First Person: 4 Moves to Speed the Sale of Your Home

Yahoo Contributor Network

I sold my first house today. I'm not a realtor; I just got tired of being an out-of-state landlord so I put it on the market. I assumed it'd immediately sell "as is" for my asking price. Wrong! Three months later I decided to become a motivated seller as my out-of-pocket expenses were over $1200 monthly. To improve my showings, I lowered my profit expectations and made the following moves:

1. Investigate Interior Paint. I'd originally bought the house for my mom, and she loved pink-so guess what color the walls were? That was great for Mom, tolerable for tenants, but awful for potential buyers. So I invested $2000 getting the entire interior professionally repainted in two neutral colors. It was fresh, clean, and not pink!

2. Curb Appeal Is a Must. The yard needed some TLC, so my realtor hooked me up with an affordable landscaper. He filled holes dug by the previous tenant's dog and reshaped overgrown bushes and trees. He suggested inexpensive flowering shrubs offset with pine straw bedding for a splash of color and actually threw in the pine straw for free because it was left over from a previous job. I also had him mow the yard twice monthly. Total cost: $1700

3. Expect to Pay for Home Inspection Repairs. Many banks won't lend if the home inspector identifies required repairs, and if buyers can't afford the repairs before closing they may have to walk away. I had no problem covering the $1750 in needed repairs that weren't noticeable before the inspection (i.e. electrical and plumbing issues). The buyers willingly paid for the rest.

4. Don't Expect Your Asking Price. I was actually buying and selling a house simultaneously, so I looked at my home sale from the buyer's point of view. My husband and I offered to buy our house at 10% off the asking price, and the seller agreed. So when my buyer offered at the same discounted rate, I accepted. Buyers need to think they got a good deal - so consider what you'd do if the shoe were on the other foot.

Afterwards, it seemed my house was instantly under contract, and I didn't lose money on the sale. And that $1200 now goes toward our beautiful new dream home nestled at the base of Utah's Wasatch Mountains, minutes from our favorite snowboarding resorts.

*Note: This was written by a Yahoo! contributor. Do you have a personal finance story that you'd like to share? Sign up with the Yahoo! Contributor Network to start publishing your own finance articles.

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