Evansville IN Real Estate Blog

What I have to do in order for my house to sell!

By Carolyn Draper, GRI, CRS

When I started in the real estate business almost 20 years ago, we stuck a sign in the yard, took a picture of the front of the house, entered the information in Multi-List and waited for a phone call. We all kept keys in our offices back then so Realtors would run around all over town picking up keys to show houses (and yes, at the end of the day we would have to return all keys). Thank goodness for lock boxes!

Just a few years ago, sellers were so desperately wanting the buyer to choose their home that they would offer incentives to the buyer. I have to tell you...a 50 inch TV or a 4-day trip to some warm tropical island made a potential buyer at least try to like the house! As great as this "incentive idea" sounded, it didn't work. TV sets and vacations did not sell houses.

Today's buyer is educated and doesn't buy into incentives; it's strictly about the house. They shop the Internet constantly and compare your house to all the others on the market. If they don't like what they see, they don't make an appointment. So Mr. and Mrs. Seller, you have to step up to the plate if you want your house sold before your neighbors. Yesterday's pricing is gone just like yesterday's decorating is gone. Here are a few things for you to do before you list your house.

1. Price it right.
2. Offer to pay some of the buyer's closing cost.
3. Warm up to social media, it's here to stay.
4. Make sure your house makes a good first impression.
5. Curb appeal matters. Spend a little money on fresh paint, mulch, plants and flowers.
6. Inside must look fresh, so make sure the paint and carpeting, light fixtures and appliances are updated and CLEAN.
7. De-clutter. Pack up 1/3 to 2/3 of your "stuff."
8. Be patient. Statistics say it takes 21 showings, not including open houses traffic to sell a house (RISMedia 7/2010).


Closing Costs Are Negotiable?

Many customers don't realize that closing costs are negotiable, mortgage experts tell The New York Times.

"There's a lot of room for negotiation in the costs of closing and consumers should examine every charge and not hesitate to challenge them and try to bring them down," says Barry Zigas, director of housing policy at the Consumer Federation of America.

Closing costs can really add up when buying or refinancing, running anywhere from 3 to 6 percent of the price of the property. For example, in 2010 the average closing costs for a $200,000 purchase rose nearly 37 percent to $3,741 according to Bankrate.com.

Many of the fees associated with closing are negotiable and consumers should review line-by-line estimates and challenge them.

Simply ask the lender which fees are negotiable and which are fixed to find out where there's wiggle room. Questions such as "Who is getting paid this fee, and why am I being asked to pay it?" can start the conversation, experts say.

"It's not a time to be polite," says Kathleen Day, a spokeswoman for the Center for Responsible Lending. "You have to have a strong stomach and a stiff spine and not bow to pressure from the other side of the table to close the the deal."

Lenders are required within three days of receiving a loan application to provide an estimate of closing costs for buying or refinancing a home. Good-faith-estimate forms provided by lenders can be used to easily compare closing costs among lenders in shopping around for the best deal too.

Posted by Christopher Pataki Hockessin, Delaware Real Estate on 1/31/2011

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