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News Now

Consumer
Get house on the market--pronto
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (3/4/14)--Time's a wasting if you plan to put your house on the market this spring. House hunters have been scoping out properties online for months and are poised to buy (Motley Fool Feb. 15).
 
January visits to online real estate websites were up 25% more than in December, to more than 360 million, according to Experian Marketing Services (Feb. 14). So, if you plan to sell but your house is not yet listed and online, you're missing lots of opportunities to show your house to potential buyers.
 
While spring is the traditional season for housing sales to pick up, other factors contribute to the lift in interested buyers.
 
Mortgage rates are lower in the past month and hovering near 4% for qualified loans. This is good news for buyers sensitive to affordability: A traditional 30-year, $150,000 mortgage at 4.5% would have a monthly payment of $760. If rates decline to 4.25%, the payment would change to $738.
 
That $22 savings each month could make the difference between getting a loan approval or not. And, over the life of the loan, that 0.25% difference saves the borrower nearly $8,000.
 
Get your house show-ready by making sure it is spotless and clutter-free. Low-cost cosmetic fixes such as fresh paint and carpet in neutral shades, new cabinet hardware and shower curtains, and basic landscape maintenance pay off. An investment in updated kitchen appliances makes more sense than a kitchen remodel at this stage.
 
For more information, read "Want Top Dollar for Your House? Apply Elbow Grease" in the Home & Family Finance Resource Center.
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