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RISMEDIA, November 22, 2010—It’s one thing when someone says “Things are looking up,” but quite another when the numbers actually bear that out. Happily, the latter is the case, evidenced by the latest statistics that show that home prices may be stabilizing. Namely, national home prices jumped an impressive 3.6% in the past year, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index released in late August. Prices also climbed 4.4% in the second quarter, which contrasts with a 2.8% decrease in the first quarter.

This uptick in prices leads to a simple conclusion: Sell now if you can. And you certainly can. A fast sale, taking advantage of these numbers, is entirely possible, and can result in a lot of profit and a very happy client. But telling your client to “sell quickly,” without backing it up, can inspire fear and even ire. Instead, give them these methodical, easy tips to selling fast and successfully, taking advantage of a market uptick, without inducing panic or stomach aches.

1. Don’t raise the price. The uptick in home prices doesn’t mean that you should get all excited and raise the price. The trick is to leave your price the same as it was—that will encourage a bidding war. Hearing news about home prices going up, and raising your price immediately as a response to that, is typically not the way to go; the home will likely sell for more as a result of two buyers fighting over your reasonable price, rather than walking away due to a price that’s too high. Remember, the goal is ultimately to get more money, not to have a higher list price.

2. Remain flexible. Selling quickly means making some concessions—and we’re not talking price. It’s those little extras that may inspire a buyer to sign on the dotted line. Obviously, no one has the right to get your vintage grand piano in the deal. But if a buyer wants your stainless-steel fridge with ice-maker, give it up. There’s more ice waiting in your new home.

3. De-clutter. For a quick sale, you may not have time to fully “stage” your home down to the accent pillows and entirely new living room furniture. But you do have time to clear out the clutter. If we saw a home we’d like, we’d look past the clutter, but most buyers won’t. So, before you worry about making your home pretty, focus on making it neat. In a better market, neat is often all you need.

4. Schedule more open houses—and don’t attend your own. When you have a longer time frame for selling, you can schedule open houses at your leisure, but if you want to sell fast, try for as many open houses as you can—and do not attend them, as a homeowner at their own open house often makes a potential buyer too nervous to comfortably look around.

5. Go big—and go local. If you haven’t listed in MLS (multiple-listing service), it’s a good idea, especially if you want to sell fast. The math is simple—more eyes on your listing equals more potential bites. But a lot of people who use the MLS forget that local advertising is important as well. Advertising in local and regional publications—as well as simply putting the word out with friends and family—are often skipped, expecting that the Internet will get the job done on its own.

Dan Steward is president of Pillar To Post Professional Home Inspections.

For more information, visit www.pillartopost.com.

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