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Q:  Marsha, I am putting my home on the market, and I want to sell quickly. I noticed some houses sell in nothing flat while others languish on the market. What can I do to sell in short order, yet receive a good value for my home?

A:  I thought about your question. It is apparent we are in a cooling off phase of real estate. Sellers today must put effort into selling their home. While no sale will ever go smoothly 100%, there are specific actions to take and to avoid. Here are five actions sellers can make for a successful and positive selling experience:

1) Choose the right agent and avoid the wrong one. The right agent is well-qualified and able to prove it. They are with a reputable company, know your area and have experience. The wrong agent is someone from outside the area, who doesn’t know how to price your home and has no valid references. The wrong agent would be your best friend from high school, your aunt or even yourself. You’ll sell quicker, for more money and with much less inconvenience when you hire the right agent.   

2) Next, set the right price on your home. Your agent has done the research and presented you with comparable sales in your neighborhood. This includes houses currently on the market and homes sold within the last four to six months. She is familiar with market values because she is local and sees 30 to 40 homes a week. When your agent recommends selling for $900,000, don’t overrule her advice and say, “Let’s just try $950,000 and see what happens.” What happens is that you’ll miss being a hot item in the crucial first weeks, when you have the most activity and interest. You’ll lose the large pool of qualified and willing purchasers in your true price range. 

3) Be sure your house is ready for the buying public. This means allowing your agent to guide you through the house prepping process. The presentation of your house is a central element to marketing and selling your real estate. You need to declutter, clean, repair, paint, stage and have the property professionally photographed. Don’t neglect the outside; it’s the buyer’s first visual impression, so don’t let it be the last. 

4) The easier a home is to show the better. Buyers have all sorts of restrictions on their time, whether they’re coming from out of town, paying a childcare provider, or want their relatives to view your home. As inconvenient as it may be to you, work with the buyers’ schedule. If the home is priced well and looks great, you’ll soon have the home sold and your life back in no time. 

5) Finally, disclose all you know about the house. What do you need to disclose? Everything. Don’t hold anything back. It’ll come back to bite you later.

Good luck! Let me know how it goes.

Marsha Gray has worked in Santa Barbara real estate for over 25 years. She works at Allyn & Associates, where she helps her clients buy and sell homes and with lending services. To read more of Marsha’s Q&A articles, visit Contact Marsha at (805) 252-7093 or DRE# 012102130; NMLS #1982164.

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