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Increase your chances of selling your home in a slow real estate market

There are 4.5 million houses for sale in the U.S. today, compared to 3.6 million just two years ago. Some quick math might lead you to believe that’s nearly a million reasons not to put your house on the market right now. In many areas, a logjam of homes for sale means properties are sitting on the market longer and fetching lower prices. However, if you really need to sell your house there are plenty of things you can do to up your odds of landing a buyer. Here are 7 tips for selling your home in a down market:

1. Find a REALTOR®
A slow real estate market is not the time to give someone a shot just because she’s a friend of a friend. Ideally, you should look for a REALTOR® with plenty of experience selling homes in a buyer’s market.

2. Price it right
Home prices were on the rise for so long, it’s hard to imagine listing your home for sale for less than you would have just months ago. While you don’t want to undervalue your home, overpricing it will keep potential buyers from even visiting your house, and it will probably languish on the market.

3. Devise a marketing plan
There’s a multitude of tools out there to get the word out about your home sale. Make sure you and your REALTOR® utilize all of them, from old-fashioned flyers to online virtual tours.

4. Maximize your curb appeal
Outward appearances have always been important when selling a home. In today's down market, they are crucial. Buyers now have so many choices, a lackluster exterior might just prompt them to drive on to the next house on their list.

5. Clear out the inside
When you’re preparing the interior of the house for sale, focus on cleaning and decluttering. Stow personal items – such as family photos or childrens’ artwork – so potential buyers can envision themselves, and not you, in the house. This is a tried and true home selling secret.

6. Offer financial incentives
Buyers are finding it harder to get financing these days, so a savvy seller might offer to help them out by paying their closing costs, discount points or even part of their down payment. This extra assistance may make the difference between selling your home quickly and suffering the moods of the slow real estate market.

7. Be patient
Be prepared to be in sales mode -- keeping your house spotless and ready to show on a moment’s notice -- for a while. Ask your REALTOR® how long, on average, it is taking to sell a home in your area. If it sells faster than that, you’ll feel like you beat the odds.