In a buyer's market like the current one, many homeowners can't even sell their house, never mind get top dollar. Whether it's a draw of cheap, foreclosure properties or just a glut of conventional ones, buyers have more choice than ever. Many put their house on the market and see it languish with barely an offer—and that's after one or several cuts in the asking price. So, if you really want to sell, get real and busy. Here's some tips compiled from various realtors and real estate experts.
One of the first things, a buyer sees is the front door to your house. Make sure it’s new and/or freshly painted with shiny hardware. If you have a screen or storm door, replace that, too. You can do it yourself or hire a handyman at little cost.
There's more to curb appeal than a freshly painted (or re-sided) house with clean windows. Mow your lawn on a regular basis, prune some gangly bushes and plant some inexpensive bright flowers. Keep walkways and driveways clear of grass clippings, leaves and other debris. Buy a cheap blower.
It's hard for a prospective homeowner to imagine the potential of a room, if it is full of furniture, knickknacks, toys and general clutter, from boxes to bags to magazines. Remove all but essential furniture. So declutter for a clean, simple look. Rooms will also look bigger.
You don't need tons of photographs to have the memories of your time in the house. Make your house as impersonal as possible, by removing photographs, paintings and other decorative items (unless they're hiding a hole in the wall!).
You may have used one of these pods when you renovated and if you've followed the steps in the previous slides, you will need one. Clean out the basement and closets, pack up the contents and put them in the storage unit, along with that dubious furniture and decorations.
Gone are the "as is" days when a seller had to do little or anything to close a sale. Also gone are the decorating allowances. Do the simple, minor repairs and maintenance yourself, rather than expect the buyer to want to do that. There are too many houses on the market. “People are always working, and the last thing they want to do when they come home is pick up a paint brush,” he says.
Do your research and make sure you price your house competitively in the first place to avoid needless reductions and undue time on the market. "The biggest mistake sellers make today is that they don’t price their homes correctly,” says one realtor. “If a house sits on the market, people start to wonder, ‘what’s wrong with that property. How come it’s not selling?’"
Avoid letting those "for sale" signs be a fixture on the front lawn. If your house doesn't sell in 90 days, take it off the market for a while. Otherwise, you reinforce its unattractiveness. Put it back on the market in a month or two.
If your price is realistic, then it won't kill you to take a little bit less than the asking price. Don't let the moment escape or let a potential buyer to have second thoughts. In a weak market, today's discount may be more than you get two or three months later. Plus you've saved that many mortgage payments and perhaps a quarterly tax bill. Also, agree to reasonable requests that are easy to accommodate or fulfill. All of this makes the buyer feel in control.
These tips may help you avoid cutting the price on your home. But the market isn't favorable. Some 26 percent of homes currently on the market have had at least one price cut, according to real estate search website Trulia.com.
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