Although home appreciation has come to a halt over the course of 2007 that does not mean that a sellers still can not get asking prices for their homes. The sale may take a bit longer, but a little creativity can help sellers move homes without having to drop the price.
Price Your Home According to the Current Market: Just because a house comparable to yours sold for a very high price last year does not mean you will be able to realize the same price when selling your home now. Work with a full-service real estate professional to determine the appropriate, competitive listing price for your home. Remember that in this market, your sales associate may encourage a list price in accordance with other homes currently on the market, rather than those previously sold. Visit the Home Price Estimator on www.coldwellbanker.com to get a sense of comparative sales prior to meeting with your sales associate.
Be Thankful for Appreciation: While price appreciation has stopped in 2007, it is important to look realistically at the financial gains you have made over the years through your home equity. According to the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight over the last five years through June 30, 2006 existing homes in the U.S. appreciated more than 56%.
Make Your Home More Marketable: When a buyer sees your house for the first time, a critical first impression is made. If applicable, maximize curb appeal by trimming trees and planting flowers. A fresh exterior coat of paint might also prove valuable. Consider neutral colors for interior walls and carpets. Dark colors on walls, along with unnecessary clutter, make rooms look smaller.
Conduct a Full Home Inspection: If repairs are required, it is a good idea to go ahead and fix the problems. Potential buyers will cast an extremely critical eye over your home and, in a situation when more houses are available on the market from which to choose, they may take a pass on a home that needs too many repairs. Be sure to have the home inspection report available for prospective buyers itemizing all of the repairs that have been made and the associated cost for each.
Offer a “Seller’s Contribution:” A seller can sweeten the deal by including offering assistance to the buyer in ways that do not require lowering the asking price. These tactics can allow your home to stand out from the crowd. For example:
• Offer to buy down the interest rate on the buyer’s mortgage.
• Offer to pay a portion of the buyer’s closing costs.
• Cover the buyer’s mortgage payments for up to the first six months. Depending upon the size of the mortgage the buyer can save several thousand dollars and the seller still gets the original asking price for the home. Again, depending on the mortgage, the seller will get more for the home than if he or she dropped the asking price by $10-, $20- or even $30,000.
• Many condos and houses across the country belong to home owners associations that require annual dues. Paying the first year’s fees could be a big incentive to a buyer nearing the limit of his or her liquid assets.
• Offer to pay off a buyer’s bills. According to Realty Times, some loan programs allow sellers to pay off the credit card debt or auto loans of the buyer which will help him or her qualify for a better mortgage and prevent the need to buy a smaller, less expensive house.
Don’t Worry. Properly priced homes that do stand out from the competition are still selling. The consumer sometimes believes a market’s home inventory is how long it will take for a home to sell. This is likely not the case. Time on market is a different statistic that is usually more important to the seller.