Sell that House

by Lynn Lofton

Published: September 1,2008

This may be the worst time in years to sell a home. Yet, real estate professionals have plenty of advice for homeowners needing or wanting to sell their property.

Although professionals in different areas of the state are facing various real estate issues, they all preach the same number one mantra for selling a home: price it right.

“First, I would suggest pricing the house based on what other similar houses in the immediate area are currently selling for,” says John R. Praytor, president of the Jackson Association of Realtors. “A house that is priced at the upper end of the price-per-square-foot is going to take longer to sell. A competitively priced house will sell in a timelier manner in today’s market.”

Tupelo broker Ellen Short, who’s been in the business for more than 30 years, says the other part of pricing is making changes, rather than expecting buyers to come in and paint or change carpet.

Making changes?

“This advice is always relevant, but more so these days,” she said. “People don’t want to come in and make changes. Look at your home as though you were buying it. If you’re not willing to make needed changes, then price it for those things that need to be done. That’s very significant in these difficult times.”

Short, a broker for the Jay Guyton Group and TRI Realtors, points out that the market is adjusting right now. “We’re not in that market of a few years ago. Sellers must recognize they won’t get those boom times,” she said. “It’s a buyers’ market and you have to get them in your house to see it.”

Diane Carpenter of Coldwell Banker Alfonso Realty in Gulfport sees a double pricing whammy in the Coast area with the slow market and astronomical insurance costs.

My house is worth what?

“Homes under $200,000 are what are selling and there isn’t a lot in that price range,” she said.

Libbi Logan with Lynn Pace Real Estate in Cleveland, agrees with the others about the right pricing of a home, but feels the number one piece of advice is to hire a real estate professional.

“A Realtor takes comparatives from the neighborhood and similar areas and can provide the homeowner with price points,” she said. “In my experience, people who list within the comparable price range usually sell quicker.”

Short notes that homeowners may want to ask their Realtors to run another price analysis every few months and adjust their price if needed.

Curb appeal is a biggie with professionals. “Make sure the first impression is the one you want to give. Make your home as appealing to buyers as possible,” Logan says.

Cut the clutter!

Once potential buyers are in the front door, the interior must be clean and neat.

“Declutter, neutralize paint colors, and make sure your home is not overwhelmed by personal items and collectibles,” Logan advises. “These things can be beautiful but they are distracting. Make your home open and bright. Little things such as cleaning and changing light bulbs can make a difference.”

Praytor suggests asking a Realtor to help with staging the interior so that it has the most appealing appearance and avoids clutter that disrupts the flow of the house.

Contact MBJ contributing writer Lynn Lofton at llofton656@aol.com.

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