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Real estate in 2010-an exciting window to buy or sell

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February 23rd, 2010

If you re retired and thinking about selling your house, you have a lot of factors to consider. But you don t necessarily need to let the shaky economy get in the way of making the retirement housing decision that s right for you. Many people even those who have decided their house no longer fits their retirement lifestyle are reluctant to sell because they fear they will take a loss in today s market. Katie Severance, coauthor of The Complete Idiot s Guide to Selling Your Home, reminds sellers that they aren t necessarily losing money, they are just making less money than they thought they were going to make.

Rare opportunity

What s more, Severance and her coauthor Nancy Gentile say 2010 is going to present a rare opportunity for home sellers. Homebuyer tax credits and low interest rates are luring buyers, they say. We re finding that buyers, while the economy is not completely righted, are coming into the market, Severance says. There is a very exciting window right now. Steven Matthews is a New Jersey-based Realtor, and a chair member on the Montclair Township Senior Citizen Advisory Council. He tells clients that if they are waiting for the market to go back up before selling, they should be prepared to wait at least five years. If you ve lived in your house for decades, you ve probably already accumulated significant equity, so dropping your selling price a bit in this market could far outweigh other considerations like having more money to travel and not having to maintain a large house. Terry Haas, a real estate expert from HGTV s show Designed to Sell, says quality of life issues may trump financial concerns for older adults. Is being near your grandchildren more important than an extra $10,000 if you wait it out? she asks. You re going to spend that money in upkeep, mortgage payments, and taxes. Haas says there are plenty of things you can do to stage your house for a successful sale. You may want to consider upgrading the kitchen or bathrooms if they are outdated, because even a modest upgrade will attract more buyers. She says buyers will often triple the estimated cost of upgrades if they have to pay for them, but if you do the upgrades yourself on the cheap, you could significantly increase your selling price. There are also plenty of low-cost and no-cost things you can do to make your home stand out from the competition and attract the best price. Haas says a fresh coat of paint and decluttering the house of your personal belongings can go a long way. She also cautions sellers not to neglect the outside of the house to improve your curb appeal. Make sure your landscaping, outdoor lighting, and mailbox are attractive. If the front of house doesn t look good enough for me to get out of car, it doesn t mater what the rest of the house looks like, she says.

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