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How to Sell a House in a Tough Market

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By : Holly Wall    99 or more times read
Selling a house in a buyer's market requires extra thought and planning to develop the best strategy for success. If you are truly motivated to sell, but have limited funds available, use your money to motivate someone to buy your home instead of motivating someone to sell it.

First, a look at housing statistics...

Be forewarned. It isn't pretty. 40% of all homes sold nationwide during March 2011 were foreclosures or short sales, according to the National Association of Realtors chief economist, Lawrence Yun. And those distressed properties sold at discounts of roughly 10-15% below market value.

Market values haven't exactly been rising either. The median sales price of an existing U.S. home in March 2011 was $159,600. Compare that to the previous three years: $172,900 for 2010, $172,500 for 2009, and $198,100 for 2008. (Statistics taken from the National Association of Realtors website.)

So what does this mean? It means that if you want to sell your home, you must use what equity you have left to compete against those discounted properties and pay your agent's real estate commission.

Do I really need to hire a real estate agent?

Simply put, no. Not paying a 6% commission to a real estate agent might be the only solution for traditional sellers with limited funds looking to attract buyers in this market.

Say for instance a real estate agent has told you she would list your property for $148,000, why not offer it yourself for $139,000? Use that extra $9,000 to motivate someone to buy your home, instead of motivating an agent to sell it.

Seriously, there is a HUGE inventory of homes available on the market. Why should someone pay full price when discounted short sales and foreclosure are so abundant? Plus, even if a buyer is willing to pay full price for your home, the bank's appraiser might not be so agreeable.

Your discount might be just the nudge a discriminating buyer needs to leave the hassle of a short sale or foreclosure to someone else.

Unless you're independently wealthy or your company is paying for your move, why not try selling by owner?

If you use the above strategy, you'll lose nothing more than what you would have paid an agent anyway, and you'll hopefully sell your house fast because it's priced great and in better condition than those distressed properties!

Plus, today's for-sale-by-owner doesn't have to just put a sign in the yard and hope for the best. Since most buyers search the web for homes, it makes sense to showcase your home online.

Don't forget to place directional signs on busy streets near your home, and why not put some balloons on them to attract some extra attention? You'll be packing your bags in no time!

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