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Sell Your Home in Any Market: 50 Surprisingly Simple Strategies for Getting Top Dollar Fast

Sell Your Home in Any Market: 50 Surprisingly Simple Strategies for Getting Top Dollar Fast

by Jim Remley

In this cooling market, homes are becoming harder to sell. But with the right strategies, sellers can greatly increase their odds of success. Sell Your Home in Any Market gives readers the tools, techniques, and strategies used by the best real estate marketing experts in the nation to ensure their home is positioned to sell. Readers will find out how


In this cooling market, homes are becoming harder to sell. But with the right strategies, sellers can greatly increase their odds of success. Sell Your Home in Any Market gives readers the tools, techniques, and strategies used by the best real estate marketing experts in the nation to ensure their home is positioned to sell. Readers will find out how to:

review the local market • set the right price • promote their home like a pro • prepare for a showing • anticipate questions • sell the neighborhood • use incentives to encourage a quick sale • gently push a buyer • evaluate offers

The book reveals 10 ways to stage a home, 5 ways to maximize showings with MLS marketing, 25 items inspectors check, 200 ways to improve curb appeal, exactly how to emphasize a home’s benefits to potential buyers, and much more.

Packed with priceless tips and techniques, this is a book no one selling a home should be without.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Whether your local housing market is cooling off or freezing up, this book is sure to offer your readers a little hope. Although the title sounds like a late-night infomercial, the contents are surprisingly concise and straightforward. With unwavering optimism, Remley (Make Millions Selling Real Estate), a successful industry veteran and columnist for Realty Times and Broker Agent News, attempts to outline every avenue available to today’s seller, including pricing, promotion, incentives, and staging. He also offers tips on evaluating offers and managing transactions. Many useful technical details, i.e., price points and database aggregators, are also fundamentally introduced. The author demonstrates a particular knack for delivering unhappy news—as when your house is overpriced—in a gentle and earnest way. He includes pertinent data and cites useful web sites throughout. Geared toward the “For Sale by Owner” demographic, his book lacks any real evaluation criteria or advice on dealing with real estate agents. This title looks to be a forerunner on the subject of selling in a down market. Recommended for all libraries.” – Library Journal

"…intelligently-written guide for owners wanting to sell, a valuable tome at a time…when selling homes is no longer so easy in many markets." — Realtytimes.com

"…timely arrival in the struggling U.S. real estate market…offers…selling strategies from real estate professional throughout the US.” — REM:The Real Estate magazine

"...pearls of wisdom..."— Los Angeles Times

“… real estate expert who knows the ins and outs of the market…has something to offer on every page of his book…” — Newsday

"..information is concise and presented clearly….information is easy to grasp...it is incredibly useful.” — Columbus Dispatch

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Read an Excerpt

C H A P T E R 1

The Big Decision: Is This the Right Time to Sell Your Home?

As you think back over your life, you can probably remember all of the

homes that you or your parents have lived in. If you’re like me, you

might even remember the rooms—the places where you slept, ate,

fought, played, and laughed. A home is a special place. It’s more than

just four walls and a roof; a home, your home, is a reflection of where

you are in your life. It’s a reflection of your lifestyle.

This may be one reason why today nearly 70 percent of American

families own a home, more than at any other time in the nation’s history.

What’s more, according to the most recent data from the National

Association of REALTORs, on average these same families will

sell their current home and buy a new one in the next two to six years.

Imagine that: The entire country will be selling their homes and buying

new ones in the next 24 to 72 months.

Why so often? For first-time homeowners, a first home, like a first

car, is a temporary stop on the way to bigger and better things. The

cute cottage that was once cozy, even romantic with a blushing bride,

can now seem cramped with two kids climbing the walls and a retriever

doing laps down the hall. Then there’s the fact that as we become

more successful, what we want in our home often grows with

us, changing and adapting to our needs. A home office, a family room,

a formal dining room, or a master bedroom suite—they’re all just

stops on the road to living the American Dream. Likewise, as life

“happens,” we may have a sudden need to downsize because of the

loss of a job or a medical emergency, or a move may be necessary because

of a job transfer, or because we need to cash in our chips because

of a divorce.

