Thursday, March 19, 2009

Selling Your Home in a Slump

In today’s market selling may seem like a ludicrous idea. No one has the funds to buy or the background to obtain the appropriate amount of loans, so how could you even think your home would move? But you don’t have a choice. You’ve been transferred or your spouse has. You have to list your home, and you have to get someone to buy it. For that to happen, you’ll have to prepare, safeguarding against anything that could keep pen from paper.

Begin with the look of the house itself. In a booming economy, you could get away with cluttered rooms, unusual d├ęcor and a few maintenance problems. Today, you can’t. Get rid of the junk in your corners, your closets, the middle of the living room floor . . . just un-junk. Then, tone down anything that screams. Four red walls and a leopard print couch may appeal to you, but they won’t please the prospective buyers. Neutralize them. When you’ve done that, go through the house looking for little repairs that need to be done - chipped paint, old fixtures, dying flowers, etc. Fix them, and then do another inspection. This time, however, have a friend walk through who will be brutally honest and pinpoint any problem areas. Your eye isn’t always the most discerning, so having back up is crucial.

Once you’re ready to list your home, do so reasonably. Price your property as it should be priced. An inflated number won’t invite haggling; it will invite disinterest. And forget about what you want to happen. This isn’t a fairy tale market; it’s not even the market of yesterday. You won’t see the same cash return your neighbor did last year or the previous owner did when you bought the home. You’re going to get a deal that matches today’s market. It may not be the best, but at least it will be a deal.