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Home Seller’s Guide

Information For Sellers


Write down all the reasons for selling your home. Ask yourself, “Why do I want to sell and what do I expect to accomplish with the sale?” For example, reasons for selling include: a growing business that needs more space or a job opportunity that necessitates a move to another city. Things you want to accomplish with the sale may include the time frame in which you’d like to sell or a particular profit margin.

Many homeowners believe that the cost to carry a home is negligible and are often not honest with themselves regarding the true cost to carry a home? This link will provide a spreadsheet that will help you determine the real cost to carry your home.

Download our Cost to Hold a Home Worksheet here.
* The use of money from the house proceeds of the sale and any membership equity should be figured into cost to carry a home. We used a 3% return. This will obviously vary depending on the bond market.
** Yearly repairs & maintenance should be 1-3% cost of the estimated market value according to Freddie Mac. Items such as water heaters, air conditioners, appliances, have a limited life span and depreciate. Surprise expenses also happen. To read more click on the links below.

*** Any depreciation due to style changes are not included. For example styles such as flooring and countertops go out style. Style changes can depreciate a home. I did not add style changes in the spreadsheet.
**** If you decide to rent, remember to add in the taxes and commissions associated with renting. There are also vacancy and damage risks associated with renting that you should be aware of.

Work with the Echo Fine Properties Team to map out the best path to achieve your objectives and set a realistic time frame for the sale.


Your next objective should be to determine the best possible selling price for your house. You will need to take into account the state of the local market, the condition of your home, and sales of comparable homes in your neighborhood. It is often hard to maintain a non-biased view of your property, so you will want to gather the necessary information in the most objective way possible. If you want a truly objective opinion about the price of your home, you could have an appraisal done. This may cost between $300 and $500.

Be reasonable about the price you set. You will always be better off setting a fair market value price than setting your price too high. If your home stays on the market too long because it is overpriced, potential buyers may think that something is wrong with it and you may end up selling it for less than what you could have gotten if you had started out with a realistic asking price.

Owner Jeff Lichtenstein and the Echo Fine Properties Team know the area like the back of their hands. They will make sure that you get a no-holds-barred realistic price of what your home is worth and how to market it to achieve the highest price possible.


It’s time to get your home in “showing & selling” condition. Most of us don’t keep our homes in the condition they need to be in to be sold. Piles of boxes in the garage, a broken porch light and even an overgrown garden just seem normal after awhile. It’s time to break out of that owner’s mindset and get your house in tip-top shape. How your home looks will impact upon how quickly it sells and the price the buyer is willing to offer.

First impressions are the most important. Work with your agent and the Echo team to help you take a fresh look at your home. Do the shrubs need pruning? Do you need to repaint? What’s normal for you may be unacceptable to the buyer.

  • Make your interior appear more spacious by removing appliances from countertops and clearing knickknacks off coffee tables and shelves.
  • Organize your closets and kitchen cabinets.
  • Open the curtains or blinds during the day to maximize the natural light.
  • Turn on the lights at night to create a welcoming environment for prospective buyers.
  • A home with too much “personality” is harder to sell. Consider painting walls white and removing clutter. This will help the buyer to visualize the home as theirs.
  • Landscaping can be expensive but can give you a fantastic return on your investment by creating desirable views and hiding blemishes.
  • Echo Fine Properties owner Jeff Lichtenstein’s vast experience in both selling homes and working with designers in the textile industry gives him a unique set of skills to help the home seller properly prepare their home for sale.

Please take a look at these helpful articles:

Why do a Pre-Inspection?

Staging & Selling a Home with Dog & Cat Pets


Now that your home is ready, it’s time to put it up for sale and market it. Establishing a marketing strategy your agent and the Echo Team is a must. Your agent will expose your home to the greatest number of potential buyers possible. They will use a marketing plan that will bring not only the most buyers, but also the most qualified buyers to your doorstep.

There are many different ways to get the word out that your home is for sale; MLS, The Palm Beach Post, Video Tours, Professional Photography, The Internet, Networking, Open Houses, and Direct Mail are just some of them. If you are in a buyer’s market, you will have to be extra careful when choosing a plan. You don’t want your property to sit unnoticed. You and your agent should structure your marketing strategy so that the first 3-6 weeks that your house is on the market will be the busiest.

Learn more about the Home ECHOnomics marketing plan at our How We Do It page.


When a buyer decides they like your home, they will make you a written offer. The Echo Fine Properties Team will advise you as to whether or not the prospective buyer is qualified to purchase your home. After all, who needs to review an offer from a buyer that is unable to buy it?

After determining the buyer’s qualifications, you and the Team will review the written contract, taking care to understand what is required of both parties to execute the transaction. The contract should protect the interests of all parties.

After you accept the offer, it may be too late to make any changes. The contract, though not limited to this list, should include the following:

  • Legal description of the property
  • Offer price
  • Down payment
  • Financing arrangements
  • List of fees and who will pay them
  • Deposit amount
  • Inspection rights and possible repair allowances
  • Method of conveying the title and who will handle the closing
  • Appliances and furnishings that will stay with the home
  • Settlement date
  • Contingencies

Remember that the legalities of this phase are very important. If you have any questions or concerns, be certain to address them with your agent right away.


