Tips for Selling your Home during the Real Estate Market Crash

Many experts are advising that it may be best to wait rather than try to sell your home in the current market. There are plenty of good reasons to give such advice. The market in most areas remains overstocked with inventory. Prices have not yet stabilized and as a result prices continue to slump in many markets. If you were to buy now in those areas, you could end up with an underwater mortgage within months of signing the paperwork. This situation is not expected to change for several months, and in some cases it could be years before markets begin to stabilize.

In some situations; however, sellers may not be able to wait before they sell. If they are facing a foreclosure, medical situation or work-related relocation, they may well have no choice but to attempt to sell their home in the current market. If you find yourself in this type of situation, it is important to know the steps you can take to sell your home in the current environment in spite of the real estate crash. One thing you must be aware of is the changing value of home improvements. Just a few years ago sellers could expect to recoup quite a bit of money for making certain home improvements when they sold their properties.

This is no longer the case. In fact, many experts are now pointing out that buyers are more interested in homes that are clean, neat and presentable than homes that are high-end. This problem is exacerbated if sellers follow the previously successful practice of increasing their asking price to cover the cost of recent remodeling work. Essentially, these sellers are asking the buyers to pay the cost of the remodeling. While this practice often worked when the housing markets were brisk and people who fell in love with your house's cool feature didn't want to risk having someone else buy the place out from under them, in a slow economy with plenty of houses to choose from, buyers are being more careful about becoming emotionally attached to any one thing about a house..

Therefore, before you make any improvements to your home for the purpose of selling it, you will want to seek professional advice from an experienced realtor who knows your market. Ideally, this should be done a few months before you plan to put the home on the market. By seeking professional advice, you can learn where to spend your money to get the the best return on your investment. In most cases this will be paint and flooring, since fresh paint and new carpeting or vinyl make a great difference in a house's eye appeal. However, this is not true in all markets; hence the importance of getting professional advice from a realtor knowledgeable about your area's market.

Another expenditure that can be worth it is a home inspection before the property goes on the market. In the past, home inspections were not performed until a property was actually on the market, and then it was paid for by the buyer. In a down market such as we are currently experiencing, buyers have the luxury of being more selective and want to see advanced reassurance that the property is in good condition and does not have hidden flaws. Obtaining a home inspection can set your home apart from the rest and provide peace of mind to buyers.

In addition, you should make sure you pay attention to the exterior of your home, and not just your lawn. Siding and windows, in particular, are an important area on which to focus. Any loose or damaged siding should be repaired, and all siding should be clean and free of algae or other biologicals. Window frames should be clean and in good repair, as should be any shutters. You may want to put a fresh coat of paint on the trim, and you will want to make sure the roof gutters are clean.

While in the past, kitchens were a major area on which to focus for home improvements because most sellers could expert to recoup most if not all of the cost, this has also changed in light of the existing market. Unless you cannot avoid it because of mechanical problems with your appliances, replacing dishwasher, stoves and refrigerators is not advisable.

Bathrooms have been another area in which home improvements formerly recouped significant investments. However, upgrading the fixtures is no longer advised unless they are actually broken, or discolored and not responsive to cleaning. Buyers in a down market are typically focusing on getting bathrooms that are clean and work properly, rather than fancy vanities, bidet toilet seats, or jacuzzi tubs.

Overall, if you must sell in a down economy, your best bet is to focus on the work that will make your plain-Jane house look clean and tidy, not try to tart it up with fancy improvements that could actually take it out of the price range of the local housing market.

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