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Home Sellers' Fearbusters

Everyone has that moment when the whole process of selling seems overwhelming. And that’s when you lie awake at night and the fears replay themselves in your head. But there’s help from the Fearbusters! Here’s a list of common fears of the seller, and solutions.

Fear: I'll sell my house for too little because I priced it too low.
Fearbuster: You can price your house fairly and do it with confidence. The basic rule is your asking price should be within 10 percent of the average sold price in your neighborhood. Factor in your home’s condition to adjust the price higher or lower from that starting point. And get three Comparative Market Analyses from agents.

Fear: There are so many real estate agents out there, and they all claim to be super salespeople! What if the agent I decide to list my home with turns out to be a slick wheeler-dealer who’s all talk and no action?
Fearbuster: Counter with your own two-step plan of talk and action: Get on the phone and ask about showings, inquiries, Web hits, etc. If that doesn’t bring satisfactory results, let them know you’ll terminate or not renew the listing. That should get their attention.

Fear: People at an open house will go through my personal things, perhaps even my drawers — and they may steal things!
Fearbuster: Yes, people at open houses will open drawers. If there’s something you don’t want them to see — perhaps the adults-only underwear you bought your wife last Valentine’s Day — store it somewhere else. Also, though it rarely happens, con artists do sometimes go to open houses with the express purpose of stealing. Own a couple of antique Chinese vases? Don’t leave them on the mantle during the open house!

Fear: My house will languish on the market for months without a nibble, and I’ll have to suffer through multiple open houses to drum up interest.
Fearbuster: If you price your home right and keep your house neat, clean, and available for viewing to agents and buyers, you’ll get offers.

Fear: Now that I’ve invested so much time and energy in getting my home on the market, I’m losing sleep. I’m afraid I won’t know enough to stay out of legal trouble.
Fearbuster: You need your sleep. Before you negotiate with buyers and before you sign anything, make sure you have a professional — an attorney or real estate agent — on your side. Even if you feel like you can negotiate successfully, it doesn’t hurt to have that second pair of eyes.

Fear: What if the inspection reveals that termites have chomped their way through all the support beams and my house is about to collapse? This sale will fall through and I won’t be able to buy my new house, which is scheduled to close next week!
Fearbuster: Remember how smart you were. You avoided any last-minute inspection surprises by hiring your own inspector before you even listed your house for sale. He found nothing major and you already completed minor repairs. And if the fridge quits before you close, it’s no big deal. You’ll have enough money to replace it.

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