After owning real estate in Citrus County, Florida since 1995, my father and I put our home up for sale in December 2011. With the economy in ruins, the real estate market in our two bedroom two bathroom home that featured a bonus room and one car garage. In 2005, the resale value for similar homes on our block was as high as $150,000 just prior to the economic crash. About that same time my dad moved to New York and I went up to West Virginia for a few years. In 2010, I returned with my family to our Florida home before moving into our own place. Finally neighborhood was almost nothing. When we purchased the home in 1995 we paid $45,000 for this concrete block, after 16 years of ownership we decided to place the home up for sale despite the unstable marketplace.
Preparing the Home for Sale
Prior to my father arriving in Florida, I had contacted a Realtor and scheduled an appointment for him to come out and give us his suggestions for the value of the home and what we needed to do to prepare the house to sell faster. During this appointment, the real estate sales agent had suggested that we repaint the interior of the home and consider removing a couple trees in the yard that appeared to be an eyesore for the home. We had already started to repaint the inside of the house prior to this meeting and finished it shortly thereafter. We were told that the best way to prepare the home for sale was to paint the entire interior of the house with a neutral color, such as light beige. This would enable the potential buyer to see the clean slate of the house and make decisions themselves of how they would decorate it. He had also suggested the idea of staging the home with furniture to help show just how big the home really was for those who could not envision the empty space for themselves. Because our home was not in a higher real estate market, we elected not to take on this additional expense.
Setting a Competitive Sales Price
Now that our home was ready to present to potential buyers, the Realtor set an aggressive sales price for the home. The agent brought with him three "comps" of identical homes that sold within few blocks of our house that had sold within the last 90 days to give us an idea of how fast a home sells based on the listing price. While we were disappointed, we were not surprised when the agent suggested a listing price of only $37,800. This was the most competitive price in the area and our house was among those in the best shape in the area as well.
The most successful part of getting our house sold was using a well networked agent. Once we signed the listing agreement, the agent started making calls to clients of his that he knew was looking for a home like this. Within ten days of the listing agreement and without a single ad place to advertise the home, our house was sold at asking price to a qualified buyer. We got it sold!
*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.