Monday, October 4, 2010

A Guide for first time home sellers

Lets say you've outgrown your digs and are ready to move. Selling a home in a down market can be a scary thought. Will you be able to pay off the balance? Will there be money left for the next purchase? Will your home sell in under three months, or will it sit on the market for a year with little or no interest? These are all fears a first time home seller may have but knowing what you're up against is half the battle. Consider these strategies when placing your home up for sale.

1. Do your research-
Before you place your home on the market research your area and your homes current market value, to get an idea.  Fortunately people have access via the internet that will allow them to take a look at comparable homes in the area. Knowing what they are currently selling for will help you gauge the value of your home. Knowing a rough idea of what your home is worth will help you determine whether it is a good idea to sell or not. For instance a home that has lost value in the last few years may not clear enough through the sale to allow you to make a down payment on your next home.

2. Be realistic, not greedy-
Its nice to make a huge profit, but it is also nice to make a sale in a reasonable amount of time. Don't overprice your home.  Many homeowners would like to believe their home is worth far more than it may be. However, many fail to realize what they are truly up against. Consider the competition, new construction and other updated homes. Have you kept up with your homes maintenance? When was the last time you upgraded things like appliances, furnaces, air conditioning, even fresh paint? These things will make a difference and in today's economy it is a buyers market. This means buyers have more to pick from than ever before. Your first threat is new homes. They are new, every aspect of them have been updated and curtailed to meet the demands of the current market. Your next threat is the homes in your area that are updated. Maybe their kitchen has been upgraded, or they have recently updated their bathrooms. Take stock at your competition, and follow suit. Make improvements before you place your home on the selling block. Beware, over improving for the neighborhood is counter-productive. Keep improvements within what people would expect for your price point and in your area.

3. Curb appeal-
Potential buyers see the outside of your home first. This is crucial information to have as a seller. What a potential buyer sees and their first impressions can either make or break a sale. What is your objective? Ofcourse, you want your home to say, "hey, take a second look, I'm worth it". How do you achieve this? Common sense strategies work magic in the housing market. Clean up the yard, trim the hedges back, play up the positives, repair and fix the negatives. Add flowers, fresh paint, and little touches like a new welcome mat can make a buyer get a feel for what type of a home you have. Well maintained means less expense for them. Remember to take a drive by your home, the improvements and best features need to be visable from the road. If you can't see it, a drive by buyer can't either.

4. Interior updates-
Not everyone can afford all the new upgrades that  a new home has, but you can certainly spruce up what you do have. Home staging is a crucial part of the selling process. Clean, spacious interiors are more attractive and give a buyer a real sense of the square footage they are buying. Remove clutter, and unnecessary furniture. Place as much as you can into storage and pack up personal items. Remember too, if it is older than 5-10 years old it will hurt your homes appeal. That goes for almost every part of your home, from furniture to appliances. Colors that are non neutral date a home, so if you have hard wood floors under that Hunter green carpet seriously consider unveiling it. Even if it isn't in the best shape buyers are willing have hard wood over dated carpeting. Colors that are date specific and translate into outdated decor are Hunter greens, country blues, brass metals and black lacquer. Make sure do have a friend or neighbor do a trial walkthrough of your home to point out things you may have overlooked. This includes smell, clutter, dusty areas etc. You may be immune to the smells in your home and if you have any pets, this is crucial. Thorough cleaning, steam cleaning carpets, upholstery and drapes can make a big difference. Get your Febreze ready.

5. Use the internet to your advantage-
Even if you sign on with a real estate agency, there's no harm in helping sell your home yourself. Posting links to your home on the internet is a great way to generate interest. Use updated, photos that are well lit, and show the best angles and attributes of your home. Did you know Ebay classifieds will post your ad for free? Post your home on other sites for free as well like and if  you have friends that are bloggers, send them your info and have them post it to their blog. Become active in the sale of your home.

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