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Tips for Selling Your Home: What can you do to sell your home in a bear market?
The summer of 2006 was the season for seller shock as buyers took control of the housing market and homeowners watched the value of their homes plummet. Coming away from those experiences homeowners got creative, and during the first half of 2007 they pulled out every trick in the book to lure buyers.

Quirky ploys made the headlines but did not necessarily result in any successful sales. One couple threw in a free vintage bottle of wine and an expenses-paid vacation as a bonus to anyone who would buy their home. Another used raffle tickets and a lottery style drawing to try to sell their house, and one celebrity appealed to his fans to buy tee shirts to save him from imminent foreclosure.

But despite such elaborate schemes, the housing market continued its slide. A few years ago it was not unusual for homes to receive competing bids within hours of being listed, but now they are more likely to languish for six or eight months without a nibble.

Figures for April 2007 sales volume and median prices of new homes both came in more than 10 percent below last year’s levels, as the building industry reported the sharpest year-over-year drop in prices since 1970. As the cost of new homes falls, owners of existing homes are faced with more intense downward pricing pressure, and to sell in this kind of environment requires patience and skill.

Here are some tips to help you encourage buyers, along with advice on mistakes to avoid if you hope to sell your home this summer:

 Avoid the temptation to “fish” for a higher price when you list your home.

When you first list your home you have your best shot at attracting qualified buyers who have looked at everything else on the market. But unrealistic pricing won’t bring offers because buyers have already done their homework and know what houses in your neighborhood are worth. Pricing too high will only lead to dramatic price drops, which can make you appear overly desperate and encourage even lower offers.

Price your home according to the market, not your emotional investment.

We have many reasons why we value our homes, but in a buyer’s market those who shop for homes evaluate them based on the going rate for price per square foot, location, amenities, and other objective criteria. Adding sentimental value into your price can drive away potential buyers and will only help to sell the houses of your competition because compared to yours; those will look like better bargains.

To promote a sale, offer to help the buyer with closing costs.

This may be a buyer’s market, but mortgage money is tighter than ever because of more stringent lending guidelines. If you offer to pay closing costs for your buyers, that will help them qualify for a loan and manage move-in expenses, which may tip the scales in your favor.

Contribute to the cost of repairs and upgrades.

Buyers are cash poor because they have to make a big down payment and pay for all sorts of other miscellaneous expenses related to moving in and furnishing a new home. Offer to give them cash toward repairs and upgrades, and that may be even more inviting and effective than slashing your asking price.

 Listen to your Realtor, and make sure your Realtor listens to potential buyers.

In a slow market it is critical that you hear from all potential buyers regarding their impressions of your home, its price, and the way it shows, because that information will help you make adjustments that will get it sold. Insist that your listing agent follow up and ask for input after every showing to get fresh feedback. Then consult with your Realtor and take the necessary ste

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