Twila Palmer - Westford Real Estate | Westford, MA Real Estate, Chelmsford, MA Real Estate


Knowing who the home buyers are when selling your home can help you create a successful marketing plan. It is important to create a marketing plan around the potential pool of buyers for your home. Each year the National Association of Realtors conducts a survey to find out who buyers are and what they are looking for. Here is just some of what they found: Are you surprised by any of these statistics? If so, what surprised you?

If foreclosure is looming you may feel helpless. It is possible to still sell your home and avoid foreclosure. You must sell it quickly and that is not always easy. Here are some tips to get aggressive, and get your home sold fast. Price it right! Don't try to squeak out the extra dollar price the home aggressively among the competition. This often means pricing the house low. You are trying to sell the home as fast as possible so every last dollar isn't worth it at this point. Make sure to get real about what your home is worth. A Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) will outline properties similar to yours that have that recently sold, are pending and are currently on the market. Some experts suggest going 10% below that last sold price in your neighborhood. Communicate with your lender. You will need to get the go ahead from your lender on how low you can go. If you owe more than your home is worth complete a short sale application with your lender. Ask your lender to give you some indication of how low a sale price they will accept. Selling your home quickly and avoiding the black mark of foreclosure on your credit report is the goal. It may be hard to accept thousands less than what you paid for your home but you will be better off in the long run.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words and we often focus so much on the photos of our home that we put little emphasis on the words that are used in Words are powerful and because the multiple listing service limits the amount of words that can be used in a listing it is important to make them count. Here are some words and phrases to bring in the buyers: Create an emotion: Buyers buy on emotion so be sure to tell them what it is like to live in the home. Paint a picture of sitting by the fire or entertaining in the open floor plan. Use specifics: Don't just say new or updated. If the kitchen boasts high-end appliances tell the potential buyer the brand name. Describe the shelves and racks in the walk-in closets or the brand name replacement windows. Highlight location: Is the home blocks away from stores, transportation or can you see the beach from the bedroom window? If so, tell the buyer exactly how close it is to desirable amenities and community resources. Update the listing: Change up the wording if the house has been on the market for a while. Try highlighting some different features. Don't forget to remove the comments about the Open House or how the listing "won't last". The words that describe your home can be just as important as the pictures so make sure that you use every character allowed to highlight the features and bring in the buyers.  

The last thing you want is a smelly house. When you are trying to sell your home the presence of household odors can affect the sale-ability and the bottom line price. Some of the most common offensive odors are cooking odors, particularly fish and curry odors, smoke from cigarettes or oven fires, pet odors or the odor from illness or incontinence. In order to remove stubborn odors you will need to give the home a thorough cleaning. Here are some tips to get you on your way to a fresh smelling home. 1. Open windows and doors. Place a large fan in a doorway or window. Have the fan where blow fresh air in. Use a second fan to exhaust the odors out. 2. Believe it or not the smells could be coming from your attic insulation. Odors from cooking rise in the heat and are trapped in the attic insulation. The insulation cannot be cleaned or effectively deodorized so it must be replaced. 3. Clean carpets and upholstered furniture using a steamer. A commercial steam extractor can be rented from an equipment rental place. Things like mattresses and foam pillows will most likely need to be replaced as it is almost impossible to get odors out. 4. All clothing, bedding, and drapes in the home will need to be laundered or dry cleaned. Odors get trapped in these are can linger. Check labels for care instructions and follow the directions. 5. Odor causing particles can get trapped in the duct work. You may need to have the ducts professionally cleaned to remove the particles. Before you do that, you might consider changing the furnace or air conditioning filters once a day until you no longer smell offensive odors. 7. Wash all the ceilings, walls and floors. Use a cleaner designed for this as you would not want to damage the paint or wood floors. 8. Wash your stove, refrigerator, dishwasher, washer and dryer inside and out. Don't forget the back of the stove and the coils of the refrigerator. 9. Place small dishes of vanilla extract, baking soda, sliced lemons or potpourri throughout the house to capture the odors and replace them with a better alternative.

A common question for sellers is if they will owe capital gains tax when they sell their home. The answer to that question: it depends. The capital gains tax law known as the Taxpayer Relief Act went into effect in 1997 but there is still a lot confusion over who pays what and why. If you sell your home you will not have to pay capital gains tax if:
  • You are selling your personal residence.
  • You have $250,000 in profit or less if you are single and $500,000 if married.
  • You have lived in your home for two of the last five years.
  • The home is not an investment property.
The capital gains exclusion can be used as many times as you like as long as it meets all of the above criteria. If you are going to make more than $250,000/$500,000 in profit you will be taxed at a 20% capital gains tax rate on the amount over the $250,000/$500,000 threshold. There are exceptions to the rule. You may be eligible for a tax break if:
  • You need to sell your home because a change in health.
  • You need to sell your home because of a long distance relocation.
  • You are in the armed services and moved to fulfill your service commitments.
Your individual tax situation may be different, so make sure to consult a qualified tax accountant or attorney.  



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