NEW YORK – Home sellers, beware! Prices of new homes plunged in September by 9.7 percent from a year ago, the largest month-over-month drop in 35 years, reports the Commerce Department. Existing-home sale prices also went down — in this case by 2.5 percent, the largest decline in nearly four decades.
But this may be just the beginning — analysts are predicting further price declines for both new and existing homes.
So how can you increase the chances of selling your home in this market and get a fair price?
Colby Sambrotto, COO of ForSaleByOwner.com, says that "in some of these markets, you're going to need some help making your home more appealing." See video interview with Sambrotto.
He offers some tips for getting the most from your property:
If you're in a buyer's market, consider skipping the agent — you save yourself the 5 percent or 6 percent commission you'd commonly have to pay. "Without incurring that cost, you have a cushion to spend money to make your house stand out from others," says Sambrotto. "You're saving an enormous amount, and you can pass the savings along to the home buyer." According to Sambrotto, 75 percent to 80 percent of all home searches start online. When selling on your own, take advantage of Web sites like ForSaleByOwner.com and Owners.com — they offer tools that help you market your home online.
Offer incentives that will entice potential buyers. Popular ones include splitting the closing costs with the buyer, paying the moving expenses or offering a home warranty on the property. A warranty probably will cost you only about $100 to $200, but it can offer buyers the peace of mind that might tip the sale in your favor.
Don't spend a fortune on home improvements, but do focus on details. Cosmetic improvements, such as a fresh coat of exterior paint, can go a long way toward making your home more appealing. When you show your home, stage it well — shut the garage door, make sure landscaping is done, clear up clutter. Pay special attention to the kitchen and bathrooms.
Some companies, such as ForSaleByOwner.com, offer packages that can get your home listed in the local Multiple Listing Service. Traditionally, to get your home listed, you'd have to go through a real estate agent. Now some companies can get you on the MLS for a relatively small fee. If your home is sold through an MLS, you must pay 2 percent to 3 percent of the home costs to any cooperating broker, but that's still less than the 6 percent you'd pay through an agent.
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