Selling Your Home

Many homeowners are having trouble selling their homes in today's shaky market. Stephanie AuWerter, Editor of SmartMoney.com, has some tips for making your home more attractive to potential buyers.

First, be sure you've priced your home correctly. "If you set the price too high, the house might linger on the market which will make some buyers start to worry whether there's something wrong with the house," says AuWerter. Check out what similar homes have been selling for recently in your area, and price your home based on that amount. Just because your old neighbor got $500,000.00 for their home two years ago doesn't mean that's what your house is worth today. Be realistic and remember that these are hard times.

Also, do your best to spruce up your home. Clean up the clutter around your house. Be sure the grass has been cut and that your shrubs and trees are trimmed. Also, fix minor things that are wrong, such as a window that's painted shut or the scuffed baseboards in the living room. These small changes can really appeal to buyers. Economical upgrades - like new carpet in the master bedroom or a new backsplash in the kitchen - can really make a big difference.

Any big renovations should be done for your own benefit, not for future owners. Big changes won't necessarily increase your home's value. "You may be able to recoup some of the costs... but you're probably not going to turn a profit on a renovation," says AuWerter. For example, increasing closet space in your home will only yield roughly 50% of the renovation costs. While these may be important upgrades, you won't get all of your money back.

While some people chose to sell their home on their own in order to save money, AuWerter suggests using a broker. "Having a broker on your side may very well make your home sell more quickly," says AuWerter. "It also ensures that your home will be in the multiple listing service, which is the big database that includes 95% of the homes that are on the market." Selling a home on your own can be a lot of work; consider using a broker to help things run more smoothly.

Finally, remember that beggars can't be choosers. You need to respond to every offer you receive, no matter how low it might be. Don't be ashamed or insulted; responding can generate interest in the property. Families who may have been on the fence about your home may feel compelled to put in a bid. This can start a bidding war, which works in your favor.

For more tips on selling your home, as well as additional personal financial advice, click here to visit www.SmartMoney.com.
By Erin Petrun
  • CBSNews

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