November 20, 2008
Like I promised yesterday, here are some more tips for how to get your home sold in this not-so-optimal market:
- Freshen up inside. Cheap things such as a fresh coat of paint can really make a difference. If you want to spend that extra dollar to help make a big difference consider things such as new carpet or refinishing wood floors. It also pays to hire a professional cleaning service to remove years of grime from your kitchen and bathrooms.
Smell matters, too. It is extremely difficult to sell homes that reek of cigarette smoke or pet and cooking odors. Make sure if this is the case, to take care of this.
What to do: Hire a building restoration company to remove odors if scrubbing does not do it. Services range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. (Look in the phone directory under "Building Maintenance" or "Building Restoration.")
- Include special features and construction details in your Multiple Listing Service (MLS) listing. French doors, mosaic tile or a gated entry sets your home apart from others in the area.
Be descriptive. Rather than writing "in ground pool," you or the agent should write "in ground pool with waterfall and hot tub."
- Offer incentives to buyers and brokers. Many home sellers are "bribing" buyers with cash, cars and flat-screen TVs. Most effective incentives...
Help with closing costs. Cash-poor buyers might have trouble paying up-front mortgage expenses. Offer to pay a portion of these costs, and buyers have a reason to choose your home.
Pay for buy downs. Many lenders will lower interest rates by one-eighth to one-quarter percentage point in exchange for an up-front payment. The payment usually is 1% or 2% of the loan amount.
Include details of your incentives in your MLS listing, newspaper ad, flyers, on your Web site and anywhere else you advertise the property.
You also can offer real estate agents a bonus, which often is an extra 1% to 3% of the purchase price, on top of their usual commission, at closing if they find you a buyer. Mention the bonus only in the MLS listing.
Important: If you offer a sales incentive, disclose this in your sales contract with the buyer. If the incentive is not mentioned in the contract and the buyer later defaults on the loan, the lender could claim that you and the buyer engaged in fraud by manipulating the sale price of the home to include an asset that the lender could not foreclose upon.
- Don't over-negotiate. If a potential buyer's first offer is reasonable, consider accepting it, rather than making a higher counteroffer. Buyers have so many homes to choose from today that they sometimes move on to other properties, rather than make second offers when sellers don't accept their initial bids. If you do not need to sell quickly or your home is garnering lots of showings, counter -- but if you need to sell fast and the initial offer is reasonable, do not risk losing the sale over a relatively small amount of money.
Good luck with using these tips to help you sell your house and move out!
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