Five Tips to Help You Sell Your House Now

Even if a quick home sale isn’t a do-or-die necessity, it is in your best financial interest. Surveys of real estate agents and popular knowledge make it clear that the longer a house lingers on the market, the lower the price will fall. Most homes that sell for their full asking price sell within two weeks of being listed. These five tips will help you sell your house NOW.

Tip # 1: Hire The Best Real Estate Agent You Can Find…

…and then follow his or her advice. Real estate agents are trained professionals whose business is selling homes for people. They can help you set the right price for your home, tell you what repairs and cosmetic changes you can make to help you sell faster, and guide you through the process step-by-step.

Tip # 2: Set the Right Price

The rule of thumb for selling a house fast is a price that’s within 5% to 10% of other homes in the neighborhood. If you’ve hired a real estate agent, they’ll know what other houses in your area have sold for. If you’ve decided to sell your home yourself, you can find information on recent home sales in your area online.

Tip # 3: It’s All About Curb Appeal

Most buyers who DON’T buy have already ruled out your house before they ever set foot through your front door. Don’t underestimate the value of the cosmetic appeal of the outside of your home. No matter how wonderful the inside of your house is, if it’s wrapped up in a shabby package and poor surroundings, then you’ll have a much more difficult time selling it. Take the time to fix up the outside of your house to show its best face to the world.

And don’t underestimate flower power! A small investment in a few plants to stand on the front steps or perk up a lawn border can make a huge difference in how your house is perceived.

Tip # 4: Make It Easy For Potential Buyers to Picture Themselves in Your House

Start by giving your house a thorough cleaning. Get rid of all clutter whether it’s visible or hidden in a closet. No one wants to buy a dirty house! Next, you should put away all of your personal belongings. You want your prospective buyers to see THEMSELVES in your living room, not you.

Another great trick when selling your home is to use a little psychology. If you’re repainting in summer months, consider using ‘cool’ colors. In winter, use warm ones. Make people feel happy in your house and it will sell faster!

Tip # 5: If you’ve Decided to Sell on Your Own, List Your Home with An FSBO Web Site

FSBO (For Sale By Owner) web sites are an excellent way to advertise your property. Most FSBO sites (http://www.forsalebyowner.com/, http://www.fiftystatesfsbo.com/) will tell you how to set up a Flat Fee Multiple Listing contract with a local Realtor. That will get your home listed in your local MLS service and dramatically increase its visibility.

If you’ve done your preparation work well, set the right price for your home and made sure that your house is as appealing as possible, you WILL sell your house NOW.

Sell Your Own Home Tips

Home values these past sixty years has steadily risen. Everyone (even those who should have known better) believed that the rise would continue forever and the entire realty industry was established upon that concept. So, the worst takes place after hyper-inflation of house values starts to tank. That bursting of the real estate bubble has caused a re-evaluation how one is to interact or should work with the real estate industry.

Sell Your Own Home Without Agents
Realtors make a lot of sense when home values are steadily increasing. Surrendering six percent commission to real estate agents was not an issue when someone was likely to make a significant profit on their property sale. However, we live in sadder, poorer time, a real estate agent becomes an issue as many people may actually be selling their home at a lost.

Sell Your Own Home Legal Assistance
Realize that title companies and escrow companies will be providing a massive amount of assistance in selling your own home. Even so, for legal paperwork inquire at a form and contract provider like We The People for a retailer or LegalZoom for someone online. A free source of information to answer basic questions if used sparingly and politely is a title company. Should more unique issues arise, seek legal help from real estate attorneys. Many will have flat rates for those doing a FSBO (For Sale By Owner).

Sell Your Own Home Marketing
Put the advertisements of the house on every free Internet classified service you are able to discover. Web sites such as Craigslist, USFreeads, and Backpage, do not overlook national services as they may provide you with an investor looking at your area. Position signage about the property, thus notifying every passerby that the home is purchasable. Advertise in newspaper publishers like the Penny Saver or Thrifty Nickel, they will be more inexpensive than the general, local papers. Lastly, construct a list of a hundred people you are able to contact who may come across other people who are looking to buy a home. Your hairdresser, insurance broker, instructors, pastors, everybody who is continually in contact with or in front of people, make sure they know you’re selling a home.

