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Why You Need a Lender to Sell Your Home

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Home sellers who are prepared to help buyers find financing will sell their homes faster, and for a larger selling price. Think about your potential buyers: some of them will have already arranged for financing, but many don't know how to buy a house. By offering financing options and being able to help with buyer closing costs, you can open up new possibilities for selling your home.

This isn't as difficult as it might sound. By contacting local banks, mortgage companies, and lenders, you can easily find out what type of loans they offer. Also ask about credit scores, income and down payment requirements, special loans for first-time homebuyers, and if they allow you to contribute to a buyer's closing costs.

The Most Important Issue for You is the Lender's Appraisal

Many banks and mortgage companies employ appraisers who only work for them, but that practice can cost you money as a seller. For instance, I once sold a house to buyers who were financing through a bank that used an "in-house" appraiser, and I lost $13,000 in profit because of a low appraisal. Only later did I learn that the bank commonly understated appraisals, in order to protect themselves in the case of foreclosures.

Many appraisers use only past sales when conducting their market analysis, but in fast-moving market areas, those prior sales amounts may not reflect current sale prices. A more accurate appraisal will also take into account sales that haven't yet closed and the list prices of similar properties on the market, which will give a better reflection of a home's true sales value.

What about Buyers with "Pre-Qualified Letters?"

Before you agree to sell your home to a buyer who comes with a preset lender, make sure their bank uses accurate appraisals. Don't sign a sales contract contingent on that bank's appraisal. You don't want to end up having to reduce your sales price, based on a low appraised value. You can avoid that situation by including a firm price in your sales contract and giving your buyers a set amount of time to arrange for financing before the sales contract becomes void.

Finding a lender that offers a wide variety of loan programs and an accurate appraisal will go a long way toward selling your home quickly and at a higher price. It will also make it easier for buyers to purchase your home when you can tell them that your lender may be able to offer better financing and that you're prepared to pay a set amount of their closing costs if they'll use that lender.

(c) Copyright 2004, Jeanette J. Fisher. All rights reserved.

Professor Jeanette Fisher, author of Doghouse to Dollhouse for Dollars, Joy to the Home, and other books teaches Real Estate Investing and Design Psychology. For more articles, tips, reports, newsletters, and sales flyer template, see

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