Tips for Selling a Home in a Down Market

Warmer weather tends to spark movement in the real estate market. Moving is easier and people want to be settled in their new home by fall for school. Even so, selling a home right now isn't exactly an easy proposition. It takes a little more work to sell a home than in previous years. Here are some top home selling strategies to keep in mind.

Price it right. There are about seven homes on the market for every buyer right now. Pricing it right from the beginning increases chances of selling a home quicker and avoiding price reductions. This is especially true if it has more features than other homes nearby, which can place it at the head of the pack.

Know the agent. Finding an agent with experience selling homes in the local market will help ensure correct pricing. When choosing a real estate agent, find out how long on average it usually takes him or her to sell a house. It's best to choose an agent whose properties sell in an average of three or four months, which generally indicates the agent understands how to price the market.

Make the repairs. A few years ago, it might have been enough to just amp up the curb appeal a little. People selling in today's market will have to do more than that. With foreclosures and short-sales as they are, there are plenty of "fixer-uppers" available to buyers priced low. Fix the roof, tighten the leaky pipes, refinish the hardwood floors and replace the drafty windows among other modest repairs to clinch the deal.

Spruce up the place. Appearance is still critical. Reduce the clutter in every room, especially when it comes to personal items or potentially offensive things. Update light fixtures and cabinet hardware in bathrooms and kitchens. Clean the carpets and polish the floors. Put a fresh coat of paint on the walls and on the front door. Trim the lawn, overgrown bushes and trees. It could be helpful to hire a professional stager.

Make it comfortable. Keep the thermostat at a comfy 68 to 72 degrees. Turn on every light for an open house, particularly if the home or condo is small or dark. Make sure buyers are greeted with a clean, inoffensive scent, like citrus, pine or even freshly baked cookies for those feeling inspired (Bonus: Leave the cookies out with a note that says "Help Yourself").

Be flexible. Make sure the house is ready to show at all times. That means making the bed each morning, cleaning the dishes before leaving, making sure clothes and toys are put away. Homeowners should also be willing to disappear if potential buyers are free to see the property. This will make it easier for prospective buyers just in case someone wants to see it at the last minute.

Look good online. Most buyers do their initial house hunting on the internet. Good photos and even video can entice people to come see the home in person. Consider hiring a professional photographer to shoot eye-catching photos and videos for online listings. Also, find out if the real estate agent engages in social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to promote the home.

There are a lot of homes available on the market right now. It might take a little longer to sell than usual, but it can be done and in a timely manner, too. By following these steps, homeowners can increase the chances of selling their home as close to their original listing price as possible.

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