Seller Tips

The Real Estate Process: Making It Simple.

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Buyers and sellers can often feel lost when it comes to the flow of a transaction and can benefit from a primer. The closing process can take 30 – 60 days from the date of contract acceptance. Understanding the importance of each step better prepares buyers and sellers to expect the unexpected. Before embarking on your next real estate contract, reviewing the process can help make real estate very easy.

natural home interior design

The Cost of Selling

Fees & Costs you May Incur

  • Deed Stamps

    Cost - $4.00 per $1,000 of sale price (in state)
    *Additional $2.00 per mortgage fee - Ithaca specific

  • Abstract Extension

    Cost - Varies - estimated $200

  • Survey

    Cost - $500 for most small lots

  • Attorney Fee

    Cost - Generally $750 - $1,200 - Dependent on Attorney

  • Recording Fees

    Cost - Approximately $150

  • Real Estate Professional Fee

    Cost - Varies

  • Wood Infestation Report

    Cost - if required - Estimated $150

  • Septic Pumping & Certification

    Cost - if required - Estimated $400

  • Water Bacteria Test

    Cost - if required - Estimated $25

  • Seller Concessions

    Cost - if required - Listed in Purchase Offer

  • Repairs & Improvements

    Prior to listing

  • Repairs

    Cost - if required as a result of Structural Inspection

  • Smoke & CO Detectors

    As required by law

  • Miscellaneous Expenses

Market Reports

Be aware of overall trends & performance in the local residential real estate market for each of the primary markets we serve. 

Purchase Offer

When it comes to time to make a purchase offer, you most likely will be using a standard purchase offer contract specific to your market. We recommend that you familiarize yourself with the contract details so that when it comes time to accept a purchase offer on your home, you can move quickly. Here are sample contracts from all three of our market areas:


seller checklist:

How can I prepare my house?

  • Mow lawn
  • Trim shrubs
  • Edge gardens and walkways
  • Weed and mulch
  • Sweep walkways and driveway, remove branches, litter, or toys
  • Add color and fill in bare spots with plantings
  • Remove mildew or moss from walls or walks with bleach and water or another cleaner
  • Take stains off your driveway with cleanser or kitty litter
  • Stack woodpile neatly
  • Clean and repair patio and deck area
  • Remove any outdoor furniture which is not in good repair
  • Make sure pool or spa sparkles
  • Replace old storm doors
  • Check for flat-fitting roof shingles
  • Repair broken windows and shutters, replace torn screens, and make sure frames and seams have solid caulking
  • Hose off exterior wood and trim
  • Replace damaged bricks or wood
  • Touch up exterior paint, repair gutters, and eaves
  • Clean and remove rust from any window air conditioning units
  • Paint the front door and mailbox
  • Add a new front door mat and consider a seasonal door decoration
  • Shine brass hardware on the front door, outside lighting fixtures, etc.
  • Make sure the doorbell is working
  • Add a fresh coat of interior paint in light, neutral colors
  • Shampoo carpeting/replace it if necessary
  • Clean and wax hardwood floors, refinish if necessary
  • Clean and wash kitchen and bathroom floors
  • Wash all windows, vacuum blinds, and wash window sills
  • Clean the fireplace
  • Clean out and organize closets, and add extra space by packing clothes and items you won’t need again until after you’ve moved
  • Remove extra furniture, worn rugs, and items you don’t use; keep papers, toys, etc. picked up--especially on stairways
  • Repair problems such as loose door knobs, cracked molding, leaking taps and toilets, squeaky doors, closets, or screen doors that are off their tracks
  • Add dishes of potpourri, or drop of vanilla or bath oil on light bulbs for scent - don’t overdo it!
  • Secure jewelry, cash, and other valuables
  • Consider that strong cooking or smoking odors can ruin a sale
  • Make it cozy and inviting, discard chipped or worn furniture and frayed or worn rugs
  • Polish any visible silver and crystal
  • Set the table for a formal dinner to help viewers imagine entertaining here
  • Make sure appliances are spotless inside and out (try baking soda for cleaning Formica stains)
  • Make sure all appliances are in perfect working order
  • Clean often forgotten spots on top of the refrigerator and under the sink
  • Wax or sponge floor to a brilliant shine, clean baseboards
  • Unclutter all counter space, remove countertop appliances
  • Organize items inside cabinets, and pre-pack anything you won’t be using before you move
  • Remove all rust and mildew
  • Make sure tile, fixtures, shower doors, etc. are immaculate and shining
  • Make sure all fixtures are working
  • Replace loose caulking or grout
  • Make sure the lighting is bright but soft
  • Hang clean, fresh towels
  • Organize furnishings to create a spacious look with well-defined sitting, sleeping, and dressing areas
  • Sell, give away, or throw out unnecessary items
  • Organize and create more floor space by hanging tools and placing items on shelves
  • Clean the water heater and drain the sediment
  • Change furnace filter
  • Make inspection access easy
  • Clean and paint concrete floor and walls
  • Provide strong overhead light
  • Tidy up by discarding or pre-packing
  • Make sure energy-saving insulation is apparent
  • Make sure the air vent is in working order
  • Provide strong overhead lighting
  • Sell, give away, or throw out unnecessary items
  • Clean oily cement floor
  • Provide strong overhead light

Getting Ready to Show Your House

Quick Tips to Prepare