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Selling Your Home In a Buyer's Market

10 tips to help you make a sale and come out on top when the market is down

In an ideal world, we buy low and sell high. However, many homeowners don’t have the luxury of waiting for the housing market to rebound and must sell now. When the market is down, sellers need to work even harder. Fortunately, there are things you can do to help maximize the return on your biggest investment.

1. Consider having your home professionally inspected before you put it on the market. Issues brought up during the buyer’s inspection can delay or even kill your sale. Know the real condition of your property so you can price it properly.

2. Be up-front with buyers. Be proactive. If there are items in obvious need of repair, consider pricing out the cost of repair and sharing that information with potential buyers.

3. Find the best real estate agent for your home. One positive for sellers in a slow housing market is that there are more good agents willing to compete for your business. Do your due diligence and find the one that specializes in your neighborhood and understands your situation.

4. Consider offering a home warranty. A systems and appliances warranty may provide you with an advantage when marketing your home by providing buyers with greater confidence in their purchase.

5. Check out the competition. Take a look at the comparable listings in your area and attend area open houses if possible. Doing so can give you ideas for staging your home and making your listing more attractive to buyers.

6. Consider high-return do-it-yourself projects. Replacing carpeting with wood floors or upgrading your kitchen countertop or cabinets can be done in a weekend and may pay for themselves and then some at sale time.

7. Write a listing that gets noticed. Studies have found that listings including brand names when describing appliances are more effective than generic wording.

8. Keep your home warm and well-lit. In the winter, buyers are more attracted to warm, bright homes. Turn up your thermostat and consider replacing dim bulbs for higher wattage ones during a showing.

9. Price your home right. Today’s buyers are extremely savvy and have many resources to research and understand the true value of homes in your area. Work with your agent to negotiate and discourage lowball offers by pricing your home according to today’s market versus what you wish it was worth.

10. Freshen up your listing. Don’t let the photos of your listing show that your home has been on the market for a while. Make sure exterior photos are current and reflect the time of year in which the home is being sold.

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