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12 Tips for Selling a Home in a Slumping Market

You can successfully sell a home in a declining market and even profit from the sale if you set realistic goals and work a little harder at it than your competitors. If you find yourself having to sell in a slow market, you'll need to make your home even more attractive and sweeten the deal to build more interest in your home.

Here are 12 tips for making your home sale happen:

  • Obtain an appraisal in advance so you know what the house is officially worth (based on the appraiser's professional opinion).

  • Price it to the market. Don't be greedy. Most sellers tend to set the price too high, thinking their home is worth more than it truly is. Check the sale prices of comparable homes that recently sold and the asking prices of comparable homes that are currently for sale in your neighborhood.

  • Have your home professionally inspected before showing it. Get everything repaired so lookers won't have an excuse not to buy.

  • Focus on curb appeal and making a good first impression. You don't get a second chance to make a good first impression.

  • Have your home professionally staged. A professional stager can transform an empty or overly cluttered house into a warm and welcoming home.

  • List the house with a seasoned Realtor, a veteran who has already experienced price wars in the housing market. According to the National Association of Realtors, a home sells for an average of 16 percent more when the seller uses a certified Realtor.

  • Give your Realtor paperwork highlighting all improvements to the home. Include any warranties you have for big-ticket items, such as a roof, furnace, or hot-water tank.

  • Offer a higher commission to your Realtor as an added incentive. If the going rate is 6 percent, consider offering 7 percent or 8 percent.

  • Buy a home warranty that's transferrable to the new owner. For a few hundred dollars, you can guarantee that the property is free of major defects.

  • Keep your home in ready-to-show condition at all times. Don't require a 24-hour notice.

  • Be open to negotiating on things like leaving furniture or appliances behind.

  • Be willing to pay closing costs for the purchaser, up to 6 percent. A slow market is usually sluggish because of a slow economy. Buyers, especially first-time buyers, are strapped for cash and may need you to help in some way with the financing.

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