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There has been a wealth of stories in the news media about present home-buying conditions, and with today's low interest rates, it is an excellent time to buy. But what consumers may overlook is that it's also a good time to sell.

While conditions vary from one area to another, and even between neighborhoods within cities, the combination of mortgage interest rates, home prices and family income is the best we've seen since the mid-1970's. Excellent affordability conditions brought many first-time home buyers into the market last fall. Trade up buyers can now benefit from this healthy market.

With both first-time buyers and repeat home buyers in the market, potential sellers who have been on the sidelines may wish to take advantage of favorable market conditions. Most families with children purchase homes during the spring and summer months, with school-year calendars a factor in the timing of their purchase.

As an example, many potential buyers hesitated to buy a home during the Persian Gulf War and uncertain economic climate.

To be successful, sellers must price their homes competitively. Unrealistic expectations waste time, since most buyers shop carefully and often look at many homes before they are willing to make an offer. It's important to consult a real estate professional to get a comparative market analysis. This will show you recent selling prices of comparable homes in terms of size, style, neighborhood and amenities.

One simple piece of advice to consider before putting your home up for sale is to clean out closets and remove clutter. You'll want to give your home a spacious feel, and since you'll have to go through all your possessions when you move, this will get you started on the process!

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