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Tips to sell your home in the winter

Let’s talk about homes that are already on the market and getting them sold before winter sets in or if folks have to come new to the market during the upcoming winter season.

If they are already on the market there is only one answer, price! Pricing according to what the buyer’s are willing to pay at this time is not always something seller’s want to talk about. Many sellers have an inflated opinion of the value of their homes. When a property is clean and neat, has been marketed properly with an agent that provides quality signage, some print advertising, great local exposure to other agents, and has given the subject property really good and complete exposure on the Internet (the most effective form of advertising these days) if the price is right it will be sold!

No showings? Your price is perceived by the local realtors to be too high or they would be showing it! No offers? Sellers feel your price is so high that you will not be realistic even if they do make an offer.

New comers to the market this winter will experience a mixed bag. Interest rates are low but not everyone can qualify. Lenders have swung to the opposite extreme where the only small down loans are FHA and come with a higher mortgage insurance rate than ever. Self employed individuals who take high deductions on the their tax returns cannot qualify at all, even with high credit scores. All cash investors want a “steal” not just a “deal”. And the middle man who used to purchase the move up homes range do not have the confidence to liquidate the safe haven homes they already have (even if they are under water) and move up.

So, if you have to sell in the traditionally slower winter season, make sure your home looks its best. A pre sale pest inspection letting you know where you need to take care of water issues such as fungus and dry rot will enable you to get those items fixed and not become a downward bargaining chip for a buyer. Keep the home warm (no one likes to look at a house when they are shivering). Be aware of pet or cooking odors that can become overwhelming to a buyer when we keep our homes locked up in winter. Great smells like cookies baking and soup simmering still help!

A winter seller may get attention simply because there is not a lot of competition on the market. So be sure to take advantage of this by making the right pricing decision….base it on sales! Not on what other seller’s are ASKING for their home. Your agent can provide you with actual sales in the last 90 to 120 days….those should be your guideline…..and they should be homes that have the same features, square footage and lot size as yours.

Finally, interview at least 2 and preferably 3 agents that have been recommended to you or have good name recognition here in Healdsburg and a higher level of education in the real estate field. Pick the agent who will give your home the best exposure, especially on the Internet. Don’t just listen to their presentation, get on your computer and see which agents properties and websites show up when the potential buyers search for homes on Google and Yahoo.

Then ask yourself, do I believe this person can sell my home for the highest possible fair market price (not wishful price) with the least amount of hassle in a reasonable amount of time? If the answer is yes and you communicate well with that agent that is the person for you!

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