You have invested time, effort and money into your house, but chances are your property is not worth as much as it was a few years ago. Accept that. If you have a choice, don't sell your house now.
But if you have to sell, consult with your agent or order an appraisal to get an idea of an asking price. Many real estate agents say their clients get offended when they suggest a listing price that is much lower than the homeowner expected. Don't be offended. It's better to face reality than to let it sit on the market for sale for months or years because the property is overpriced.
Even if you find a buyer willing to pay what you're asking for, if the house doesn't appraise accordingly, the deal will likely fail if the buyer needs to get a mortgage. If you owe more than what your house is worth, try to work out a short sale with your lender, says Ron Peltier, chairman and chief executive officer of HomeServices of America in Minneapolis . It can be a lengthy process, but lenders have become more willing and efficient in processing short sales.
"Lenders have become much more open to short sales these days," he says.
-- Polyana Da Costa