Make Your Home Stand Out

When selling a home, make it stand out from the rest to battle the bargains.

According to the Urban Land Institute’s “Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2009,” housing prices could bottom out by late 2009, but only if several conditions are met: the majority of distressed properties move through the system, loans become more available while interest rates stay low, and people stay employed.

Until home prices finally hit rock bottom, sellers should be prepared for stiff competition in the housing market, and not just from sellers like themselves. Builders, desperate to sell their large inventories of new homes, will slash their prices significantly. Banks will also set their prices low to sell the large number of foreclosed homes on the market.

If you can wait until 2010 to sell, the housing market will be less congested and competition won’t be as fierce. But if you have to sell in 2009, you’ll need a game plan to battle with the bargains out there. Try these tips to make your home stand out from competitively priced new homes and foreclosures:

  • Price low. Overpricing or even market pricing your home in a tough market is a bad move, as is making gradual price reductions. Homes get the most exposure from active buyers during their first two weeks on the market, and those buyers will quickly lose interest if your price is too high from the get-go. Instead, grab buyers’ attention early by pricing your home 5 to 15 percent under comparable homes before putting your home on the market.
  • Offer incentives. These days, builders often throw in extravagant extras such as cars, vacations or even paying a year’s mortgage to entice buyers. If there are new constructions in your area, be prepared to offer similar incentives.
  • Emphasize ease. Buying a foreclosure can be a lengthy process, and purchasing a new construction can require a wait time if the home isn’t completely finished. Appeal to serious, motivated buyers by showing that you’re flexible and able to sell quickly.
  • Make your home move-in ready. When anticipating foreclosure, homeowners often neglect or even intentionally damage their homes. As a result, many foreclosed homes aren’t move-in ready. Make your home stand out from foreclosures by keeping it clean and well-maintained.
  • Highlight desirable qualities. New homes often lack the unique features and high-quality construction of pre-existing homes. When selling a pre-existing home, make it stand out from new constructions by emphasizing features like architectural details, hardwood floors and mature landscaping.
  • Stage it. Foreclosed homes, devoid of furniture or decoration, often come off as cold and impersonal. Give your home some appealing personality by hiring a professional stager or by reading up on staging tips.
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