Most offers to purchase your home will require some negotiating to come to a win-win agreement. All members of the Echo Fine Properties team are well versed on the intricacies of the contracts used in your area and will protect your best interests throughout the bargaining process. They also know what each contract clause means, what you will net from the sale, and what areas are easiest to negotiate. The Team will review the written offer with you to make sure you thoroughly understand what the buyers are offering and what they are asking you for in return.

Some negotiable items:

  • Price
  • Financing
  • Closing costs
  • Repairs
  • Appliances and fixtures
  • Throw-ins
  • Occupancy time frame

Once both parties have agreed on the terms of the sale, Echo Fine Properties will prepare a contract. Remember, bargaining is not a winner-take-all deal, it is a business process that involves compromise and mutual respect.


Once you accept an offer to sell your house, you will need to make a list of all the things you and your buyer must do before closing. The property may need to be formally appraised, surveyed, inspected and/or repaired. Depending on the specifics reached during the negotiations, you may pay for all, some or none of these items. If each procedure returns acceptable results as defined by the contract, then the sale may continue. If there are problems with the home, the terms set forth in the contract will dictate your next step. Depending on the contract, you or the buyer may decide to walk away, open a new round of negotiations or close.


A few days before the closing, you will want to contact the entity that is closing the transaction and make sure the necessary documents are going to be ready to sign on the appropriate date. It would be a shame to get this close to selling and have the deal fall through because of a missing form. Begin to make arrangements for your upcoming move if you have not done so.


“Closing” refers to the meeting where ownership of the property is legally transferred to the buyer. In Florida, the closing date is the closing date. Any change to the closing date would need to be agreed upon by both Buyer and Seller with a written amendment.

As the seller, you will need to be prepared to hand over any necessary documentation regarding the property and, depending on the arrangements made during negotiations, you may be required to have done something specific in order to close.

Be sure to read all of the documents and ask questions. It is important that you understand every document you are signing.


Congratulations on the successful sale of your home!

Now that you have closed, prepare to vacate your home in the time frame agreed upon. You should make a list of all the items you will need to do in order to turn the property over to the new owners. For example, make sure to cancel electricity, gas, lawn care, cable, etc., or if the new owner is going to retain some of the services, change the name on the account. See the Utilities section to find contact information. The home and all items specified by the contract should be prepared appropriately for the new owners.


Getting Your Home Ready For Sale


In preparing your house to sell, ask yourself over and over if your house looks like someone else’s dream house. Houses in move-in condition tend to be inviting to buyers; houses that are like new typically sell the fastest and procure the best price.

With that in mind, here are a few things to consider when getting ready to sell:


Remember the 60-second rule: that’s all the time you have to create a good first impression! Mow the lawn, rake leaves, trim trees and shrubs that keep light out of the house, and remove dead plants. Pick up tools, garbage cans, hoses, toys, and building materials, and store them neatly in a storage area. Replace broken or missing roof shingles and straighten and clean the gutters and downspouts. Clean all windows and mend torn screens. Painting your house helps improve curb appeal more than any other fix-up! If you decide against painting the entire house, consider painting the front door, window frames, and shutters. Seal or resurface the driveway and repair broken steps and walkways. Paint or replace your mailbox and post. Dress up the front yard with some simple landscaping.

Clean, Clean, Clean

Step back for a moment and look at your home as if you were seeing it for the first time. Every room should be spotlessly clean, dusted, and uncluttered. Steam clean the carpets and wax the floors. Wash the walls, windows, and light fixtures. Tighten loose stair railings and clean all woodwork. In the event that you feel a project of this magnitude is better left to a professional, ask your real estate agent to recommend a cleaning service.


Use bright light bulbs in the foyer and throughout the house. Fill the house with a pleasant aroma, such as berries in the summer or cinnamon in the winter.

Living Room

Replace the carpet if it’s worn. It costs money, but you may find that you will more than recoup that cost when the home sells. Patch cracks and nail holes in the walls, and repaint walls in neutral colors, such as white or ivory. Nail down creaking boards and stair treads. Lubricate any sticking or squeaking doors. Open all curtains and replace them if they are getting old. Add lamps and lighting if the house is dark. Set out fresh flowers.


Rearrange or remove furniture to make your rooms look more spacious. Too much furniture and too many knick-knacks make rooms look cluttered and small. One or two decorative items per surface are plenty, so pack the rest away.

Kitchen & Baths

These rooms should sparkle! Clear off counters and clean all appliances and fixtures. Scrub the floors and walls. Re-caulk tubs and showers. Clean these rooms thoroughly and be sure they smell fresh.


Take those things to Goodwill that you’ll have to discard anyway when you move. Organize shelves and straighten shoes. Be sure that sliding doors operate smoothly and knobs on drawers are secure.

Utility Room

Dust and wash the washer, dryer, and water heater.

Light & Bright

Do everything you can to brighten the interior. Replace wallpaper with white or off-white paint and repaint shabby or dark walls. Open the blinds and replace broken windows and window seals. Always maintain a comfortable temperature inside the house, even if you are away for an extended period of time.

Want to learn more?

Learn more about the Home ECHOnomics marketing plan at our How We Do It page

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