Hints to Help Sell Your Home in a Buyers' Market

If you're thinking of selling your home now, here are some tips that will help you sell it faster and get the best possible price:

* Select a good realtor. Interview at least three prospective agents that are active in your area and pick the one that seems to be the most professional and knowledgeable about your neighborhood.

* Make sure that your property is priced right. Ask your agent for a list showing the recent sales prices of homes in your area, and set your price accordingly.

"Homes that are priced right are still selling," said Joan Knox, owner of J. R. Taylor Real Estate in Woodland Hills. "The ones that stay on the market for months are usually the ones that are overpriced."

* Be flexible when it comes to showing your property. With buyers calling the shots in today's market, you have to play by their rules. If a buyer wants to drop by in the evening or early morning, try to accommodate the request. It may be days or even weeks before someone else is interested in the property, and you can't sell it if nobody sees it.

* Keep your home tidy. That means no dirty dishes in the sink, no papers on the floor and no fingerprints or smudges on the doors. Keep the yard well-manicured, consider painting the house and make those little repairs that you've been putting off--like fixing that leaky faucet or mending that torn screen.

* Be realistic when it comes to negotiating. Unlike a year ago, buyers are driving a hard bargain and you'll be expected to dicker. But if your property is priced appropriately, you probably won't have to knock more than 5% off your asking price.

Remember, too, that reducing your price is only one way to make concessions. You can also agree to a closing escrow date that meets the seller's needs, offer to help out with the financing by taking back a second mortgage or offer to pay some of the seller's closing costs.

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