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Pricing your home to sell

Date posted:  5/21/15 09:15:00 AM Home sellers should consider slightly reducing their asking price to spur interest.

While the demand for housing is gaining steam, many prospective sellers still face a tall task when hoping to find a qualified buyer at the right price. That's why Deb Tomaro, a real estate broker from the Midwest, told Trulia she often recommends home sellers slightly underprice their properties. Tomaro said she prefers this method because pricing too high reduces the exposure to buyers, as it's better to reach as many buyers as possible.

Bill Hamberg, president of the full-service real estate agency PAHouseLink, told Trulia he's had firsthand success using this method.

"We priced at $325,000, below the fair market value of $330,000," Hamberg said. "We received two offers sight unseen - one over asking and another at full price. The home sold for $332,500 before the day was out."

But using this tactic doesn't mean you have to undercut your price 15 percent. Homeowners should find a range they are comfortable with, whether it's three or five percent, to raise awareness among buyers. Homeowners can also stand firm at their asking prices if they believe it's fair and favorable compared to the market value.

Cathy Craig, managing broker at Legacy Properties West Sotheby's International Realty, told The Durango Herald the housing market is favoring sellers, but buyers aren't willing to dole out serious cash for just any property. Proper pricing relative to the neighborhood still remains crucial.

"A seller can't take that and say because it's a seller's market, I can bump my price 10 percent and get it," Craig said. "Properties that are overpriced aren't selling. They're sitting on the market, no matter how great of a house it is."

Play to the buyers
CNBC reported that current homebuyers are fairly picky and are looking to land major value for their money. So along with having a competitive asking price, sellers can also take on a few other tasks to expedite their selling process.

One such task is cleaning up the home and depersonalizing it before any potential buyers come for a visit. CNBC reported buyers want to envision themselves in the home, so they won't want to see pictures of you and your family hanging from the walls or plastered to the refrigerator.

"Depersonalizing is important," Craig said. "If there's 25 years of kid pictures and soccer trophies, the first thing a buyer will think is, 'Wow, I don't know if the homeowner will actually move.'"

When it comes to cleaning up, the more space the better, so getting rid of any clutter is hugely important. The kitchen and the bathroom are particularly important to most buyers, so after you've decluttered your home, pay a little extra attention to those two spaces to make sure they are tidy.

Tackle minor renovations, not major home improvements
Renee Hillman, a real estate expert from North Carolina, told Trulia that up to one in five homes under contract never reach a final sale because of inspection issues. Hillman recommended sellers look into a professional home inspection and then follow up with any problems before prospective buyers visit the home.

Home sellers should also look into tackling renovation projects that improve a home's deficiencies while also providing a solid return on their investment.

Theresa Bond, a real estate agent from Michigan, told Trulia buyers often see dollar signs when they realize repairs need to be done. Bond said buyers imagine they'll have to spend thousands of dollars in repairs on a home instead of deducting those repairs from the asking price, which inevitably turns them away from the property.