Do You Need a Realtor to Sell Your House?
Don't skimp on the ad for your home to try to save money. Remember that realty companies use photos in many of the advertisements for homes they're selling, so consider using a photo of your home, as well. Your ad is likely to be the first contact with your home for prospective buyers, so make it as impressive as possible.
If you're putting your home on the market, you've got to let prospective buyers know that it's there. There are some effective methods for doing this, but you've got to be ready to spend a little money.
The first thing you should do is figure out a marketing budget. This will include the cost of everything you're going to do to attract potential buyers, get them into your home, and follow up with them once they've been there.
Think about which newspapers will best advertise your property. Don't limit yourself to just your local paper if you think your home may be attractive to folks outside of your immediate area. For instance, if you live close to a major highway that makes your area an easy commute to a city 40 miles away, you might consider placing some ads in their nearby city papers.
Homes located further away than the immediate suburbs of a major city normally are less expensive than those that are closer. People looking to live within commuting distance without paying the high prices of homes in the immediate suburbs may well be attracted to your area.
Regardless of where you advertise, make sure your ad is professional-looking and attractive. The advertising departments of most newspapers have staff to help you get an ad ready. Or you could hire an ad agency or graphic design firm to make an ad for you.
If you prepare your own ad, use others that have appeared in the paper as guidelines. Be sure that you list the best features of your home, but don't exaggerate by using words like “prestigious” or “spectacular” if they don't apply.
If you're well versed with the Internet, you might consider setting up a Web site on which to advertise your home. More and more people are house hunting online, and the Internet is full of realty company sites that contain their listings.
Be sure to buy at least one attractive, weatherproof “for sale by owner” sign for your yard and several “open house” signs that you can place at appropriate locations to alert potential buyers.
And, don't forget to prepare a fact sheet to give prospective buyers when they come to see the house. Many realtors now place these sheets, which list pertinent information such as price, square footage, and features of the house, in a waterproof box next to the sale sign on the lawn. Pick up a sheet prepared by a realtor to see what yours should include.
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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Personal Finance in Your 40s and 50s © 2002 by Sarah Young Fisher and Susan Shelly. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
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