He’s done it again. Prolific real estate author Robert Irwin’s “Tips and Traps When Selling a Home, Third Edition” is another superb new book written by an experienced realty broker and investor. Irwin’s latest book reveals insider tips many other “how to sell your home” books overlook.

For example, Irwin emphasizes the importance of selling your home fast, regardless of the local residence sale market conditions. He explains when a house or condo is first placed on the market, that’s when buyers and real estate agents are most interested in it. But the longer it languishes on the market unsold, perhaps because it is overpriced, the author warns buyers and their realty agents will think something is wrong and won’t even inspect it or make a purchase offer.

Purchase Bob Bruss reports online.

Adding to his theme of fast sales, Irwin recommends 90-day listings. “I suggest never giving a listing for more than three months. In most markets that should be enough time for a good agent to find a buyer. If there are extenuating circumstances, at the end of the three-month period, you might want to extend the listing for an additional three months. Or you might want to secure the services of a different agent.”

Do-it-yourself home sellers who want to try selling without a professional agent are given instructions on what they should expect if they are to be successful at saving the sales commission. Irwin explains virtually all the pitfalls to anticipate, with even a checklist of how to handle “for sale by owner” situations.

He warns “by owner” home sellers to set a deadline, such as 30 to 90 days. If the home hasn’t sold by then, the author suggests, it’s time to list with a professional agent.

The book’s one weak chapter is about the tax consequences of a home sale. It is quite confusing. Irwin begins by mentioning, without fully explaining the $250,000 home sale exemption (up to $500,000 for a married couple filing jointly). For some unexplained reason, the author then jumps to discussing what happens if the residence has been rented to tenants and how depreciation recapture works. After reading this chapter twice, I asked myself, “What was the author thinking when he wrote this mixed-up chapter?”

Except for that confusing chapter about the tax aspects of home sales, the balance of the book provides sound advice from an experienced realty broker. Irwin’s insider tips begin in the book’s early pages by advising “The fastest way to sell your home is to price it slightly under market. The slowest way to sell your home is to price it even just a little bit about market.” Then he explains how home sellers should correctly set their asking prices.

Whether the local home sales market is strong or weak, Irwin offers many suggestions how to market a house or condo for sale. He even provides special advice for sellers of condos and townhouses (which can be especially difficult to sell when the local market has an oversupply of these units for sale).

Chapter topics include “Sell Fast in Any Market”; “14 Days to Shaping Up Your House for Sale”; “Pricing to Hook Buyers”; “Finding a Really Good Agent”; “Winning the Negotiations”; “Preparing the Seller’s Disclosures”; “Dealing with the Home Inspections”; “Taking Charge of the Closing”; “Selling “By Owner”; “The Lease-Option Alternative”; “The Rental Conversion Alternative”; “Selling in a Bad Market”; and “12 Tools for Getting Your Agent to Work Harder.”

Except for the chapter about the tax aspects of home sales, this is a great “how to sell your home” book. The author explains most of the problems a home seller should expect, and how to resolve them. Irwin uses many personal examples to explain his advice. On my scale of one to 10, this excellent book rates a 10.

“Tips and Traps When Selling a Home, Third Edition,” by Robert Irwin (McGraw-Hill, New York), 2004, $14.95, 195 pages; Available in stock or by special order at local bookstores, public libraries and www.amazon.com.

(For more information on Bob Bruss publications, visit his
Real Estate Center
).

***

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