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What do I need to do to sell my Florida home?

January 18, 2011

If you’re interested in selling your Tampa Bay, Florida home in 2011 you’re going to need to learn how to look at your situation as objectively as possible. By “objectively” I mean “Uninfluenced by emotions or personal prejudices.”

Easier said than done? Tell me about it.

But you’re going to need to do it nonetheless, so perhaps now is the time to start practicing. A good place to start is by walking out of your home and then back in the front door, pretending you’re an actual home buyer seeing the “property” for the first time. You’ve never been in the house before so look around at what you think a buyer would look at if they were seeing your home for the first time.

Is it clean and organized? Are there unfinished repair or maintenance projects obvious? How does the home smell? Is it light or are all the windows covered making the place feel more like a cave than an inviting home?

These are the physical steps to attempting to see your home objectively – as buyers might see your home. You might also ask some friends to do the walk-through with you and to be honest about what they think a buyer might think.

The next step is to look at the numbers. Ask an experienced Realtor to do a market analysis of your neighborhood for you. How many homes have sold in the past 90 – 180 days in your subdivision? How much did they sell for? Were they short sales, bank-owned properties or traditional sales?

When you look at the homes that have sold look for a trend. Do you notice that the only homes selling tend to be the ones priced in the lower 25% of comparable homes? Pay attention to this as it’s the most important piece of information you’re going to need if you really want to sell your Tampa Bay, Florida home.

Now have your Realtor run a search of your neighborhood but only look at the homes that are actively being sold right now. Also look at the homes that are under contract right now. Have your Realtor sort all of these listings by price, from low to high, and take a close look at the very clear pattern. You’re probably seeing that the lowest priced homes are the ones going under contract.

If you want to sell Florida real estate in 2011 you’re going to have to put your own personal biases on the back burner. As painful as it is to face, you won’t be attracting a buyer unless you’re priced lower than the competition. And even though it doesn’t feel “fair” to have to compete with short sales and bank-owned foreclosures…you DO have to compete with them.

No buyer in their right mind will pay more for your home when they can buy a short sale or bank-owned home right next door for significantly less. Buyers are educated these days and just about everyone knows we’re still in a declining market. Nobody is going to pay a premium for your home when they believe the value of your home is still dropping. Think about it. Would you pay $200,000 for a home that you suspect will be worth $190,000 in 6 months? Of course not. And you definitely wouldn’t pay $200,000 for a home that is almost identical to the foreclosure down the street that is listed at $150,000.

If you are serious about selling you will need to face the music. You’re going to sell for far less than you want. Nobody is happy selling in this market. But people ARE selling. Homes are selling left and right. It is up to you if you want to actually succeed in selling your home. Today price is EVERYTHING. As soon as you realize this you will be one crucial step closer towards your goal of selling your Florida property.

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