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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Five tips for selling a home, FAST

If we assume the standard must-haves for a home sale are already in place -- the home is de-cluttered, clean, and in good condition -- then all you'll need are these five tips to help you achieve a quick sale.

1. Get your loan to underwriting before you even make an offer.
With the buyers approved as a "sure thing," the main worry left is: Will the house past muster on price?

2. Focus on home "sold" prices. Don't spend too much time analyzing list prices -- after all, sellers can drop them dramatically overnight. Instead, study the "sold" prices so that you have a better grasp on the real market rate for the home before you get to the negotiation table. This should reduce your chances of multiple appraiser reviews before the lender approves the deal-or worse, nix it.

Many websites, such as Realtor sites and Zillow, let you view sold prices.   Listingbook churns data out in near-real time. You can see that a house went under-contract yesterday, for example, as well as sold prices by the percentage of list price, or price per square foot.

3. Frequent open houses. Comparison shop by actually getting out of your home and into ones for sale. Yes, it's convenient to view listings on your computer or Blackberry, but once you've narrowed down the choices, view as many of them as you can in person, even if you are the seller. The best way to gauge the competition is to see it for yourself. Remember, marketing materials are just that. A listing agent is not likely to highlight the crack in the ceiling or the bent door frame.

4. Personalize the home's marketing for the Internet-savvy buyer. Create a blog about your home and leave a note on the dining room table directing people to the site.  Include helpful articles and features of your home that will make it easier for prospective buyers to compare it to others.  In these days where almost everyone and their dog has a blog, any seller could easily produce such a site. I predict that this will be the future of home marketing -- but be careful if you choose the do-it-yourself route, as you could also unwittingly offend a buyer or highlight a flaw rather than a selling point about the home.  Talk to your Real Estate Agent before you start a blog of your home, we can give you the information you need.

5. Educate the appraiser about the home and neighborhood. Thanks to the new appraisals codes, which mandate the use of an appraisal management company, there is a good chance the appraiser will not be as familiar with the subject area as you are. The problem today is you can't assume an appraiser knows the neighborhood or has access to all of the neighborhood transaction details in the MLS database.
Owners should detail all improvements made to their home and how it may compare with the neighborhood norm.
Any known recent neighborhood sales that were foreclosures or were in poor conditions also should be provided, along with valid comps. Then compare that to the differences between traditional home values and distressed sale values and how the owner's home historically compares.

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