Selling Your Home in a Down Market


You’ve been married so long that you’ve forgotten how to be single.  Your t-shirts all have holes in them, you don’t shave on the weekends, and you haven’t consumed a “Diet” anything in years.

While your spouse may love you despite the fact that you have completely let yourself go, you are in for a rude awakening if you ever find yourself back on the market.  Flaws are only endearing to loved ones, not strangers.  Before you hit those nightspots, you’ll need a new wardrobe with the latest fashions.  You’ll need to cut that hair and clean underneath those fingernails.  Don’t even get me started on the unibrow.  You need to put your best face forward if you are to attract one of those cute, little minx.

But what about when it’s your house that you are divorcing?

You look at your home, and you know that things just aren’t working out.  Either you have lost that loving feeling or it’s simply time for a change.  It may be amicable or there may be irreconcilable differences.  Maybe you’ve always known that this house was only “Mr. Right Now.”  Regardless of the reasons for your split, it’s time to move on.  All of those things that you have lived with over the years?  The creaky front door hinges?  The balky A/C unit?  The old, pale yellow linoleum that you originally detested, but grew to loathe?  It’s all gotta be gussied up.

Now you can’t take every middle-aged home and turn it into a supermodel overnight, and that’s okay.  You don’t necessarily have to be the best looking house on the planet, just the hottest little number in the club.

When you are elbow to elbow with competing properties, you don’t want your fly to be down.  That’s not how you drag home a buyer of which your mother would approve.  No, that’s how you pick up that other kind of buyer.  You know the type.  Offers you a hundred thousand off of list price and demands umpteen thousand dollars to repair things that cost a couple hundred.  That is one coyote ugly buyer.  Keep such buck-toothed, cross-eyed suitors at bay by using the right bait.

Trolling for a trophy buyer? Change out those tired carpets, paint those grimy walls, oil those squeaks.

Fishing for carp?  Throw a big wad of Velveeta around your hook and toss it out there.

We have all heard the reports about the overwhelming levels of housing inventory.  Vastly more homes for sale than qualified buyers.  It can be quite discouraging to a seller.  I have been through a great many of these properties, however, and the poor showing condition many of them display never ceases to amaze me.  There may be a glut of houses for sale, but in my own myopic view, there is a whole lotta rough for every diamond.  If I had to speculate, and I will, I’d hazard that many sellers have either given up hope or refuse to spend any money that they don’t expect to recoup in full.

Don’t fall victim to this mindset.   Now, more than ever, you need to get your home standing tall if you plan to sell it any time soon.   I know that these are lean times, but if you can afford to carry a non-selling house for months on end, you can afford to stage it properly to expedite the process of finding a new beau.  After all, the sooner you find the next Mr. or Mrs. Right for your home, the sooner you can stop writing those alimony checks.


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