Table 1-1 gives the most common reasons for selling.



Home is too small 19%

Neighborhood has become less desirable 13%

Change in family situation 11%

Move closer to job 10%

Move closer to friends and family 9%

Job relocation 9%

Home is too large 7%

Retirement 5%

From National Association of REALTORs, 2006 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers.

There is a psychology to selling that many sellers experience but

rarely take the time to analyze. It is the process of moving from being

completely satisfied, happy, and content in their present home to being

dissatisfied, unhappy, and downright miserable. It doesn’t happen

overnight, but it does happen relatively quickly, as most of us will

move on to our next casa before the warranty runs out on the new

Honda parked in our driveway.

So how does this process take place? Often it starts with a homeowner

beginning to notice other, more desirable castles. This could be

a friend’s condo that has an extra bathroom or a home theater room,

or maybe it’s a ranchette that you notice on the way to work that has

a covered porch and a picturesque view of a valley. For others, it might

be as simple as picking up a real estate guide and flipping through the

pages while daydreaming about how nice it would be to get out of the

city. From there, it’s easy for homeowners to find themselves search-

ing the Internet, attending open houses, talking to a REALTOR, or

even randomly driving through neighborhoods in search of their next


Yes, it’s interesting; almost all sellers first arrive at the doorstep of

the real estate market as buyers in disguise, and while it may take

months to roll this decision up a mountain of doubt, anxiety, and concern,

as soon as we begin to see homes that better reflect our current

lifestyle, many of us will decide that we can hardly wait to purchase

our next home.

Of course, unless you have won the lottery, have a trust fund, or

made it big in pork bellies, in order to buy your next dream home, you

will first have to sell your current residence. So hold on to your hat.

It’s time to park the car, put down the mouse, and close the magazine.

Why? It’s time to get to work selling your home!

Finding Your Pain

Here is a weird but absolutely true fact: The reason you are even considering

selling is because continuing to live in your current home is

too painful for you. Now when I say painful, I don’t mean that you go

home crying every night or that something is physically hurting you, but that there is

something that bothers you about your current residence. In the real estate business, we

call this finding a client’s pain, or what it is about your current abode that sticks in your

craw enough to make you consider a move. This pain can range from extremely mild, bordering

on nonexistent, to extremely irritating, and in some cases lifestyle threatening.

You see, there are really two kinds of sellers in the world: the necessary seller and the

optional seller (see Figure 1-1). The necessary seller has no choice but to move; it’s a forced

sale. For instance, the seller may have been transferred, or he may be going through a divorce,

or perhaps he is entering bankruptcy. So selling is a given; it’s something that he has

Figure 1-1

Necessary Seller

High Need to Sell













Optional Seller

Low Need to Sell

to do because he has no choice. For these sellers, their pain level is very

high; in other words, if they don’t sell, bad things are going to happen.

They could lose their job, they could end up living with their ex-husband

or ex-wife, or they could lose their credit rating.

On the other end of the spectrum is the optional seller. The optional

seller is a homeowner who has made the decision to sell because

she is ready for a lifestyle change. For one reason or another, she

is unhappy with her current residence. This may mean that she wants

to move to a new school district, she wants to live in a more modern

home, or perhaps she just wants a larger space to entertain her friends

and family. She doesn’t have to sell; she just wants to sell. Of course,

this doesn’t mean that these homeowners can’t be highly motivated.

Often an optional seller can be so unhappy with her current living

arrangements that her level of pain is extremely high. And yet, unlike

the necessary seller, if for some reason she can’t sell her home, nothing

bad will happen, other than being frustrated, irritated, and perhaps

more than a little depressed. Her world won’t come crashing down.

So can you see the difference? Good, because most sellers don’t

understand their own motivation level. I’ll give you a classic example:

We’ll call this couple Jeff and Sally HardNose.

