You and your spouse just had another child. Your mother is elderly and is coming to live with your family. Your children have all left home and your large house is no longer needed. Many different life events may precipitate the sale of your home. Once you have made the decision to sell your real estate, here are five steps that should be followed as you prepare to place the property on the market:

1) Calculate your home’s market value. One must first discern a firm idea of the “market value” of the property to be sold. Market value is defined as what a buyer is willing to pay for the property on the open market. An opinion of your home’s value may be constructed by considering the current condition of the real estate market in your area and recent comparable sales. Sellers often employ the expertise of an experienced and trustworthy real estate agent to help them make this determination.

2) Consider your home’s physical condition. A seller should honestly assess the potential for sale of the home on the open market. In short, one should consider the positive and negative aspects of your property and make a determination as to whether or not home improvements make good financial sense. Some may invest in a home inspection to determine the home’s overall condition in an effort to address issues early in the process.

3) Be mindful of the comparable properties. A seller should then keep an eye on comparable properties in the vicinity of his or her property. Attending open houses and engaging with the local real estate market will allow you to acquire a better idea about what it will take to sell your home.

4) Get bids for work to be performed. If you determine that work must be performed prior to placing a property on the market for sale, first compile your list of potential contractors through personal research or referrals. Once you have your list, elicit several bids for the work to be done. Make sure that each of the bids involves the same work to be performed to insure that you can properly compare the proposals.

5) Set a date for the listing of the property. One should determine a date by which all preparations should be complete and the property will be placed on the market for sale.

By following these simple steps, a seller can alleviate many of the sources of stress that arise when preparing to sell a property.