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Home Buyer's Recession Survival Guide - Get Your Home Sold Quickly & At Your Asking Price

Updated on May 26, 2009

In the good old days of only a year or two ago, it was easy to get your asking price. The hard part was determining who of the many bidders you felt like awarding the property to. That situation is now long gone and in what is in many states a buyer's market, the seller has to be far more proactive than just placing a sign on the front lawn and waiting for buyers to trip all over themselves.

One of the biggest mistakes is setting the house price at whatever the first agent says it's worth. Speak to several agents and average out all the estimates. You'll find that they vary significantly. You should also check online or just by driving around and jotting down agent phone numbers what the other houses in your neighborhood are selling for. There's no point going into the archives and seeing what they were selling for a year ago, as that was then and this is now.

When making the final decision, don't let greed make it for you. Realize that it's a tough market out there and if you are really serious about selling the house quickly to a buyer who is not going to waste your time playing hide and go seek with your lawyer, consider dropping the asking price just under the agents' average. Prices move houses.

Only 1% of homes are sold at Open Houses and many of the other sales gimmicks realtors use are just that. Gimmicks. The only sales strategies that have a proven track record of being successful are (in order): The sign on the lawn; a big ad in a well-distributed newspaper; a listing on realtors.com. You may find that #2 and 3 may have switched places lately.

Pick an agent objectively. Is that person running huge color ads in the paper? That will give you an indication that they are contributing a sizeable percentage of their income into advertising and that is a very good thing. When you call the agent do you reach them immediately or leave voice mail after voice mail? Are they willing to sit down with you and discuss all the aspects of the transaction, or do they do a quick walkthrough, determine that your house is maaaaahvelous and that it will sell in 25 nanoseconds to get you to sign the listing agreement?

Buyers buy on emotion, not rationale. You should wow them when they see your house. The outside should be meticulously manicured. The inside should be cleaner than an operating room, smell sweeter than a Mediterranean hillside and have not the slightest hint of clutter or repairs waiting to happen.

Don't ever go with a low commission realtor or worse yet, just try to do it yourself. Low commission realtors don't have the income to advertise properly and only a masochist would want to do the whole transaction on their own. You'll find that when a realtor is selling their own home, they get a trusted realtor friend to list it. Even the realtors don't sell their own homes!

It is also extremely important to carefully and meticulously coordinate the process of sale / purchase where you're buying your new house while you're still selling your old one. There are two major transactions ongoing at the same time with a combined value that may be well over half a million dollars. This is a big money game and there are a lot of players that need to be coordinated: real estate agents, lawyers, title company representatives, loan officers, appraisers, home inspectors and more. One of the biggest hurdles is usually deciding whether to buy or sell first. There are "guaranteed sale" programs offered by some real estate agencies and they should be very carefully scrutinized. The price that they "guarantee" to buy your home at may be way below market value.

You definitely do not want to be in the position of accepting any low-ball offer just because you're closing on your new house next week and are desperate. At the time of the drafting of your offer on your new house, you may want to specify that you want a clause that gives you X weeks or months to sell your old home. Better still, don't even enter into a purchase agreement until you have a sales contract in hand that gives you X weeks or months to close and move out of your old house.

At times like this, you should stubbornly resist speaking on the phone. Really! Get all your agents, lawyers, etc. to email back and forth. Why? Because if there is a problem later on, you can just go through your email archive and show that on such and such a date at such and such a time, this person stated this that and the other thing. If it's just been done on the phone, anyone can simply use that famous politicians' line of "I have no recollection..."

To avoid the nightmare of getting caught between houses, find a truly reputable realtor, check their references, and when you're totally satisfied that they're the one for you, then you can trust them to help you navigate this treacherous minefield.

Read The Entire Survival Guide

Home Buyer's Recession Survival Guide - The Subprime Meltdown
Home Buyer's Recession Survival Guide - The Advantage Of Renting Over Buying
Home Buyer's Recession Survival Guide - Why Rent? Why Not?
Home Buyer's Recession Survival Guide - Five Common Mistakes House Buyers Make
Home Buyer's Recession Survival Guide - Get Your Home Sold Quickly & At Your Asking Price
Home Buyer's Recession Survival Guide - Improve Your Home's Value And Sell It For More!
Home Buyer's Recession Survival Guide - Learn The Value Of Curb Appeal
Home Buyer's Recession Survival Guide - Home Staging: Valid Selling Technique Or Fraud?
Home Buyer's Recession Survival Guide - Before You Go House Shopping
Home Buyer's Recession Survival Guide - The Home Condition Checklist
Home Buyer's Recession Survival Guide - Getting A Mortgage From Different Types Of Lenders
Home Buyer's Recession Survival Guide - What To Do After You're Turned Down
Home Buyer's Recession Survival Guide - New Initiatives To Help Get You Approved
Home Buyer's Recession Survival Guide - Isn't HUD An Old Paul Newman Movie?
Home Buyer's Recession Survival Guide - Jumbo Isn't As Huge As He Once Was
Home Buyer's Recession Survival Guide - FHA Q&A
Home Buyer's Recession Survival Guide - The FHA's Credit Requirements Vs. The Bank's
Home Buyer's Recession Survival Guide - Your Credit Score And Your Mortgage
Home Buyer's Recession Survival Guide - Credit Score Confusion
Home Buyer's Recession Survival Guide - Keeping That Credit Score Nice & High
Home Buyer's Recession Survival Guide - Minimize The Interest Payable
Home Buyer's Recession Survival Guide - What Is PMI & Why Do I Care?
Home Buyer's Recession Survival Guide - The LIBOR-COFI-COSI Alphabet Soup
Home Buyer's Recession Survival Guide - REO: Get Rich Quick Or Just Waste Time?
Home Buyer's Recession Survival Guide - Obtaining Flipping Money
Home Buyer's Recession Survival Guide - Consider The Additional Costs
Home Buyer's Recession Survival Guide - What Is Escrow?
Home Buyer's Recession Survival Guide - Tips To Avoid Foreclosure
Home Buyer's Recession Survival Guide - The Changing Value Of Your Mortgage Dollar
Home Buyer's Recession Survival Guide - How To Ride The Interest Rate Spikes
Home Buyer's Recession Survival Guide - Can't Get A Mortgage? What A PITI!
Home Buyer's Recession Survival Guide - Calculating Your Closing Costs
Home Buyer's Recession Survival Guide - Mortgage Broker or Mortgage Banker?
Home Buyer's Recession Survival Guide - The Magic Of A Down Payment
Home Buyer's Recession Survival Guide - A Refinance Checklist
Home Buyer's Recession Survival Guide - Refinancing With Bad Credit
Home Buyer's Recession Survival Guide - The Self-Employed Mortgage Maze
Home Buyer's Recession Survival Guide - VA Loans
Home Buyer's Recession Survival Guide - Offset & Reverse Mortgages
Home Buyer's Recession Survival Guide - The Reasons To Not Buy An Offshore Retirement House
Home Buyer's Recession Survival Guide - How To Pay Less Than $500 A Month
Home Buyer's Recession Survival Guide - Five Easy And Cheap Tips To Save Big $ On Energy

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    • Hal Licino profile image
      Author

      Hal Licino 9 years ago from Toronto

      Thanks! The residential property market has turned upside down in just a couple of years, so it's really important to be very careful when trying to sell a home!

    • Gypsy Willow profile image

      Gypsy Willow 9 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      Souind advice!

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