Selling Your House in a Recession

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Let’s begin by making a list. A little organization goes a long way, and making a list of the simple projects around your house that need to be completed before it is placed on the market will help you get and idea of what needs to be done, the time required and the cost so you can get those projects done.  In order to sell your house, it will need to appear to buyers that there is no work to be done.  Even if the problem is a minor one, such as replacing light bulbs or outlet covers, take note of it and see that it gets done before buyers come to take a look.

After you’ve fixed the smaller problems that are obvious to buyers, make another list of projects that will increase the value of your house.  It’s never a good idea to cover up flaws that the future homeowner will have to deal with, and a good inspector is likely to reveal them anyway.  Instead, be sure that the furnace really does work and the roof doesn’t leak before you go any further.

Now it’s time to capitalize on your investment.  Think about the characteristics of your house that make it stand out in the crowd.  This step is crucial in a down market, when buyers are picky because they can be! Once you have an idea of how you can make your house the “one in a million,” you can begin to play into these assets and make them more obvious to the buyer.  Perhaps you have a sunroom or a new deck; make sure these elements are the feature.

Another trick used by home stagers is to make sure your house has appeal to every type of buyer.  Just because you love hunting doesn’t mean your potential buyer will appreciate the deer head mounted above the fireplace, and these personal items can in fact distract buyers from the beauty of your house.  Take down your personal items and place them in storage.  Instead, paint the rooms with neutral colors, remove unnecessary decorations and make sure your house is clean and distraction-free.

It may sound crazy, but curb-appeal is a very real factor to consider when placing your house on the market.  When buyers see your home from the outside they make the decision whether or not to pursue the sell.  Make sure your home is inviting, warm and friendly on the outside by keeping the yard and landscaping neat, power-washing any dirty outdoor surfaces, and keeping away toys and other clutter that can turn away your buyers.

Don’t be afraid to hire a realtor.  Though it is appealing to list your house “for sale, by owner,” the odds are against you to actually make the sell you desire.  Hiring a realtor gives your house the advantage of publicity and makes your job a lot easier.

Lastly, don’t overprice your house, especially with an economy in recession.  Buyers are looking for a great deal, not just a good one and many times the success or failure of a sell comes down to the price alone.  Be willing to come down on your price, based upon the comparable properties in your neighborhood.  Realize that with a recession, prices fluctuate and your mortgage amount and house value may no longer match.  If you really want a sell, work with your buyer to give them the best deal possible.

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