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Real Estate Sales Tips for Winter 2008:
5 tips to keep your listing active as the market cools in winter.

Although winter is notoriously sluggish in terms of real estate shopping, the downtime provides a golden opportunity for homeowners to enhance their property’s marketability. Here are five simple ways to pump-up your listing, even during the winter lull:

  • Calculate your estimated heating costs going forward for the rest of the winter.

Heat rises, and so does the cost to keep a house warm while energy prices escalate. So you may want to offer a discount to your potential buyers in exchange for a prompt sale. For example, one owner of a large antique house faced combined utility bills of $900 a month for the upcoming four months, for a total of $3,600. He advertised that he would contribute $2,000 in closing costs to a buyer, and one jumped at the chance. He closed within 30 days, saving himself more than $2,500.

  •  Provide a Home Warranty

Especially if you are selling an older home, consider buying home warranty insurance and giving it to your buyer. A home warranty policy offers coverage for repair or replacement of items such as appliances, heating and air conditioning units, electrical systems, and clogged plumbing.

The cost of the policies varies, but most average between $250-$500. But the reassurance they provide to a homebuyer usually far outweighs the expense of paying for the policy, so a home warranty can sometimes give you a competitive edge as a seller.

  • Host a Broker’s Open House

While public open houses are common – and we see lots of balloons tied to listing signs during spring and summer months – the broker’s open house is a more specific marketing tool. And Realtors generally agree that a broker’s open house is much more effective in terms of generating a sale.

Rather than invite buyers, you invite only Realtors, so for every person who attends you generate many potential contacts with qualified buyers who are looking for a home. Realtors visit your home, tour it, pick up information sheets on the property, and keep it in mind for possible showings to their own clients.


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