There has been a shift in the real estate market over the last 6 months. The shift has been away from a sellers market where buyers were aggressively making full-price or better offers, writing emotional letters to convince sellers to pick them as the buyer, and doing whatever it takes to get into escrow on a house that they wanted. Today it is much different. The market has slowed down. Today houses are staying on the market longer and buyers are in a position to negotiate with sellers for prices and terms that are more to their liking.
I don’t want to imply that the market is diving. It is not. What it is, I would characterize, as being more balanced. Yes, prices have leveled off. Average market time is a bit longer, but a well-priced and properly staged home will still sell in days and at asking price or better.
When there is a shift in the market it isn’t obvious until a couple of months into the change. This means that last spring, say in about April, Realtors were not yet aware of the change. At that point we were still thinking it was a seller’s market. It is highly normal for a person selling their home to want to get every dollar possible out of the sale. In a seller’s market this allows sellers to learn of the current value and then wishfully add on an extra $10,000 or so. It worked when the market was in their favor, but it doesn’t work when the shift is happening to favor buyers. This means that many homes listed last spring were over-priced and have languished on the market. If you are following the market with an app such as zillow or redfin, you are getting lots of push alerts about price reductions. Those are the houses that were priced too high and not reflective of what is actually happening.
So what if you want to sell your house in this climate? You’ve got to get competitive and you will win. What do you need to do to get competitive? You need to do the work of getting your house ready and then pricing it for what it is actually worth and not for what you wish you could get out of it.
Getting your house ready means cleaning and repairing it is much as possible. This past week I wrote an offer for a client on a house with broken and missing bedroom doors, as well as a back yard that a large dog has torn up and gotten the siding on the back of the house extremely muddy. It would take a weekend for the home owners to pressure wash the back of the house, put out some pots with flowers in them, and replace about 6 doors. I don’t know the exact cost but I’d put it at under $1000. The reward would be a much more desirable property and, I believe, would get them about $10,000 more in the selling of their home. This offer did not come together. The home owners simply are not being reasonable about the condition of their home as it relates to the list price.
That is a nice segway into proper pricing. Your home needs to be priced to reflect the recent sale of similar homes in your neighborhood. It is worth what the market is demonstrating that it is worth.
This is not rocket science. Properly prepare your home and then properly price it. You’ll realize a good sale, at the best value of the current market, and you won’t be sitting on it hoping for a buyer to come along 4 or 5 months from now.
Please let Linda or I know if you have any questions. In addition, don’t hesitate to reach out to either one of us if you are wondering what your home is currently worth. We are happy to help!