11 Things Today's Home Sellers Must Do

home seller tipsThe environment for home sales becomes more difficult with each passing month. Some estimates put 11.1 million mortgages, about 23 percent of the U.S. total, underwater, meaning that homeowners owe their banks more than the underlying properties are worth. Home foreclosures reached 212,764 in July. The number for the year could rise above three million according to research firm RealtyTrac. Foreclosed homes are usually sold at a discount to market so that banks can rid themselves of inventory. These artificially low prices pull down the value of homes in adjacent neighborhoods

The federal government let its tax benefit for homeowners expire in April 2010 and has not renewed it since then. The program did boost sales in 2009 and early last year. Shoppers must now face a market without the credit in which many home prices continue to fall.

(Click the gallery below for the full list of home-selling tips.)

The clamor over flawed foreclosure paperwork and robo-signers could further chill the housing market. People who might have bought a home in foreclosure will now worry about obtaining proper documentation and effective transfer of title.

24/7 Wall St. spoke with experts at real estate research firms Zillow.com and RealtyTrac to find the best way to sell a home. We also interviewed management from the National Association of Realtors, a number of real estate brokers, bank managers and elected officials in affluent communities. What emerged from these conversations and our research is the following: Successful home sellers often do the same small number of things correctly. These tactics are often the difference between finding a buyer and not.

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