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5 Ways to Get the Best Price for Your Home

Evidence continues to suggest that 2012 will mark the beginning of a true housing market recovery.

Homeowners who were on the fence about selling may start to consider it more carefully now that the numbers are looking better. If you are thinking about selling your home, you want to make sure you get the best price you can for this market. Here are some factors you can control to get the most out of your home sale:

1. Make the minimum improvements. You may not want to put a lot of money into your home before you sell it, but you should at least make the following improvements:

  • Patch all cracks and holes in ceilings and walls
  • Fix code violations, broken appliances and heating and air conditioning systems
  • Repair leaky faucets
  • Replace worn carpeting, broken windows and old window coverings
  • Repaint dark or marred walls with a neutral color, but not white
  • Repair or replace the roof, if needed
  • Change outdated light fixtures and ceiling fans

2. Remodel responsibly. Weigh the cost of proposed improvements against the home’s market value after the upgrades or repairs are completed. Some upgrades may not be warranted if they won’t bring a return on the investment. Kitchens and baths typically carry the highest return, and the exterior is important to make a good first impression.

3. Price it realistically. If you’re not very motivated to sell your home, maybe you can afford to price it high and wait for that offer to come in. But if you want buyers to look at it, you need to price your home realistically. If it’s overpriced, buyers may submit lowball offers, which tend to result in an immediate offer rejection. Sellers who “test the market” usually get stung.

4. Hire an experienced agent. You can hire a good listing agent or a mediocre agent, but they cost about the same. A good agent will be able to recommend strategies that will sell your home more quickly and for a better price.

5. Sell before buying. When you sell first, you have the luxury of time—you don’t have to take the first offer that comes along. Sellers who aren’t under pressure to sell often get higher prices because buyers can tell they’re not desperate. You can always try to make the sale contingent on your finding a house to buy or ask for a contingency period during which you are free to look for a replacement home.

After you get the best price you can for your house, you’ll have an even better idea of what you can spend for your new home. Happy hunting!

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