Dear Harry: Like many other people, we are having a very tough time selling our home. We want to move to a retirement community, but we have been advised that selling an empty house is harder than an occupied one. We have had two different real- estate brokers who have made numerous suggestions as to how to make the house more desirable. We have spruced up the kitchen and bathrooms, removed clothes from closets to make them look more spacious, replaced worn door hardware, polished the floors, and even baked cookies right before a prospect was to arrive. Still no offers and few visitors. We have followed the suggestions in numerous magazine and newspaper articles, as well. Is there anything you can add?
What Harry says: The things that you have said pertain to the inside of the house. Have you given the home greater "curb appeal?" Does it have a fresh coat of exterior paint? Does the front door and roof look sharp? Is the lawn pretty and recently mowed? Is the sidewalk in mint condition? A few bucks spent on some flowering plants or trees can go a long way to make the home inviting. Beyond that is the dollar question. Consider paying for the settlement costs. If you can afford it, you can go beyond that with an offer to help in financing even to the extent of paying the first year's interest so the buyer's payments will be reduced or more of the payments can go to hiking up their equity. Consider the possibility of taking it off the market for a couple of months to make it appear to be a fresh listing.