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SELLERS SHARE THEIR EXPERIENCES // Sellers, agents must talk

Communication between seller and real estate agent is the key to a successful sale, says Carolyn Green of Tampa.

"Find a Realtor you can work well with, that you know, so that they feel comfortable talking with you about things you may need to do, and you feel comfortable with them about saying what you really want to get out of it," Green said. She and her husband, Anthony, had their home on the market for about a year and a half, listed with three different agents, before they finally found a buyer.

"You have an emotional investment in the property, you want to price it according to what you have emotionally invested in it. A Realtor is looking at dollars and appraisal and what's actually acceptable and what's not." She has known Willie Ray Mason of Mason & Associates Realty in Tampa "for years and years and years. I believe that's what helped us here. . . . Mason suggested some things we needed to change, what the facts were as far as what houses were going for and what we needed to do, repairs to make, to get what we wanted out of the house. A person you don't really know may be reluctant to say, "Carolyn, get rid of this, change that.' "

Mason found them a buyer; the Greens got their asking price; and they will shortly move into an apartment while they finish building a new home at Hunters' Green, one of the big planned communities in north Tampa.

Green acknowledges she was a little surprised at how long it took to sell the home. One reason, she thinks, is that previous agents may not have been familiar with her neighborhood, River Grove, which has a reputation as a solid, stable area, while Mason, the successful agent, lives in the area "and is very familiar with the value," she said. "Look at what their clientele is, who's most likely to walk into their office," she suggested. An agent who is unfamiliar with your neighborhood or whose clients are unlikely to want to live there may not be the right one to sell your home, she said.

Another tip, offered by the Greens as they finished a wallpapering project this week: "If you're going to make some repairs, or you've got somethings you're wanting to finish like wallpaper or paint, do it in the beginning," Green suggested. "Once the house sells, once people say they want it, they really want it, and they want to move in as quickly as possible. There's not a whole lot of time."