Selling a House in 2010? Have a Strategy

Selling Home In 2010 Requires A Strategic Plan Of Action


February 28, 2010|By KATE FORGACH

Home sales, value and mortgage applications have risen slightly as mortgage rates stand at a historic low. This glimmer of positive news is offset by estimates that about 48 percent of all U.S. mortgages will be underwater by 2011. Foreclosures and short sales continue to plague the market, keeping a lid on home prices. As a result, 2010 will continue to be a buyer's market.

 That doesn't mean, however, that all hope is lost of selling your home this year. Here are some tips to sell your home in 2010.

 Don't Wait For A Recovery

Home values aren't likely to rebound to previous highs for several years, perhaps even a decade. While you may face a loss by selling now, that negative figure may be only a paper loss, particularly if you've owned your home for some time. 

Make Improvements

If you have access to credit, invest in improving and repairing your home before placing it on the market. Rehabs are more affordable now, thanks to the availability of low financing, reduced construction materials costs and lower contractor charges. Focus on upgrades to kitchens and bathrooms, especially counters and cabinets, as these yield the highest returns. Get three different estimates from contractors and add another 10 percent for unexpected costs. See Yahoo-RealEstate's strategies and checklist for upgrading and repairing your home at Hire Professionals

You need professionals, not friends or relatives, to repair, upgrade and sell the biggest investment you'll likely own. Your real estate agent should be well connected with other agents, lenders and industry professionals. Ask for credentials, references and a history of recent performance. Your appraiser should have at least five years' experience with an appropriate license or certification. Avoid any conflict of interest by not relying on your Realtor's recommendation. The same applies to hiring a home inspector. Talk to at least two or three appraisers and inspectors before selecting one.

 Get Down-Payment Help

Federal and local governments offer down-payment assistance programs for first-time buyers. Look for other city, county and state programs that will piggyback on federal programs for assistance. Search for "down-payment assistance programs" with the name of your region.

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