The Seller Guide to Using a Realtor in Buyers Market

By: John Harris

Tightened standards on federal subprime rates have had a marked effect on the housing market. What does this mean if you want or really need to sell your home? The good news is that there is still a market out there; you just need the skills and tools to tap into it. That is where working with talented realtors comes in. That's right, talented. In a competitive selling market the best realtors are one who are have large networks, diverse marketing skills, and are willing to try different ideas.

Most of the realtors you find will be honest, but you still need to know which side their bread is buttered on. Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of working with realtors, and the best deal on your house. And it all starts with the asking price.

Set Realistic Expectations

Most realtors hate to tell potential clients that, 'No, your house won't sell for that price.' They really want it to. But they sometimes hesitate to give you a realistic price, because sellers are most likely to hire the realtor that quotes them the best sell price. If they don't tell you what you want to hear, they might lose your business. So seller, make it your business to ask for a market analysis, and have a realistic idea of what your house might sell for. Hit open houses in your neighborhood and look with a buyer's eye.

Can't I just reduce my price later? Well, you certainly can, but buyers almost always take that to mean that there is something wrong with the house. Having reasonable expectations, and being in the appropriate price range is much more likely to work to your advantage.

Also, remember that no matter how devoted realtors are the sale of your house doesn't have nearly the impact on their lives as it does on yours. In fact, having a sign in your front yard can be good for a realtor's business whether your house sells quickly or not. Now that doesn't mean that realtors will try to drag their feet- of course not. But you still need to be aware of what's being done to sell your house.

Marketing in a Slow Market

Find out before you even sign on with your realtor what marketing and advertising methods will be used to sell your house. Print ads, virtual tours, open houses, signage, direct mail postcards, and fliers are all viable options. But don't assume that they will all be used immediately, or at all. And keep asking as you move along the process. Of course, a lot of print advertising methods are pricey. A veteran realtor will have a good idea of what to use when. But you need to be involved. If what your realtor's methods don't seem to be generating much interest, talk about trying something new. Remember, your realtor's job is to help you get the most out of this investment.

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