Adventures in Real Estate: Thinking about downsizing?
by Charles Schevker & Natasha Alexander
Feb 28, 2013 | 2430 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print

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Are you an “empty nester” or retiree who has been considering purchasing a smaller home? After all, who needs all that work of a huge house?

Although you still have an active lifestyle, maybe it’s time to downsize and get rid of that trophy house. Is your house so large that you and your partner need GPS devices to find each other? Is your house so big that you need a Mini Cooper to drive from room to room?

Thousands of others just like you are discovering that after years of non-stop child traffic in and out of your doors, messy floors and closets, endless laundry, random meal times and alien music that could shatter concrete, suddenly you can hear a pin drop over the quiet hum of the refrigerator. The freer years ahead are exciting ones to look forward to, and it may be time for you to move onward.

Selling your home is now one of the most important steps in your life. Above all else, work with your real estate agent to successfully plan your current home sale and next purchase.

To help you understand the selling issues involved in making such a move, take a look at the following considerations. These nine ideas will give you a few secrets so you can take control, sell your home more quickly, reduce stress and anxiety, and then easily move onward toward living your new goals. So, just relax.

1. Know why you’re selling and keep it to yourself. The reason why you are selling is your secret — do not reveal it. Responding to this seemingly benign question can enable someone else to take advantage of you.

2. Do your homework before setting a price. Be sure to know the market trends and discuss a pricing strategy with your agent. Pricing too high in a downward market can be just as problematic as pricing too low in an upward market.

3. Find out what other homes are selling for. Actually, your agent should do this for you. Find out what comparable homes in your area have sold for in the recent past and research what current homes are listed for.

4. Find a good real-estate agent to represent your needs. When was the last time you flew somewhere? Before flight time did you interview the pilot with whom you entrusted your life? No, of course you didn’t — rarely do we have an opportunity to vet the people who handle our daily business. In real estate, however, you have that luxury, so take advantage of it. Take a little time to seek out a knowledgeable and pro-active agent.

5. Maximize your home’s sales potential. The look and feel of your home generates a greater emotional response than any other factor. Present your home to get a “wow” response from prospective buyers.

6. Make it easy for prospects to get information on your home. You may be surprised to know that not all marketing tools used to sell homes are effective. You need an agent who has an aggressive marketing plan to maximize the exposure to your home, and it MUST be effective within the first 30 days — otherwise you are day-old bread.

7. Know your buyer. In the negotiation process, knowing the buyer’s motivation gives you the upper hand.

8. Make sure the contract is complete. For your part as a seller, make sure you disclose everything. Smart sellers disclose all known defects to their buyers in writing, and in so doing, give the impression of honest dealing.

9. Don’t move out before you sell. Studies have shown that it is more difficult to sell a home that is vacant because it looks forlorn, forgotten — simply not appealing. It could even cost you thousands. If you move, you may shift the leverage of negotiation in favor of the buyer.

If you do consider downsizing, be sure to consult with an appropriate tax consultant first, as you may encounter capital gains or other tax considerations.

Do you have a question about real estate in San Diego? Send your inquiries to Cschevker@san.rr.com. We will respond directly to you, and those questions that have a broader public appeal will be published along with our next column in La Jolla TODAY.

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