In last week’s post, I talked about some of the challenges facing today’s home sellers, including record-high foreclosures, extremely high levels of unemployment, reduced income for many Americans, and the now-trashed credit profiles of millions of prospective home buyers.
These challenges are daunting. What can sellers do?
There aren’t a lot of easy choices, and what you choose to do will depend on how desperate you are to move out of your house.
Here’s the bottom line: If you want to sell your home next year, you have to make it look better than the other homes for sale and price it competitively—ideally, less than its closest competition.
If your house is underwater and you still want to leave, you should price your house at the market value and then figure out if you can raise enough cash to pay off the lender. If you simply don’t have the cash, you can contact your lender about a short sale (but be prepared to wait; short sales can take four to six months or more to complete).
Be sure to work with a top-notch real estate agent who is aggressive about marketing and showing your home and has a proven track record of success in your neighborhood with homes in your price range. You may have to shop around until you find a great real estate agent, but once you do, that individual will become your greatest asset.
The spring home-selling season is still the strongest. Traditionally, the first day of the spring selling season was the day after the Super Bowl. But now, January 2 is the unofficial opening of the spring selling season. And if you want to be ready, you’ll need to do your homework now, and follow these simple steps to get your home in selling shape:
Finally, if you’re doing holiday lights and decor, make sure they’re gone right after New Year’s. That way, you’ll be ready to list your home when the spring selling season starts on January 2.
Take a look at more Handyman and DIY Home Repair videos to help get your house ready for spring selling season.
Ilyce R. Glink is the author of several books, including 100 Questions Every First-Time Home Buyer Should Ask and Buy, Close, Move In!. She blogs about money and real estate at ThinkGlink.com and at the Home Equity blog for CBS MoneyWatch.
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