Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Tips For Sellers Down On Their Luck

Consumer Reports, the trusted rater of consumer goods and services, also offers tips for consumers holding, buying and selling homes. It recently offered advice sellers can bank on.

by Broderick Perkins
© 2008 DeadlineNews.Com

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Deadline Newsroom - In any market, there's nothing worse than a listing that languishes unsold for weeks or months.

And when the bidding wars end, the flipping flops and the easy mortgage money gets hard, sellers really have to pull out all the stops.

Having the means to move a home today is paramount, says Consumer Reports.

The trusted rater of products and goods also offers information for homeowners holding, buying or selling their home and recently offered homeowners tried and true ways to quickly sell homes.

Get good representation. Seek local agents who are managing sales even when the market is slow. Have several of them give you a presentation to justify your home's value and explain their marketing technique. Attend open house events hosted by prospective brokers so you can check out their on the job performance.

Get market smart. A good agent can clue you in about market conditions and the latest prices because she or he has access to closed sales data before they become public records. He'll also have knowledge about the details of the sales including concessions and other giveaways that may not show up in the final price.

Get generous. Offer concessions on closing costs, promise to include tangible items like a big screen TV or new kitchen appliances or be prepared to dole out some cash all to reel in buyers. Consumer Reports reported sellers offering vacations, golf carts, a period of monthly condo assessment or maintenance fees, moving expenses and the first mortgage payment.

Get a home warranty. A home warranty for the buyer will provide some protection against unexpected mechanical system breakdowns in the first year. Consumer Reports said, depending upon the coverage, costs range from $250 to $400 from companies like American Home Shield and First American Home Buyers Protection Corp. Be sure to read the small print.

Get loose on the deposit. In addition to a down payment buyers frequently make a good faith deposit to the seller. The practice and the amount varies based on local market traditions, but sellers generally want as much as possible. Settle for less especially if the buyer is pre-approved, has good credit and is really interested in the property.

Get some appeal. For buyers, curb appeal is their first impression of your home. It should arouse a gotta-have-it desire and persuade them to cross the threshold. Unkempt landscaping, litter and clutter are turn offs.

Get some staging. Staging is to the inside of your home what curb appeal is to the outside. Lay out some cash for professional staging if you don't have home decor genes. The effort will make your home more visually appealing to a wider variety of buyers, according to Consumer Reports. Removing clutter and cleaning house until is sparkles is part of the effort. Odors are turn offs. Staging can cost from hundreds to thousands of dollars but the pros make it worth the price and some real estate agents include some staging as part of their service.

Get ready to deal. When buyers know market conditions are in their favor, expect them to let you know that they know. And don't forget, anything in the real estate deal is negotiable so don't leave that deal breaking Warhol on the wall if you don't want it to become part of the negotiating process.

Get your listing updated regularly. Consumer Reports says don't use out-of-season photos with your listing. It tells buyers you've got a white elephant that isn't moving. With browsing for housing now a common practice among buyers don't overlook virtual staging -- a Web site, Web page or blog dedicated to your listing. The possibilities are endless for putting your home in the best light with professional digital images, videos and virtual tours, effectively creating a 24-hour open house. You can also provide information about the neighborhood, market conditions, points of interest, schools, crime, commuting and jobs. Later, use your digital effort as an incentive. Gift it to the new owner.

© 2008 DeadlineNews.Com

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Broderick Perkins, an award-winning consumer journalist of 30 years, is publisher and executive editor of San Jose, CA-based DeadlineNews.Com, a real estate news and consulting service, and the new Deadline Newsroom, DeadlineNews.Com's new backshop. In both cases, it's where all the news really hits home.

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