Top 3 tips for selling a home in 2011

how to sell your home in 5 steps

If you’re planning to sell your home this year, I’ve got 3 tips to help you succeed. In my next blog post, I’ll have tips for home buyers.

1. Price it right.

Just before the end of 2010, The Wall Street Journal ran a page one article headlined “Housing Recovery Stalls.” The Journal said home prices in 20 major metro areas fell 1.3 percent in October from the month before, the third straight monthly drop. In addition, prices could drop by another 8 percent by mid 2011, the article said.

David Blitzer, chairman of Standard & Poor’s index committee, told the Journal that “a double dip” in the housing market is on the way, “if not already here.”  What does all this mean to you?

Regardless of where you live, it’s more important than ever to set a realistic asking price up front. In this buyer’s market, you don’t want to ask too much, only to have your property sit there for months.

It’s hard enough to sell a property today, and a ‘stale’ property is even harder to sell. Buyers sense you are desperate and may give only lowball offers. In addition to delaying the sale of your home, you may end up getting less money for it, too, than if you’d priced it right from the beginning.

For example, I know someone who decided to ask $649,000 for her property. I advised her $549,000 was more realistic. Three months later, she’s lowered her price, but the property still hasn’t sold.

To price your property right, get the most up-to-date comps. Given the frequent market fluctuations, comps from even a month or two ago are probably outdated. Also, visit open houses near you, to get a sense of the competition.

2. Put on your best ‘face’

But don’t stop there. Does your neighbor’s home look like a junkyard? Talk to them about cleaning it up, and be prepared to help pay for it if necessary.

Obviously, your budget will determine what you can do to prep your home for sale. But a little investment up front can pay off with a home that sells, as quickly as possible, at the price you need.

3. Be patient.

Assume it will take a month or more to sell your home, especially in high-priced areas like San Francisco and New York. Make sure you’re prepared to maintain the home’s overall condition as well as its curb appeal.  Have the lawn cut and the interior cleaned on a regular basis. You never know when a prospective buyer may want to see it or just drive by. The house should always look like it just went on the market.-


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