Jeff and Sally HardNose are excited. They just got

the news that Sally has been offered a huge promotion

that will nearly double her pay. The only

downside is that the job is in another city, which

means that they will have to sell their beloved

condo. Despite this, Sally accepts the new job

and agrees to move immediately while Jeff stays

behind to sell the condo.

So what kind of sellers are Jeff and Sally? Are they best described

as necessary sellers or as optional sellers? Easy question, right? They

are definitely necessary sellers; their pain level is high. They need to

sell quickly. But do they know that?

Jeff does some research. He discovers that condos

in their building are selling for between $300,000

and $320,000, depending on the particular unit’s

amenity package. After thinking about it for a couple

of days, Jeff and Sally decide to begin marketing

the condo at a price of $350,000. Their reasoning

is that they can always come down, but they can’t

go up, so it’s probably best to start high.

After a month of advertising, they have received

only five phone calls, four from REALTORs

who wanted to show the home to prospective

buyers, and one from a buyer who hung up after

hearing the price. Jeff decides not to work with

the buyers represented by the real estate agents,

since Sally is against paying a commission. So

they wait.

As another month passes, Jeff and Sally begin

to fight over the house. They are now paying for

two households—two rents, two sets of utility

bills, two of everything. The financial strain is

taking a toll on their marriage. Still they hold out

for $350,000.

After two more long months with no offers

and only three showings, they cut the price to

$300,000 and make the hard decision to list the

home with a real estate professional. Within 30

days the home sells and Jeff and Sally end up netting

$288,000 after closing.

Jeff and Sally fell into a classic trap. They did not understand their

own motivation level. If they had accepted the fact that they were

really necessary sellers who had to sell quickly, they might have made

drastically different decisions that could have saved them tens of thousands

of dollars.

What different decisions might they have made? Here are three

key decisions they could have made that might have changed their

outcome dramatically:

• Price the property to the market. If they had priced the property

more accurately, perhaps between $300,000 and $320,000, they

would have been more competitive with the other condos in

their building.

• Offer incentives to prospective buyers. They could have offered incentives

to buyers, like help with closing costs or an interest-rate buydown.

(More on this strategy later.)

• Cooperate with real estate professionals. They could also have hired a

real estate professional earlier, or at the very least cooperated with

those agents who had called with a prospective buyer in mind.

So here is an interesting question: Do you understand your own

level of pain? Let’s find out just how motivated you are by doing a quick

exercise. Write down your three biggest reasons for selling your home.

My three biggest reasons for selling my home now are:

1. _________________________________________________________

2. _________________________________________________________

3. _________________________________________________________

Next, on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 meaning that you love your home

and never want to leave it and 10 meaning that you need to sell your

home today, rate your level of motivation:

My motivation level is a ———.

How motivated you are as a seller will influence nearly every decision

you make when it comes to successfully marketing your home.

But here’s an interesting question: What if you and your significant

other have different levels of motivation? Believe it or not, this is a

common dilemma because often one person in a family wants to sell

more than the other person. Why? His level of pain is higher.

The best way out of this bind is to decide as a couple what your true

level of motivation is and commit to a plan of action that achieves your

family housing goals. This may involve an intense debate, a friendly

discussion, or just an extra round of margaritas at your local watering hole.

Regardless of how you get there, once you know as a couple why you

are selling and how motivated you are to sell, you will have a key advantage

over most sellers in the marketplace. You will know exactly how important

it is for you to move and, more importantly, how far you are willing to push

the envelope to actually get the home sold.

STRATEGY 1: Determine your motivation level.

This is critical because, as every successful seller knows, it’s not a

question of whether you can sell your home, but a question of when

and for how much! This is one reason why it’s so important to understand

the market.

Meet the Author

Jim Remley (Sutherlin, OR) is a real estate veteran, columnist for Realty Times, and author of Make Millions Selling Real Estate (978-0-8144-7292-7) and Real Estate Presentations That Make Millions (978-0-8144-7401-3). He became an agent when he was 19 and within two years was listed in the top one percent of Realtors nationwide.

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