Important Tax Ramifications for Short Sale Transactions!
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How long is too long? It's not an exact science, but there are some helpful indicators. In a dry market, a sales period of six months to one year isn't unusual. Look at recent sales reports of similar homes nearby to determine a reasonable selling interval. In a hot seller's market, a house that hasn't sold within one month indicates a problem. In either case, there are several steps you can take before putting up the white flag.
10 tips to improve your selling karma
1. Videotape your house, inside and out, and watch the tape as if you were a prospective buyer. Is the lawn weedy or the garden bare? Is your home uncluttered and spotlessly scrubbed? Sparkling-clean houses sell faster than those that look too lived-in or show an abundance of the owner's personality.
2. Take a second look at your listing price. Visit open houses in your neighborhood. Are similar homes priced lower? Selling prices may have dropped since your first comparative market analysis. (See recent home sales in your area here.) In a hot market, if you haven't sold your home within one month, chances are good that you've overpriced it. If you do lower your asking price, consider a figure slightly below those of other comparable homes if you are interested in a speedy sale.
3. Do whatever it takes buyer agentsto be away from your home during showings and open houses. The presence of sellers makes it difficult for prospective buyers to take their time or talk openly with their partner and agent. Leave some treats out to make potential buyers more comfortable: beverages, nuts, cookies -- anything that won't lose freshness or be too messy.
4. Ask your listing agent to talk to in his or her firm who have shown your home. The feedback from their clients can guide you in making home repairs, toning down your décor, making landscaping improvements and the like.
5. Hold an open house on a weeknight. Competition is lower, and you'll attract the interest of buyers who can't make weekend appointments because of other commitments.
6. Neutralize your color scheme. Most buyers prefer pale, neutral colors that make it easier to imagine a new home as their own. Houses with white exteriors are the highest sellers; for interiors, try whites, off-whites or pale gray.
7. If you've had offers but you considered them too "lowball," try readjusting your sights. Determine the lowest price you find acceptable, and consider anything more as icing on the cake. In a longstanding dry market you may even have to sell at a loss, so it's important to take every offer seriously. You don't want to alienate a potential buyer who has solid financing because you've set your sights unrealistically high.
8. Is your listing agent giving your house adequate attention? If not, start by having a candid talk. If there's no change, discuss the problem with the firm's broker. As a last resort, wait until your listing agreement expires and find an agent with a proven track record in your area. On the other hand, if you have a fabulous agent but the market is underwater, consider offering an increased commission or a bonus for your listing agent as extra incentive. If you do sweeten the pot for your agent, amend your listing contract to reflect the change, and be sure it's added to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) book -- buyer agents will also be inspired to give your house extra attention.