Tips for Sellers

Like all sellers, you'd like to command a high price for your home—and every buyer would like to pay as little as possible. The sale depends on many factors, including market conditions, your home's desirability, and how quickly you want to sell. In most real estate transactions, sellers and buyers meet somewhere in the middle—but there are ways to tip the balance in your favor.
The urgency to make improvements later on may be prompted by a leaking roof, a change in the size of your household, or the need to convert the basement into the headquarters of a home-based business. You have a number of options to pay for improvements, including paying cash. However, most homeowners favor financing the job, especially if it involves significant remodeling or repair.

Get the facts
Don't spend money on a formal market appraisal. The best way to determine the value of your house is to get three comparative market analyses from three agents specializing in your area. Not only will the agents take recent sales data and your home's attributes into account, they also will factor your neighborhood into the equation. If you choose to work with an agent to sell your home, select one with a track record of local sales and a good marketing plan.

Set your price judiciously
Typically, if you set your price 5 percent to 10 percent above market price, you are likely to end up with an offer close to your home's true value. Also try calculating the cost per square foot of your house compared to homes already on the market (divide list price by square footage of livable space). If your house has more features or other desirable qualities, you may want to set a higher price. Finally, follow an old retail maxim for hooking buyers: Set your price just under a whole number, such as $179,900 rather than $180,000.

Don't waste time
The longer a house sits on the market, the less likely you are to get the best price. Put your house on the market during the spring or fall, when the most buyers are looking; avoid the seasonal slow periods of mid-summer and mid-winter. Remember, you're paying property tax, insurance, and other costs while you're selling. If you've already bought your next home, expenses can quickly add up.

Have your house inspected
A pre-sale evaluation from a qualified home inspector can save both money and heartache. You'll end up with a list of repairs you can address before you sell. The last thing you want is a surprise during the buyer's home inspection that will force you to lower the price or make costly, last-minute repairs before closing.

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