Help Agents Sell Your Home As If They Owned It

real estate agentsReal estate agents tend to make more money when selling their own home than when they sell a home for someone else. That was the claim Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner made in their best-selling book Freakonomics. In the book they referred to a study that says real estate agents wait longer to sell their own personal residences, and therefore sell their homes for more money.

Some experts say that agents are not selling your home for less intentionally. "It is solely and wholly psychological," says Luigi Rosabianca of real estate law firm Rosabianca & Associates. "[It is] the same manner by which lenders assess higher interest rates to commercial properties than to residential properties utilized as a primary residence. It is human nature to take care of one's own affairs better than those of others. This has nothing to do with one's duty or professionalism, it is the subtlelty of the human, subconscious condition."

So what can we, the non-brokers, learn from these understandably self-motivated brokers in order to help them sell our homes as successfully as they've sold theirs?

Hold out.
Enough with the urgency to dump your current home fast and then quickly move on to the next opportunity. Buying a home takes a big chunk of money out of your financial portfolio. It's likely t

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he most costly investment in it! Think about it: You put a lot of thought into buying, so allow for some time then to sell it.

Price right.
You're either priced to sell, or priced to sit. Over pricing rarely works, so you're better off being realistic. Offer the best value and know what other properties are for sale in your listing tract so your listing is viewed competitively.

Price change.
Still, some brokers like to list higher than the property is worth. Their idea is that after some time on the market they can update the listing either with a price change or some other crucial condition change. Be prudent with this move.

Be motivated.
If you really want to sell your home, you'll work that much harder to make it happen. Motivation is key, as selling a home takes real effort. You want to stay flexible and be open to owner financing if it feels right. The internet is your best friend. Gather and sponge up all the real estate information out there. These days brokers don't have to know any more than you know about what's going on.

Do the at-home busy work.
Get your place as ready as it will ever be, and more. You've got to make this place look like good enough for you to consider staying in yourself. That means give it a new paint job, clean it, stage it in a way that is tastefully ambiguous, host open houses, take appointments, and be on top of your game with paperwork.

Hire a broker you trust, respect and will actually listen to.
These guys do have incentive to get you a great return: They want to help you buy and sell your next house, and they'd love to help all your friends and family, too, with their real estate. Find someone you trust and value and take their advice. They probably know how to get top- dollar prices for homes since they do it for a living.

"I sold my apartment for 10 percent above the market," says Asher Alcobi, president of Peter Ashe Real Estate. "Two years later when the market was really good, the new owners sold the apartment for 15 percent less then what they bought it from me. They didn't take the advice of the real estate agent. [They didn't] change their appliances, upgrade light fixtures, and didn't clean the windows. [Those] small changes that could have amounted to a higher price. The agents, on the other hand, are really paying attention to the small things that can increase the price and are not afraid to jump into the water."

These AOL Real Estateguides can help, no matter whether you choose to buy or sell:
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