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Selling a House in this Market

By - 2008

What can you do if you are selling a house in this market? As I write this (early 2011) prices are still falling around the country, and sales are slow, to say the least. But don't give up. Here are some suggestions for selling in these tough times and getting the most for you home.

Wait a While

Not what you wanted to read, perhaps, but waiting could be the best idea depending on your circumstance. A bottom has to arrive sometime (and perhaps prices are already at the bottom by the time you read this), and then prices will start to rise again. If you have to move, consider renting out your home and having a management company handle the details for you. If you can come close to breaking even on a monthly basis, you might be able to sell for much more in another five or six years.

Don't Sell

This is another solution many readers will not like, but if you owe far more than what your home is worth, you have to either walk away and wreck your credit, or sell and pay the deficiency. If the latter means coughing up $40,000, reconsider your reason for moving. For example, getting a new job that pays $6,000 more per year might not be that great if you have to pay $40,000 to move. Stay where you are and you might be better off, and you might even sell your home for a gain someday.

Sell With Easy Terms

You can always get more for a home--and sell it faster--if you can make it easier for the buyer to buy it. If you own your house free and clear you might consider offering a buyer a low down payment and owner financing. He'll save on bank loan fees and get into the house easily, and you'll make good interest in a time when banks aren't paying much if anything on savings. If you are concerned about tying up your equity for too long, include a five-year balloon in the contract, which gets you out with your money and gives the buyer enough time to prepare to finance the house with traditional lenders.

Clean and Prepare

If you really need to sell, make your house one of the best-looking ones buyers will see. Clean everything, repair what needs repairing, plant flowers, and do anything else that is cheap and makes the home more attractive. And pay attention to the last suggestion...

Take Away the Unknown

Nothing scares off buyers like the unknown. You might guess that that little problem with the roof will take only a $400 patch, but a buyer doesn't know that. He is making the single biggest purchase of his life, and he wants to know what it's really costing him. Repair that roof, fix that heater. If you don't want to spend the money, at the very least, get quotes for the repairs in writing, and have them available for buyers to look at, so they know exactly where they stand. When selling a house in this market or at any other time, taking away the uncertainty (to the extent possible) will always make it easier to sell.


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Houses Under Fifty Thousand | Selling a House in this Market