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Tips for selling your home in the challenging ’07 real estate market

by Jeffrey Hammerberg
For those trying to sell a home this year, the real estate climate can feel unseasonably chilly. Truth be told, this is one of the most difficult selling environments in recent history, so if you are feeling a bit frustrated and anxious, you are far from alone. All across the U.S. homeowners are pulling out the stops to try and encourage sales, but successful transactions are getting as scarce as hen’s teeth.

Before you despair, follow these tips offered by those with lots of experience marketing homes in bear markets:

Calculate your heating costs going forward
Especially if you live in a cold climate, consider the financial impact of keeping your house warm through the coming winter months. Fuel oil prices are likely to rise, and the expense of

A fresh coat of paint is the most cost
effective tool for adding value to your home.
heating a home across a severe winter can add thousands of dollars to your overhead. If that is the case, you might want to rebate a portion of that projected cost to your buyer, as an incentive to take the property off your hands while the weather is still warm. Don’t tell them that’s what you’re doing; just discount the price or add extra money to their side of the transaction by offering to pay some of their closing costs.

Sweat the small stuff, but make sure you first take care of any “deal killers” that might be scaring away potential buyers

Broken doorbells and doorknobs, cracked window panes, and dingy carpet or countertops can make a property look worn out, so consider fixing these relatively small items to dress up your home and make it more appealing. But first evaluate your property with the help of a realtor or building contractor, to find out if you have any “deal killers.” If the house needs a new roof and has stains on the ceiling from rain leaks, for instance, it could be driving away all potential buyers. The same goes for obvious problems like the presence of potentially hazardous mold or a defunct heating and air conditioning system. Unless you address these problems — either by taking care of them or by lowering your asking price to account for them — buyers will not want to get involved.

Add curb appeal
If your home looks great from the curb, buyers will want to have a closer look. If it looks a bit shabby, they will just keep driving. Start with the entryway, which is what first attracts the eye, and make it look spectacular. Don’t invest a lot of money; just buy a new door or paint the one you already have and add some nice looking but inexpensive flowerbeds, potted plants, or border fencing to create a beautiful focal point leading into the home. Do-it-yourself landscaping involving some rich-looking mulch and colorful flowers can make a drab property pop like eye candy, and it doesn’t have to cost much to get dramatic results.

Paint is the best makeup in the world for cosmetic enhancement of a home
Paint is the most cost-effective tool for adding value to your home. Avoid expensive paints and designer hues in favor of contractor grade paint in neutral colors. Avoid dead white, because creamy shades are warmer and more inviting. Use complimentary semi-gloss colors to highlight window and door frames. A primer coat will help to cover stains and blemishes and caulk is cheap, so use it liberally to get your money’s worth from the project. For a really top-notch look, three coats of paint works miracles, and in small spaces like bathrooms this can be done without going overboard on your budget.

Take an aggressive approach to showcasing your property
Although it can be difficult and inconvenient, strategically redecorating your home could lure buyers and close a sale, making it well worth the effort. Don’t do a huge makeover — just concentrate on tactical “staging” of each room. Study the way that builders decorate their model homes for professional insight into how the process works to help market property. Remove all excess furniture and clutter — storing it off premises if possible — to make the rooms look larger and more spacious. You can hire professional real estate staging companies to do this, or consult an experienced realtor for tips on how to make each room look its very best. Empty closets to show off their storage capacity, keep the property immaculately clean and neat for each and every showing to buyers and use flattering lighting to highlight each room.

You might find that implementation of a simple and cost effective idea or two from this list might give you the advantage necessary to turn a lifeless listing into a successful sale. And that could be cause to celebrate before the last “hoorah” of summer arrives and qualified buyers begin to hibernate for winter.

— To list your home with a broker committed to serving the LGBT community, visit www.GayRealEstate.com. To help your buyer get the loan they need, you can also check out www.GayMortgageLoans.com or just call toll free 1-888-420-MOVE (6683).

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