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Any property owner who is not aware that it has been a buyer’s market for the last two years since the economy faltered is most likely living in a cave. The housing market in most regions of America is slowly getting back on its feet but it will still be some time before prices stabilize, buyers are able to secure good loans and sellers see some relief.

One of the tough decisions that a seller faces is how much should they accept for their home before it gets to the point where they make little or no profit. Real estate agents can help with this dilemma but ultimately the decision is solely that of the seller.

The following are some good watch points for sellers to that can help them to decide:

Most people who are looking to sell a property are doing so because they are moving. In even a stable market coordinating the sale of one home, and the purchase and move to another is not an easy thing to do. The first question a seller must ask a buyer is if they have been pre-qualified for a mortgage that would be suitable if they were to purchase the sellers home.  If a buyer is pre-qualified they should be able to substantiate that with a pre-approval letter from the buyer’s lender. There is nothing more time consuming and fruitless than negotiating with a buyer who does not have the means to follow through on their offer.

If a seller is putting their property on the market to avoid a desperation sale forced by foreclosure or some untimely events they will undoubtedly need to be willing to accept less than they normally would. If a buyer knows that a seller is under duress they will have a considerable edge and the seller may have little or no other choice. This may be a very distasteful situation, but it is surely better than going into foreclosure, losing the home, and further damaging their credit rating.

Selling a property for less than what is owed on it is called a short-sale, both homeowners and banks do all they can to avoid this situation. A seller must also remember that there will be closing costs and which can further siphon off profit. In a depressed market, where housing prices have depreciated, sellers must juggle all of these considerations before deciding if it is better to wait, or sell now if an offer has been made.

A seller must also be able to accurately judge the real estate market in their locality. Have they been getting reasonable offers, and if not, do they think they will get any future offers that may be better? Being able to understand these market conditions when considering accepting an offer or not will improve a seller’s position greatly.

The most important aspect of offers that a seller must consider is whether or not the buyer is low balling them or making a genuinely good offer for a reasonable price. Buyers know that the ball is in their court, and they may be making ridiculously low offers, so sellers need to be willing to negotiate for the best possible price, but this does not mean that the seller must entertain or is obligated to accept insincere offers. Sure, a buyer may walk away, but often they do come back later with a more reasonable offer.

Ultimately a seller must consider what is at stake, what they can afford, and if the end result is in their best overall interest. If they cannot afford to wait because of a pending foreclosure or a need to relocate they may need to suffer some loss, but if there is no extenuating circumstance than the seller should not fall prey to pressure and wait for a better offer, or for the market conditions to improve. Only the seller can know what is best for them.

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