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Local Real Estate News Here: recently featured a range of tips for first-time sellers to help them stay competitive in today’s real estate market. Here are some things you may want to discuss with your sellers:

Pricing a home competitively from the beginning is important. "Your largest number of showings will occur in the first two to three weeks," says Mark Ramsey, broker with the Ramsey Group/Keller Williams Realty in Charlotte, N.C. "The (multiple listing service) systems and the Internet tend to drive the majority of showings.” That’s why real estate experts stress that it’s important sellers get a competitive, realistic price from the start.

Consider sweetening the deal. Sellers may be able to lure more buyers by offering some extra incentives, whether that’s leaving that top-of-the-line gas clothes dryer or other items that would be difficult to move, like the two wall-mounted, flat-screen TVs. The perks may add a little extra to attract buyers and become extra selling points too.

Make sure the home is show-ready and in move-in condition. In smaller homes, for example, clutter can mean the difference between cozy and cramped, experts say. Be sure the sellers keep homes clean and clear of clutter, particularly kitchen and bathroom countertops that tend to accumulate personal items that can hamper showing the home’s features.

However, make sure sellers don’t go to the other extreme and clear away too much.

"Don't neutralize it so that it's sterile," says Pat Vredevoogd Combs, vice president of Coldwell Banker AJS Schmidt in Grand Rapids, Mich., adding that small mementos and photos help make a house feel like a home.

Real estate experts also stress the importance of sellers’ getting a home in move-in condition--such as fixing all repairs and replacements--before it is even listed.

"From a presentation standpoint, you want them to feel it's turnkey -- ready to go," says Mark Ramsey, broker with the Ramsey Group/Keller Williams Realty in Charlotte, N.C. "Because your competition is doing that. In this market, it's not just a price war but a beauty contest at the same time."

Source: “7 Tips for the First-time Home Seller,” (June 2011)

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