Sell House Now Tips and Information – Learn How to Sell a House Fast

It is now doubt the real real estate market will slow down during the holiday season. This is good for realtors and real estate investors who have been working very hard to help clients buy and sell houses but not so good for buyers and sellers.

If you are in the market to buy a house, December and January can be a good time to pick up some great deals on a house because there are not many buyers. It can also cause an issue for home buyers because the number of available homes typically is lower during the holidays as home sellers don’t want to move during this time.

The cold weather also has an affect on the real estate market. The colder it is outside the less home buyers are out shopping for a great new home and the less number of open houses real estate agents hold. In months when the weather is warm the number of houses for sale increases and so does the number of sold homes each month.

Does this mean you should wait to sell your house until Spring? Well, if you can wait it might be a good idea too, but many home owners need to sell their house now. The truth is life happens and there are many reasons a home you expected to stay in for seven to ten years suddenly becomes a home that you can only stay in for two or three years.

Home owners who need to sell their house fast typically have one of the following reasons: foreclosure, job transfer, divorce, relocation, family illness, short sale, etc. There are many reasons home owners need to sell a home but if you are experiencing any of the above stated issues you are more likely to need to sell quick.

The problem with needing to sell a home fast in the current real estate market is many home owners do not have much equity so selling a house can be very difficult. If you owe more for your home mortgage than what your home is worth it can seem impossible to sell your home. The truth is you still have home selling options. You can have a professional realtor or investor complete a short sale, lease option your home until the market increase or you can rent your house until the market increases and sell then.

It is important that if you are wanting to sell a house you discuss all your options with a real estate professional. Real estate can be a tricky thing to handel especially when you have an emotional attachment to the home. Discussion all your options with someone who is an expert and does not have an emotional attachment can help ease the process of selling a home.

Choosing a Realtor – Tips to Help You Choose a Real Estate Agent to Sell Your Home

Having a Hard Time Choosing a Realtor?

Choosing a Realtor when selling a house can get confusing and difficult especially taking into account the fact that there seems to be as many real estate agents trying to get your business as there are houses. Okay that may not be at all true but you get the picture.

There will be so many real estate agents promising you the stars whilst charging fees that vary wildly. One has to learn to pick the best one that not only will find you the buyer who is willing to purchase your house at the best price but also the one whom you can trust and work well with.

Follow These Tips to Choose a Realtor That Is Right For You

Always Ask For References – Don’t be so confident about your ability to judge a person’s character. If the agent is really good then ask him or her for references on recent sales. Contact those references and let them narrate to you their experience with the agent. Chances are if there are negative reviews, comments, or complaints about the Realtor then you would know about it soon enough. 

Cheaper Is Not Always Better – Do not always go for the real estate agent who charges the lowest commission. Realtors and real estate companies often shoulder the cost of listing and marketing your house to potential buyers. A huge pay-cut in commission may mean at the very least a listing in the open market but very little assistance and effort from the agent beyond that. Also, a relatively higher incentive will motivate your agent to drop everything and hurdle any challenges that may come his or her way. Simply put, you will get what you pay for.

Benefits Of Choosing Wisely – Another thing to consider is that in a selling transaction two real estate agents are often involved in every sale. Often times, it is a practice by the real estate agents to cede fees to the buyer’s agent. If commissions for your agent is tight then he or she might not be willing to cede fees to buyers’ agent thereby decreasing the chances of a completed sale.

Real Estate Agents and the Internet – How to Buy and Sell Real Estate Today

Then and Now

Ten years ago, a search for real estate would have started in the office of a local real estate agent or by just driving around town. At the agent's office, you would spend an afternoon flipping through pages of active property listings from the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS). After choosing properties of interest, you would spend many weeks touring each property until you found the right one. Finding market data to enable you to assess the asking price would take more time and a lot more driving, and you still might not be able to find all of the information you needed to get really comfortable with a fair market value.

Today, most property searches start on the Internet. A quick keyword search on Google by location will likely get you thousands of results. If you spot a property of interest on a real estate web site, you can typically view photos online and maybe even take a virtual tour. You can then check other Web sites, such as the local county assessor, to get an idea of ​​the property's value, see what the current owner paid for the property, check the real estate taxes, get census data, school information, and even check out what shops are within walking distance-all without leaving your house!

