How To Sell In A Buyer's Market

In 2005 there was a two-to-three month supply of houses on the market. Now it's nine to 10 months. That means it takes much longer to sell your house. So how do you increase your chances? CBS News correspondent Ben Tracy reports.

Another day, another open house for Mitch and Carrie Jacoves.

They're hoping the 20th time is the charm for their 3-bedroom house.

"We know this house has everything a buyer wants because I spent two years doing it," said Mitch Jacoves.

They remodeled the kitchen, painted the house and put on a new roof. But after more than five months on the market, they still don't have a buyer.

"Not to get the price or as much interest in the house was disheartening," he said.

That's a feeling shared by many homeowners these days - who not only find themselves in a buyer's market - but a buyer's market short on buyers, thanks to the credit crunch.

"Lenders have really tightened up their lending criteria and this is where sellers have to become more imaginative and creative," said Delores Conway of University of Southern California Marshall School of Business.

Some are offering cars, vacations and even a free condo with every home purchase from one builder in California.

But many real estate experts say skip the gimmicks. To really get a house sold today the most important thing is to make sure the price is right ... right away.

Real Estate Agent Zee Spezzano says it's crucial to price at or below the market as soon as the house goes up for sale.

"Prices are changing quite rapidly and sellers think that their house is still worth what it was last year," Spezzano said. "It's not."

Beside price, the best way to sell your home in a down market is to:

  • Hire an aggressive agent who shows you a plan for selling your house - and make sure they follow through.
  • Give your house a facelift with new paint and repairs.
  • List it online with such sites as eBay and Craigslist.
  • Offer to pay the buyer's closing costs.
  • And finally, take any reasonable offer.

    The Jacoves turned down an offer four months ago they thought was too low, but have since dropped their asking price.

    "Was the price offered four months ago more than you are asking now?" Tracy asked.

    "Yes," they said.

    "So you wish you had taken it?" Tracy asked.

    "Yes! If we got that offer now, we would probably take it," they said.

    Lessons learned the hard way in a housing market with very little curb appeal.