If you’re thinking of selling your house or condo, first read Ilyce R. Glink’s excellent “50 Simple Steps You Can Take to Sell Your Home Faster.” Her common sense advice includes tips most sellers either don’t know or don’t want to think about. For example, Glink recommends thoroughly cleaning and refurbishing a home before putting it on the market. But she doesn’t recommend major renovation, just cleaning and painting. She even goes into detail, explaining why cleaning out closets to make them look spacious is important.

The book is filled with real-life examples, which make it enjoyable and easy reading. For contrast, Glink also includes examples of what not to do. She tells about home sellers who try to hide defects that buyers (or their professional inspectors) usually discover, thus killing the sale. Instead, the author recommends disclosing defects up front so buyers won’t be unpleasantly surprised. This easy-to-read book has a light-hearted but serious tone.

Glink’s mother is a longtime real estate broker from whom the author obviously picked up much of her realty experience. Virtually all the important issues sellers should anticipate are discussed. Emphasis is on preparing the home for sale, but almost half the book is devoted to choosing a listing agent and marketing the home. The author doesn’t hesitate to discuss controversial topics, such as negotiating a lower realty commission at the time of listing, especially on expensive homes. However, the downside of up-front commission cutting is buyer’s agents often won’t show homes with reduced commissions when comparable full-commission homes are available. Glink recommends, after interviewing at least three realty agents, negotiating hard on the listing terms. She wisely suggests listings no longer than 90 days and recommends including a termination agreement in case the seller doesn’t get along with the listing agent or decides not to sell.

Perhaps because the author’s husband, Sam, is a real estate attorney, she strongly advocates sellers hire an attorney, even in states where they are not customarily used. Although hiring an attorney is superb advice for do-it-yourself sellers, perhaps Glink has never encountered ”deal killer” lawyers who create more problems than they solve. Chapter topics include: Five Rules Every Home Seller Should Live By; Cleaning House: Five Steps You Must Take Before You Sell; Spaces You See: Bedrooms, Bathrooms, Kitchen, Living Room, Dining Room, Family Room, and Home Office; Behind Closed Doors: Closets, Cabinets, Pantry, and Storage Spaces; Outside Your Home; Price It Right: Paperwork and Closing; and When Nothing’s Working. The excellent appendix includes The Top 10 Mistakes a Home Seller Makes, a Room-by-Room Checklist and Websites for Home Sellers. This complete ”how to sell your home” book is an enjoyable read with lots of practical advice. The author has strong opinions on some topics, such as cutting sales commissions and hiring a real estate attorney, but her overall advice is profitable. On my scale of one to 10, this excellent book rates a solid 10.

2003 Bob Bruss. All rights reserved.