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For Your Clients: Common Impediments to Selling and How to Overcome Them

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By Dan Steward

RISMEDIA, February 1, 2011—Even with the economy improving overall, it would be false to say the real estate market is booming, especially for home sellers. Unfortunately, negative financial headlines are causing some potential sellers to needlessly hide in fear. For many, it truly is not the ideal time to put their home on the market. But, even in a less-than-robust economy, you might be in the right—perhaps even the ideal—situation to sell. Unfortunately, some common impediments may make you run from doing so. Here are a few of those mental roadblocks, and how to overcome them:

I know my house is too big and expensive to maintain, but it’s filled with good memories. A lot of people, specifically in their 50s and 60s and beyond, are reticent to sell a home, because it’s where they raised their kids. At holiday time, that pull becomes even more powerful, when family comes back to visit. While memories are extremely important, they can keep people in a home that’s too expensive to maintain and too large for them, for too long. And, what’s worse, sometimes young adults pressure their parents to hold onto a home. If you’re one of those folks who’s just left the nest and you suspect that your parents are hanging onto the home just for memory’s sake, a little conversation goes a long way. Let your parent or parents know that you want the best for them, and if that’s a newer, easier-to-maintain home, that’s OK by you. Often, giving a parent gentle encouragement to move on, frees them up to make the decision they know they should make: to sell and downsize.

There’s so much inventory out there. Who’s even going to stop to look at my house? It’s true: in this market, there are a lot of options out there for buyers. But sellers who lament a flurry of potential competition often use this as a bad excuse not to sell. Many real estate professionals these days know a lot about preparing a home for sale, including conducting a home inspection to clearly understand the condition—and value—of your home. Speaking with a real estate professional can give you inspiration and ideas that you never imagined regarding how to distinguish your property. That’s the thing about selling your house: you don’t have to go it alone. In the best case, you can enlist a team full of great ideas.

The housing market’s down. The Federal Reserve recently noted that after losing ground in the spring, Americans’ wealth grew 2.2% throughout July-September, and household net worth rose to nearly $55 trillion. But despite this, the value of real estate holdings sank 3.7%. It’s true, the real estate market truly hasn’t fully recovered, and it would be disingenuous to sugar-coat it and say that you’ll easily get your ideal asking price in a week if you sell. But still, too many people read the second statement above—home prices are down—without taking it in stride with the first: things are improving overall. A lot of us focus on bad news without looking at the good. Home values have not fully rebounded. But the increase in Americans’ wealth means there are more people with cash freed up to buy. Also, these figures don’t take geographical areas into account. Your area might be doing better than the national average; values aren’t depressed in every single market. The best way to know what’s best for you is to ask a trusted real estate professional. Communication is the key to success, rather than hiding when you see a negative headline.

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

For more information, visit www.pillartopost.com.

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