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How to Sell Your Home in the Slow Market?

It has been hard to miss the run up in real estate profits that have taken place over the last several years. Many circumstances, including record low interest rates, a robust economy, new mortgage products and rapid growth, seem to have converged to create a perfect world for those selling homes. Now that the rate of home appreciation has begun to slow, it can be much more of a challenge to sell your home for an acceptable price.

Part of this challenge is psychological. Even though the seller may have a substantial profit in the home, it can be difficult to sell when a few months earlier the home would have sold for much more. Therefore, it is important for every seller to take a step back and evaluate the true value of the home and the surrounding area. In a more realistic world, that mobile home in California probably never was worth $1.2 million, even if the trailer park features swimming pools and tennis courts.

Those selling into today's more challenging market should sit down and calculate just how much they have invested in the home, and how much equity has been accumulated. Even those who purchased their homes recently are likely to have experienced good gains in the recent run up, and it is very unlikely that the property is worth less than it was when purchased.

Sitting around with an unsold home on the market can certainly be a frustrating experience, especially if the home seller has already purchased a new home. It is important not to panic, however, and not to drop the price precipitously. A dramatic drop in price is a big red flag to buyers, and it may make the home less likely to sell instead of more likely.

Often, the best way to sell a home more quickly in a less than stellar market is to adjust the terms of the sale instead of the price. While it may sometimes be necessary to adjust the asking price downward, or to negotiate a lower price with the buyer, sometimes offering help with closing costs, or an extended settlement date, will go a lot further.

When deciding which terms of the sale to change, it is important to remember that the recent run up in home prices has left many potential buyers stretched and unable to afford the traditional 20%, or even the more generous 10%, down payment. Often sellers who offer a so-called "seller contribution" have better luck selling their homes than those who simply lower the price.

For instance, a seller may offer to help pay some of the closing costs of the sale, thus freeing up more of the buyer's money for the required down payment. Sellers have been using this strategy for years in down markets, and it may be time to bring this tactic out of storage.

Most lenders will allow such seller contributions and not look at them as price reductions. This distinction is an important one, since the mortgage will be written as a percentage of the lesser of the sale price or appraised value. Many lenders will allow the seller of the home to make a three percent seller contribution, while others are more generous and will allow a seller concession of six percent or even higher.

Real estate brokers will have much more information on how to negotiate and write such a seller concession in lieu of a decrease in price. As these agreements become more and more popular, more home buyers are looking at these types of financing options. Since the down payment is a deal breaker on so many homes, it makes a lot of sense to engage in a negotiation that allows the buyers to have more cash in their hands at the closing. For more tips on how to sell your house in the slow market, you can read this related article on selling your house fast here.



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