While the resources on the Internet are convenient and helpful, using them properly can be a challenge because of the volume of information and the difficulty in verifying its accuracy. At the time of writing, a search of "Denver real estate" returned 2,670,000 Web sites. Even a neighborhood specific search for real estate can easily return thousands of Web sites. With so many resources online how does an investor effectively use them without getting bogged down or winding up with incomplete or bad information? Believe it or not, understanding how the business of real estate works offline makes it easier to understand online real estate information and strategies.

The Business of Real Estate

Real estate is typically bought and sold either through a licensed real estate agent or directly by the owner. The vast majority is bought and sold through real estate brokers. (We use "agent" and "broker" to refer to the same professional.) This is due to their real estate knowledge and experience and, at least historically, their exclusive access to a database of active properties for sale. Access to this database of property listings provided the most efficient way to search for properties.

The MLS (and CIE)

The database of residential, land, and smaller income producing properties (including some commercial properties) is commonly referred to as a multiple listing service (MLS). In most cases, only properties listed by member real estate agents can be added to an MLS. The primary purpose of an MLS is to enable the member real estate agents to make offers of compensation to other member agents if they find a buyer for a property.

This purposes did not include enabling the direct publishing of the MLS information to the public; times change. Today, most MLS information is directly accessible to the public over the Internet in many different forms.

Commercial property listings are also displayed online but aggregated commercial property information is more elusive. Larger MLSs often operate a commercial information exchange (CIE). A CIE is similar to an MLS but the agents adding the listings to the database are not required to offer any specific type of compensation to the other members. Compensation is negotiated outside the CIE.

In most cases, for-sale-by-owner properties cannot be directly added to an MLS and CIE, which are typically maintained by REALTOR associations. The lack of a managed centralized database can make these properties more difficult to locate. Traditionally, these properties are found by driving around or looking for ads in the local newspaper's real estate listings. A more efficient way to locate for-sale-by-owner properties is to search for a for-sale-by-owner Web site in the geographic area.

What is a REALTOR? Sometimes the terms real estate agent and REALTOR are used interchangeably; However, they are not the same. A REALTOR is a licensed real estate agent who is also a member of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS. REALTORS are required to comply with a strict code of ethics and conduct.

MLS and CIE property listing information was historically only available in hard copy, and as we mentioned, only directly available to real estate agents members of an MLS or CIE. About ten years ago, this valuable property information started to trickle out to the Internet. This trickle is now a flood!

One reason is that most of the 1 million or so REALTORS have Web sites, and most of those Web sites have varying amounts of the local MLS or CIE property information displayed on them. Another reason is that there are many non-real estate agent Web sites that also offer real estate information, including, for-sale-by-owner sites, foreclosure sites, regional and international listing sites, County assessor sites, and valuation and market information sites. The flood of real estate information to the Internet definitely makes the information more accessible but also more confusing and subject to misunderstanding and misuse.

Real Estate Agents

Despite the flood of real estate information on the Internet, most properties are still sold directly through real estate agents listing properties in the local MLS or CIE. However, those property listings do not stay local anymore. By its nature, the Internet is a global marketplace and local MLS and CIE listings are normally disseminated for display on many different Web sites. For example, many go to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS Web site, http://www.realtor.com , and to the local real estate agent's Web site. In addition, the listing may be displayed on the Web site of a local newspaper. In essence, the Internet is just another form of marketing offered by today's real estate agent, but it has a much broader reach than the old print advertising.

In addition to Internet marketing, listing agents may also help the seller establish a price, hold open houses, keep the seller informed of interested buyers and offers, negotiate the contract and help with closing. When an agent provides all of these services it is referred to as being a full service listing arrangement. While full service listing arrangements are the most common type of listing arrangement, they are not the only option anymore.

Changes in the technology behind the real estate business have caused many agents to change the way they do business. In large part, this is due to the instant access most consumers now have to property listings and other real estate information. In addition, the Internet and other technologies have automated much of the marketing and initial searching process for real estate. For example, consumers can view properties online and make inquires via email. Brokers can use automated programs to send listings to consumers that match their property criteria. So, some agents now limit the services they offer and change their fees accordingly. An agent may offer to advertise the property in the MLS but only provide limited additional services. In the future, some real estate agents may offer services in more of an ala carte fashion.

