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Ready to Sell Don’t let a rocky real estate market rattle you. With a few smart moves, you can make the sale happen without a hitch. By Bill Zahren You’re wondering if it’s time to downsize. Or you’re ready to live in a new location—perhaps closer to family or in a warmer locale. But then you hesitate. What about all those reports of a less-than-stellar housing market? Is this really the best time to sell? There’s no reason to give up on or delay your thoughts of selling your home. When it comes to the housing market, experts say, there’s still plenty of reason for optimism – if you play your cards right. Here’s how: Think Local Real estate experts counsel against judging how your house might sell based on national trends. The adage that the three most important things in real estate are ―location, location, location‖ holds true even in down markets. The market can fluctuate noticeably within just a few miles. Just ask Edward and Milli Adams, who sold their house in 2007 after it was on the market for only 48 days. The quick sale allowed the Adamses to move to their new home at Ardenwoods, a senior living community in Arden, North Carolina. ―We had a really good Realtor, and our house was in a great area. It was a wonderful home. It sort of sold itself,‖ Edward says. The first lesson? Even if talk of the bursting housing bubble has you spooked, investigate the local market before you rule out trying to sell your house—you might be surprised. ―There are lots of areas that are more stable or have a better market than others,‖ says Mary Davis, a veteran Realtor in Des Moines. ―You never really know about the market in your specific area until you check into it.‖ And the second lesson? Enlist the help of a savvy real estate professional. That’s what Burton and Ruth Lundquist did—and they can’t imagine having sold their home without one. ―I’d recommend getting a good real estate agent who will work hard to make the procedure easy,‖ Burton says. ―We found that open houses were important to get the exposure needed to find a buyer.‖
© 2008 – Life Care Services LLC
Start Early As soon as you seriously begin to consider moving to a senior living community, start preparations for selling your home. That approach worked well for the Lundquists. In fact, their future home, Sagewood, a senior living community in northeast Phoenix, is under construction. Now, with their house sold, the Lundquists can relax, take their time to downsize, and move into temporary quarters before settling into their new home at Sagewood. Be Prepared Even though Edward and Milli sold their home relatively quickly, they entered the process with a great deal of uncertainty. ―We had been exposed to the market and we assumed that it would take us quite some time sell our home,‖ Edward says. ―We decided to get on the waiting list at Ardenwoods and see how it fell with the house.‖ Update Your Home Homes that are updated have an edge over those that need work done. ―I always say it’s all about location and condition,‖ Davis says. ―Fifteen years ago, people weren’t so concerned with the condition of everything,‖ she adds. ―Today they’re more likely to want everything to be perfect when they move in.‖ Davis says having a frank discussion with your real estate professional about updates can help speed sales. Some upgrades—like replacing flooring, painting walls, or remodeling the kitchen— can pay for themselves with an increased selling price. Even if you don’t want to make updates, having estimates available will give potential buyers an idea of what such changes might cost them. Kill the Clutter You probably won’t increase the square footage of your home to attract buyers, but you can make it look bigger by de-cluttering. Dr. James Barry and his wife, Naomi, now residents of The Heritage at Brentwood, a senior living community in Brentwood, Tennessee, took a methodical approach to disposing of possessions accumulated over 64 years of marriage and 44 years in the same home. They started by making a list of everything they weren’t taking to The Heritage. Then they invited successive waves of children, grandchildren, close relatives, and church mission leaders to take what they wanted. The rest was donated to charity. Burton found that giving possessions to children and grandchildren also eased the pain of parting with certain items. ―We’re passing things on, sometimes things that were passed on to us, so that made it easier,‖ he says. As for parting with your house when you successfully sell it? Moving—particularly when you’ve been in your home for a number of years—can be a difficult transition. Be sure to pack fond memories of the place you’re leaving behind as you journey into an exciting new chapter of your life—rest assured, it’s going to be a wonderful ride.
© 2008 – Life Care Services LLC
Five Ways to Speed Up Your Sale The National Association of Realtors® offers these five key steps for speeding up sales in any market: 1. Price it right. Your Realtor can recommend a price based on recent sales of similar homes in your area and local market conditions. 2. Get your house market-ready before you begin showing it. Plan to spend at least two weeks preparing it. 3. Be flexible about showings. It’s often disruptive to have a house ready to show on the spur of the moment, but the more people see your home, the sooner you’ll find a buyer. 4. Prepare for offers. Decide in advance what price and terms you find acceptable. 5. Be flexible with price. If your home has been on the market for some time without an offer, be willing to consider lowering your asking price in order to sell it more quickly. For more tips and advice, check the National Association of Realtors website at www.realtor.org.