Steve McLinden of Bankrate.com agrees that home values will “stabilize again,” but it will be a rocky ride until they do — especially for home sellers, he says. He advises that they stay put and “ride this out,” he suggests. For sellers whose circumstances demand that they sell in today’s soft market, he offers several tips, including:

  • Realize that your house is worth only “what someone is willing to pay” and price accordingly. Throw in incentives like a free flat-screen TV, or offer financial assistance like helping the buyer secure financing or covering closing costs.
  • Spruce up your house — don’t try to sell “as-is” unless you’re willing to sell for a bargain-basement price.
  • Look for a seasoned real-estate agent with a high percentage of sold homes.
  • Know your local market well.
  • Get your listing online.
  • Try renting out your house instead of selling or offering a lease-to-own option to renters.

For buyers, he recommends not waiting to pounce on good deals, as the housing market may be “at or near bottom,” and using the glut of homes on the market and sellers’ anxiousness to sell to bargain more effectively. Make your purchase contract contingent on the home passing inspection, obtaining buyer financing, etc., he says. Do your research on the local market, noting asking and selling prices, and don’t overlook “diamonds in the rough” — residences that aren’t cosmetically attractive, but have good bones, he says. He also suggests factoring in a house’s potential resale value before making a purchase. Story

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