Because of the volume of real estate information on the Internet, when people hire a real estate agent today they should look at the particular services offered by the agent and the depth of their experience and knowledge in the relevant property sector. It is no longer just about access to property listing information. Buyers and sellers historically found agents by referrals from friends and family. The Internet now provides ways to directly find qualified agents or to research the biography of an agent referred to you offline. One such site, AgentWorld.com, is quickly becoming the LinkedIn or Facebook for real estate agents. On this site an agent can personalize their profile, start a blog, post photos and videos and even create a link to their web site for free. Once unique content is added to their profile page the search engines notice!

Some have argued that the Internet makes REALTORS and the MLS less relevant. We believe this will be false in the long run. It may change the role of the agent but will make knowledgeable, qualified, and professional REALTORS more relevant than ever. In fact, the number of real estate agents has risen significantly in recent years. No wonder, the Internet has made local real estate a global business. Besides, Internet or not, the simple fact remains that the purchase of real property is the largest single purchase most people make in their life (or, for many investors, the largest multiple purchases over a lifetime) and they want expert help. As for the MLS, it remains the most reliable source of real estate listing and sold information available and continues to enable efficient marketing of properties. So, what is the function of all the online real estate information?

Online real estate information is a great research tool for buyers and sellers and a marketing tool for sellers. When used properly, buyers can save time by quickly researching properties and, ultimately, make better investment decisions. Sellers can efficiently research the market and make informed decisions about hiring an agent and marketing their properties online. The next step is to know where to look online for some of the best resources.
Internet Strategies

In the sections that follow, we provide strategies and tips on how to use the Internet to locate properties for sale and research information relevant to your decision to purchase the property. There are many real estate Web sites from which to choose and although we do not mean to endorse any particular Web site, we have found the ones listed here to be good resources in most cases or to be so popular that they need mention. One way to test a Web site's accuracy is to search for information about a property you already own.

Finding Real Estate for Sale

Despite the widely available access to real estate listings, many believe that MLS databases continue to offer the most complete and accurate source of real estate information. Most MLSs now distribute content to other Web sites (primarily operated by real estate agents). An excellent starting point for MLS originated content is the national NAR Web site, realtor.com, which is also the most popular web site for searching real estate listings. Virtually all local and regional MLSs have an agreement with realtor.com to display much of their active listing inventory.

Some local and regional MLS systems also have a publicly accessible Web site. However, to get complete information you will most likely still need to find a qualified local REALTOR. Many local real estate agents will also provide their customers (via email) new listings that are input into the MLS that match their predefined criteria. This can be very helpful to a busy buyer.

There are also many Web sites that display both real estate agent listed and for-sale-by-owner properties. Some of the more popular Web sites include zillow.com and trulia.com. These sites offer other services too. For example, zillow.com is best known for its instantaneous property valuation function and trulia.com for providing historical information. Another source of properties for sale is the state, regional, and local Web sites associated with brokerage companies; for example, remax.com or prudential.com. Search engines like yahoo.com and classified advertising sites like craigslist.com also have a large number of active real estate listings.

One key difference between these sites is how much information you can access anonymously. For example, at trulia.com you can shop anonymously up to a point but then you will need to click through to the agent's Web site for more information. Many new real estate search engines allow you to sift through listings without having to fill out a form. The best strategy is to browse a few of the sites listed above to find geographic areas or price ranges that are interesting. Once you get serious about a property, then that is the time to find a qualified REALTOR of your choice to conduct a complete search in the local MLS.

It also never hurts to search the old-fashioned way by driving through the neighborhoods that interest you. There is no substitute for physically, not virtually, walking the block when you are making a serious investment decision. In this sense, real estate is still a very local business and standing in front of the property can lead to a much different decision than viewing a Web page printout.

Valuing Real Estate

As we mentioned, one of the most popular real estate tools is zillow.com's instant property valuation. Just type in an address and in and you get a property value. It even charts the price ups and downs, and shows the last date sold (including price) and the property taxes. There are other sites that provide similar tools such as housevalues.com and homegain.com. Unfortunately, many people use these estimated values ​​alone to justify sales prices, offers and counteroffers. However, these are only rough estimates based on a formula that incorporates the local county sales information. These estimates can swing wildly over a short period of time and do not appear to always track actual market changes, which are normally more gradual. In addition, these estimates do not automatically take into account property remodels or renovations or other property specific or local changes. This is not to say these sites are not useful. In fact, they are great starting points and can provide a good ball-park value in many cases.

