Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sellers: How to capitalize on the $8,000 tax credit

Time to capitalize on the federal tax credit of up to $8,000 for first time buyers is running out. As is the opportunity for home sellers to benefit from this incentive as well.

"If you have a home on the market, getting as many of the "first-time" buyers in as possible right now is even more important than usual," says Rich Ferretti of Jamison Realty, "the typical first-time home-buyer really wants to be able to cash in on the credit, and so they are in a buying mood. And time is running out"

For the first-time home buyer, it is easier to imagine themselves living in a clean, well-cared for, and functional space. As a seller, you can make your home more inviting to buyers by making sure the home-improvement projects are done. Your home will show better and bring in offers faster if it is "move-in ready".

Here are some ways to make your home sell fast to those first-time buyers:

1. Maintain and Stage. A fresh coat of paint and a serious look at decluttering will go a long way, but don't overlook what a professional Home Stager can do for you. Staging professionals boast that the cost of staging will always be less than the first price decrease--so it pays for itself! This will help make the house feel like a home to anyone who comes to see it!

2. Offer to Help Pay Closing Costs. First time buyers especially may need help with points or closing costs. if you can help with this, you will attract many more potential buyers, and may be able to close the one the counts!

3. Offer a Home Warranty. First-time buyers will consider it a huge selling point if you stand behind the house's integrity and that of the major working parts (roof, water heater, AC). You can offer a warranty that will take care of any needed repairs of the major items. Work through your agent to get this on paper, and the message to potential buyers.

4. Offer Mortgage Protection. Mortgage protection covers several months of mortgage payments in the event that the buyer becomes unemployed. This insurance is a great option for most buyers, and first-time buyers may feel especially inclined to choose a home that offers it.

5. Low Offers Aren't Always Bad. Just because an offer is WAY below what you would reasonably take, doesn't mean you shouldn't at least counter. The market is at a place now where buyers feel that they have the upper hand, and are being very aggressive looking for bargains. If you get a super low offer, don't dismiss them immediately, counter with an appropriate number. If they walk away, that is fine, but if they really want the home, you will see them again. Work with your Buyer's Agent to price the home right in the first place, and then to navigate the offers when they come in.

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