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Tips for sellers

July 20, 2009

Q: Bob, really enjoy your columns. Especially you have been telling it like it is- so to speak. What tips do you have for us sellers, and what does anyone/any of us get for what they pay for. I know you can't speak for everyone, by how much and what (if any) stats do you have?

Don Q.

A: Don, keep reading and maybe my research and interviews will satisfy most you and a lot of readers/sellers.

Here are some tips for you/sellers. When listing property, PRICE IT RIGHT. Trying to make your home stand out by offering potential buyers enticements like a free vacation or a set of golf clubs is so last month. Today it's all about the price. Homes sells most quickly if they are put on the market at a price that's just a bit lower than those of similiar homes in your area.

"Buyers will have lots of homes to choose from now, and they'll move on quickly if you don't offer the best deal!" This advice comes not only from myself, but from many agents/brokers that I interviewed.

Don't waste time floating a high price out there just to see if you get a nibble. "You have to stay more current than in the past, so your broker should show you the prices of comparable homes that have gone into escrow in the past month, not three months ago." And if you don't get an offer in four to six weeks, drop the price four to six percent.

THINK AROUND THE NUMBERS. About 80 percent of peole buying or selling homes today get information by searching online multiple-listing sites like which is run by the National Association of Realtors. To conduct a search on that site, buyers specify a price range, beginning and ending with round numbers. So if you price your home that way, more people will see it.

I advise my brokers/agents not to list a house at $349,000; put it on the market at $350,000 instead. That way people shopping online for houses from $300,000 to $350,000 will see your home and so will the people looking between $350,000 and $400,000. Another survey I conducted for respondents who had sold their homes how much commision they paid, then compared that with what they said they received for their money. The results show you (overall) got more with a higher commission but not always did it translate into more service or better results. What you get for 3 percent vs. 6 percent.

Agents puts as into newspaper

Paid 3% or less: 55%

Paid 6% or more: 71%

Agent provided excellent service

Paid 3% or less: 56%

Paid 6% or more: 59%

Agent excellent at attracting good buyers

Paid 3% or less: 56%

Paid 6% or more: 59%

Home sold in less than a month

Paid 3% or less: 26%

Paid 6% or more: 31%

Seller took loss of $50,000 or more

Paid 3% or less: 8%

Paid 6% or more: 7%

You do the math. It is a judgement call.

PICK THE RIGHT IMPROVEMENTS. You might want to update some of the house your kitchen or your bathroom for your own comfort, but don't expect to recoup the projects whole cost when you sell your home. In today's market you might get the best return if you spruce up the outside of your home with energy-effiecient windows or new siding. I will continue this next week with types of listings, interviewing agents and showing your home like a professional would.

Have a real estate question? Write, call, fax or e-mail:

Bob Jeffries, Realtor,

Century 21 Birchwood Realty, Inc.

4040 Del Prado Blvd., Cape Coral, FL

239-540-6659 Office 239-542-7760 Fax



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