When it comes to getting a more accurate value for a particular property, there are other strategies that are more trustworthy. One is to go directly to your county's Web site. More often than not the county assessor's area of ​​the web site provides sales and tax information for all properties in the county. If you want to research a particular property or compare sales prices of comparable properties, the local assessor's sites are really helpful. When you visit a county's Web site you are getting information straight from the source. Most counties today publish property information on their Web sites. Many times you cannot only see the price a previous owner paid, but the assessed value, property taxes, and maps. Some county assessors are now adding a market and property valuation tools too.

Given the importance of valuation to investing, we are also going to remind you of the two most important (non-Internet) valuation methods: real estate agents and appraisers. Working with a local REALTOR is an accurate and efficient way to get value information for a property. While one of the primary purposes of the MLS is to market the active property listings of its members, the system also collects sales information for those listings. REALTOR members can pull this sales information and produce comparable market analyzes (sometimes called CMAs) that provide an excellent snapshot of a particular property's value for the market in a particular area.

Finally, the most accurate way to value a property is by having a certified appraiser produce an appraisal. An appraiser will typically review both the sold information in the MLS system as well as county information and then analyze the information to produce a valuation for the property based on one or more approved methods of valuation. These methods of valuation can include a comparison of similar properties adjusted for differences between the properties, determine the cost to replace the property, or, with an income producing property, determine a value based on the income generated from the property.

The Neighborhood

There are many ways the Internet can help you get the scoop on a particular neighborhood. For example, census data can be found at census.gov. You can also check out the neighborhood scoop at sites like outside.in or review local blogs. A blog is a Web site where people discuss topics by posting and responding to messages. Start by looking at placeblogger.com and kcnn.org/citymediasites.com for a directory of blogs. Trulia.com has a "Heat Map" that shows how hot or cold each neighborhood is based on prices, sales, or popularity among the sites users.

Schools

When it comes to selling residential property or rental properties that cater to families, the quality of the area school district makes a huge difference. There are many Web sites devoted to school information. Check out greatschools.net or schoolmatters.com. Most local school districts also have their own Web site. These sites contain a variety of information about the public schools and the school district, including its district demographics, test scores, and parent reviews.

Finding the Right Real Estate Agent

A recent addition to the Internet boom in real estate information is Web sites that let real estate agents market their expertise and local knowledge by displaying their professional profiles and socially networking with blogs. You can search to find an agent with a particular expertise, geographic area of ​​specialization, or an agent offering specific services. The web site AgentWorld.com lets users quickly and easily find an agent with the right expertise using keyword searches and clean and simple agent profiles. AgentWorld.com also enables agents to post personalized blogs, photos and videos to help consumers find the best agent for their needs. Plus, many agent profiles include a direct link to the agent's web site where you will likely find the local MLS listings.

Maps and Other Tools

The Internet has made mapping and locating properties much easier. To get an aerial view or satellite image of a property or neighborhood, go to maps.live.com or maps.google.com or visit walkscore.com to see how walk-able a particular property is. These sites can give you an idea of ​​the neighborhood characteristics and the types of entertainment, restaurants, and other facilities that are within walking distance of the property. Maps.Live.com provides a view at an angle so you can see the sides of houses and Maps.Google even gives you a 360 degree street-level view for certain neighborhoods. If you have not tried one of these satellite map Web sites, you really should if only for amusement.

Final Thoughts on Internet Strategies

The Internet is a very effective research and marketing tool for real estate investors but is not a replacement for a knowledgeable experienced real estate professional. The Internet can save you time and money by enabling quick and easy property research and marketing options. Sites like AgentWorld.com also help you efficiently find a REALTOR who fits your buying or selling needs.

Always remember, when it comes to Internet strategies for real estate: More knowledge is better. You need to use the Internet to build your knowledge base on a target property or to find a real estate agent with expertise you need. However, the big caution here is that the Internet should not replace human judgment and perspective, expert advice or physical due diligence-keys to successful investing.