Simply stated, the best time to lower the price of your home is BEFORE its listed. Why? Well, if you were a buyer looking in your neighborhood and your home is priced similarly to the other 20 homes in your neighborhood that haven't sold (and only 2 in the area are pending), do you really think that your home has more than a 5% chance of selling because you feel that your home is the best one in your neighborhood? You MUST do something different in today's market. Your house MUST be first on the list of ANYONE who might be looking or showing your home. To do that, you MUST have a price set that will keep your home first on the list of any showings. Does that mean a dramatic price change? Not necessarily, providing you do it when you first list. I might suggest 3% to 5% under all other COMPARABLE listings. Perhaps that's lower than your are comfort zone. That's the first indication you are probably getting close to pricing your home correctly. Your house WILL sell in today's market if its priced right at the start. Remember, that's what you will be looking for as a buyer!
Your credit WILL be affected by a short sale.
With very few exceptions, don't bet on values increasing much, if any.
On average, prices will drop 15 to 18% through 2011. Contributing factors: any rise in interest rates, difficulty in closing new loans, excessive inventory at unsaleable prices in some areas, foreclosure affect, unstable economic conditions locally, poor leadership, and availability of potable water to name a few.
A good agent is one who has a buyer for your home at market price. Even the worlds best agent can't sell your home if its priced well outside the market. So look for agent recommendations, agent experience, and an agent with whom you are comfortable. And yes, season and market conditions in your area does make a difference.
Many plausable answers have been provided. I would have a few more questions before suggesting an answer:1. Are you looking long term, short term, or both?2. Are you wanting safe returns (generally a lower rate of return) or investments with more risk (potentially higher rate of return)?3. What is your expertise (areas of interest and/or knowledge)?4. Do you like hands on investments or passive investment income?5. Do you like real estate? Do you like the stock market?6. What rate of return would you expect?7. Do you have a financial goal?If you really have an amount to invest, be careful on risky advice.
Josh, my summary would be:1. Strong earnest money2. Purchase offer as-is subject only to title (inspect before if desired)3. Close as soon as the seller wants4. Provide proof of funds with offer5. Have a credible REALTOR working with you and establish mutual trust. The right person can make a huge difference in your success when dealing in multiple offer situations.6. Make it easy for the seller to say YES.7. When you have been successful in your purchase, sent a thank you to the seller, the REALTOR, and the lender (if using one). You'll have them eating out of your hand!
Are you going to continue to rent while you're waiting? If you are planning on remaining in the area indefinitely, now may be a very good time to buy while prices are down. My suggestion would be to buy a modest home with a shorter term loan (not over 15 years). Even if you have to sell in 3 years and the property doesn't appreciate, principal reduction (equity) is significant on shorter term loans. Try and keep your payment in the same range as what you would expect to pay in rent. Now is NOT the time for 30 year loans!
Mortgage payments must be brought current first. That will generally stop the foreclosure. Then, seller cooperation is needed. If you have a minimum of 20% down payment in an area where home values are not depreciating, private loans are often available without credit scoring as a consideration.