone who wants to buy it. Closing the deal may require a large amount of your time. Below are just a few of the things to make sure to allow time for:
      • Learn all the aspects of a purchase contract and how it can protect you
      • Verify that any purchase contract offered does not contain hidden clauses which are not to your benefit
      • Learn how to effectively counteroffer and otherwise negotiate
      • Learn what you are liable for in a sale and ensure that you are protected
      • Learn what disclosures you must make and ensure they are signed, copied and provided to all parties as may be required
      • Ensure that all required paperwork is signed and initialed by the correct parties at the correct time and in the right spaces and order and that they are dated as necessary. This is extremely important.
      • Ensure that all other legal requirements are met.
      • Shop for a title company to handle your side of the transfer. They are not all equal.
      • Learn what documentation the title company may require of you and make sure to provide it quickly.
      • Familiarize yourself with the documentation the title company provides you so you can verify their information. This is also extremely important.
      • Verify your buyer is actually able to purchase the property by learning what paperwork to request from them and then verifying it. If they are unable to perform, it is to your benefit to find out as soon as possible.
      • Verify how much money the buyer will be putting down on the home and that the home will appraise for enough to cover what they will be financing. A standard conventional loan will only cover 80% of the value of the home.
      • Check up on the Buyer's lender to make sure things will be closing on time
      • Check up on the title company to make sure there are no problems with your title.
      • Check up on the Buyers title company (if they are using a separate one)
      • If you have a loan or multiple loans on your home, make sure to read your loan documentation or contact the lenders involved to ensure that you will be able to convey title to the buyer. Not all loans are the same.
      • There are several types of insurance commonly purchased during the transfer of a title. Study which ones will protect you best and purchase one if you want to avoid potential problems.
  • You own your home outright:
    • If you own your home outright, it will not cost you anything to sit around and wait for months for an offer. If the home you are trying to sell is financed, then every day that goes by is costing you money in interest and insurance expenses which could go into your next home.
  • You know all the details of real estate transfers or you know someone who you trust to guide you.
    • Real estate lawyers, certain tax and investment professionals, mortgage brokers, builders, developers, and other similar professionals may know enough to competently close a deal or they may know of someone who can guide them. These professionals will often still have a hard time finding the required amount of time to deal with a sale.


  • Above all, pick a Realtor which will be responsive to your needs and concerns.
    • A successful Realtor will generally be busy. This does not mean that you should ever feel like a number on a file. If you can't talk to a Realtor immediately, leave a detailed message and you should hear back from them within an hour. Below are some traits of a good Realtor:
      • A Realtor should be honest with their seller. By law, a Realtor has a strict fiduciary duty to a seller. You should be able to trust them implicitly to guard the confidential information you provide them.
      • A Realtor should work for a reputable company which you have heard of. A company with greater national exposure can be important. If you feel more comfortable with them, chances are a buyer will too. Also, their advertising budget is generally much higher and their agents usually receive better training because the company has a reputation to protect. Some smaller companies offer little or no training to agents which may not be much better equipped to sell real estate than you!
      • A Realtor should not keep a client waiting any longer than absolutely necessary. If you cannot reach your Realtor immediately, you should receive a call back as soon as he/she is off the phone, out of a meeting or back in range of their cellular network.
      • A Realtor should be an expert at listening to your desires. You should be informed on the market and other conditions which may affect the sale of your home.
      • A Realtor should be able to price your home and provide you details on how they arrived at that price. Those details should consist of market data and the unique features of your home. If you have upgrades, they should be taken into account. Of course, the decision to list above or below the price suggested by a Realtor always lies with the seller.
      • A Realtor should be able to explain the consequences of listing high or low.
      • A Realtor should be able to provide you with different marketing strategies and should be able to explain the pro's and con's of each.
      • A Realtor should be familiar with contracts and know how to recognize and protect against different negotiation techniques which might be used by buyers to the disadvantage of their seller.
      • A Realtor should provide their client with all pertinent information as soon as possible.
      • A Realtor should be empathetic to your situation. Often selling a home is a stressful time even at its best. Details should be explained in a way you can easily understand and puts your mind at ease.
      • A Realtor should be polite, but firm. There are a lot of nice people, but not all nice people are good negotiators which will get you top dollar for your home.
      • A Realtor should be solvent, confident and patient. A desperate person usually has their immediate needs above yours. There are many signs of desperation, but a dead giveaway is a high pressure sales pitch and a lot of fast talking. Realtors should be more educator than salesman and you should always feel educated, not pressured after a meeting with a Realtor. Remember, you are the boss.
      • A Realtor should embrace technology and should be a master of marketing. Your home should have all the exposure necessary to sell it as quickly as possible. Some properties will require different marketing than others.
      • Finally, a Realtor should feel like a friend. You should feel comfortable calling them and they should know you by your first name.


  • A Realtor can guide you through negotiation, but it is up to you to decide how much you are willing to give.
    • If the buyer will not pay for a home warranty, you may want to offer one. It will give you peace of mind and can be a great value
    • If an offer is weak, a Realtor can guide you on how to handle it
    • If there are multiple offers, a Realtor can help you determine which one is the best. Sometimes the highest offer is not the best. There are many factors which affect the relative strength of an offer.

- STEP 4 -


  • A Realtor should be able to recommend a good title company, but the decision is yours.
    • Try to find a reputable title company that will be responsive to your needs and will be able to close at a time that is good for you.

- STEP 5 -


  • A Realtor can help you purchase your next home and should offer a discount for the repeat business.
    • Try to find a Realtor that will be willing to help you move.
    • If you are not moving locally, your Realtor should be able to refer you to someone out of state who will be familiar with your needs and can start helping you right away. A real estate company with national connections can help a lot.