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Len & Leslie Marma's Blog

By Len & Leslie Marma | Agent in Marshfield, MA

Planning your next move??

Five Keys to Smooth Sales and Bargain Buys .... Courtesy of Aracontent

Not everyone who relocates has the luxury of doing it when school is out and the yard looks beautiful.  If you're forced to sell your house and/or to buy a new one outside peak season, you might have to work a little harder and think creatively.

Anyone who has bought or sold a home has heard the standard advice:  fine a good agent, be aware of local home values, fix up the house you're selling and research school districts and crime rates where you're buying.

Families who need to move quickly during a tough real estate market may need to go the extra mile to close a sale.  Keep these five themes in mind when you start planning your next move.

1. Dig Deeper:  you probably already know to use neighboring home values as a comparison point for selling or buying.  But in today's market, some additional homework can pay off.  If you need to sell quickly, keep a close eye on what other houses are selling for in your neighborhood and stay ahead of the market by pricing yours lower.  In the wake of the bursting real estate bubble, it's also important to have a heightened awareness of foreclosures, both where you're selling and buying.  As unfair as it seems, any foreclosures on your street can put a dent in your home's market value.  And, if foreclosures are still prevalent in the neighborhood you're moving to, it could be a warning sign that values could continue to drop after you buy. 

2. Be Involved:  Just because you're working with a Realtor doesn't mean you can't do some of your own legwork.  Brenda Wall, relocation director with ERA Colonial Real Estate in San Antonio, Texas says, "Anything a seller can do to get their home ready to sell before putting it on the market would be helpful, including de-cluttering, cleaning, painting, if needed and making the home look spacious and bright."

The Internet and social media have opened limitless new strategies to sell your home and find your next one.  Try Craigslist, Facebook, Flickr and YouTube. 

3. Accept a helping hand:  Take advantage of a wide range of services, beyond your local Realtor's, that could help you streamline the buying and selling process.  Some cost money, such as home "staging" services that help whip your house into selling shape.  Others are free, such as relocation benefits offered by some employers or the military's Homeowners Assistance program. 
Chances are you quality for some type of assistance through an employer, the government, or an association you beong to .... you just have to ask.

4. Get creative:  Sometimes it takes out-of-the-box ideas to seal a deal.  Sellers might also sweeten the pot with extra incentives.  Money toward closing costs or prepaid homeowner's dues are common buyer incentives.

If you're the one buying but can't find the perfect house, ask your agent to look up houses that were recently taken off the market.  You might be able to request a "one-time showing" and get a bargain price on a house the owners thought they couldn't sell.

5. Remain flexible:  According to the experts, buyers and sellers should keep their pride in check and be willing to make some concessions, especially in a tough market.  That means not haggling over minor repairs or refusing to leave behind the chandelier your potential buyer loves.  Factor in the cost of keeping up your home for several more months versus just accepting a lower price today.

Even in the most sluggish real estate market, an early start and an open mind are two of the best strategies to make your next move go smoothly. 

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