From rethinking your color scheme to holding open houses on weeknights, here are 10 tips for sparking interest in your home.By Sally Anderson
Whether you're in a bone-dry market or a sizzling selling season, if you haven't received any offers on your home you're probably facing the question of whether to take it off the market. A house that goes too long without selling begins to appear "stale" and can actually damage your future chances of a sale.
How long is too long? It's not an exact science, but there are some helpful indicators. In a dry market, a sales period of six months to one year isn't unusual. Look at recent sales reports of similar homes nearby to determine a reasonable selling interval. In a hot seller's market, a house that hasn't sold within one month indicates a problem. In either case, there are several steps you can take before putting up the white flag.
10 tips to improve your selling karma
If you've tried the tips above, you're confident that your asking price is competitive, you have an ace agent and you're still not getting any action, it's probably time to take your house off the market. Here are some ways to make the most of it:
Choose your selling season. If you can afford to do so, relist during a more dependable selling season. After warming up in late winter, the market typically starts to peak from the ides of April (yep, tax season makes a difference) until June, when longer days and splashes of garden color make homes look their best. In summer, the market slows to a crawl, followed by a second peak from September to Thanksgiving. From then until January, the market tends to be as cold as a Midwestern winter, but it can also be advantageous to list while the competition is sleeping. Research the trends in your area: If you live near a winter resort, for example, winter may be the savviest time to sell.
If you're a senior, consider a reverse mortgage. Designed to help seniors who have more home equity than they do cash, a reverse mortgage is a loan against your home. The money is disbursed as either a single payment or a monthly sum, and the loan comes due (with interest, of course) only when the house is sold or upon the death of the owner. (Read more about the special issues facing seniors selling their homes here.)
Rent out your home until the market bounces back. If you must leave your home because of a job transfer or other extenuating circumstance, renting is an excellent option as you wait for the market to regain some heat. If you don't have the time or the talent it takes to be a good landlord, contact a reputable company that specializes in screening applicants and managing properties.