(Originally posted on January 7, 2008)
The $64,000 Question
I think many sellers are asking this question, wanting to know when their home values are going to increase. The question is being posed by people who haven't listed their home yet, or whose listing has expired.
What I find interesting is that I think the answer is yes, we have hit bottom, but if you're asking that question, you're not ready to sell.
The "M" word
The only folks who should be selling, or considering selling, are motivated sellers. You see, as a Realtor, I can't tell you what price your home is going to sell at. The market itself can do that, and I'm ony the messenger. Looking at what other folks have priced their homes to sell for means nothing. What your neighbor's home sold for is the number we're looking for. Then we take in a few considerations so that we can compare apples to apples, and price the home within that range. So being motivated doesn't mean giving your house away, it means that you understand its value in today's market.
Pricing with a cushion
Sellers who want to add $10-$15,000 to their price because they know there will be negotiations are only hurting themselves. The message this conveys is that your home is overpriced even before someone looks in person. I've had those listings, and they always start with a call from the buyer's Realtor asking to negotiate before they've seen the home. Call me crazy, but I still like to show my client the house and see if they like it, before I start asking for price reductions.
A needle in a haystack
Personally, I do think we've hit bottom and are slowly climbing our way out of this deep hole. Although the number of homes on the MLS are still very high (23,852 at this moment), the actual competition to the sale of your home is relatively small. Once you pinpoint your area of town, price range, style of home and amenities, there are only so many homes competing. What confuses the issue are foreclosures and short sales. Once we remove those from the equation, your home has a much better chance of standing out in the crowd, if you're reasonable and motivated.
No more short sales!
I am not a fan of short sales. I think they're a fantasy number pulled from thin air, and a frustrating process for buyers and sellers alike. I don't even show short sale listings to my clients anymore because I don't believe they're real from my personal experience. If you want more detail why, feel free to contact me directly. So let's take the 4,180 short sales out of the MLS, and now we have 19,672 homes for sale. Now we're talking!
The most home for the value
By having the nicest home in your category at a great price, your home will sell, and in a reasonable amount of time. I get calls from Realtors almost every day inquiring about my listings. Most buyers don't want to submit an offer and go through the "hassle" of being turned down, because they feel their offer is so much lower than the asking price. Let's help these buyers out. By listing the home at your lowest acceptable offer, you will start to get offers. And getting an offer is the first step to getting out of your house, and into your next home.
In the words of the Bee Gees...
"It's nothing but emotion, taking me over" - once you detach yourself from your house and just see it as a means to an end, you are that much closer to selling. All the dollars you spent to make your home beautiful only mean something to you, not the next buyer. If you enjoyed all the bells and whistles you put in, that's the point. They were there for your enjoyment, don't expect to recoup the money you paid for them, it will never happen.
Know your competition
If you're considering selling your home, let's get together and find the homes for sale that directly compete against yours. I think once you see them inside and out, you'll see what I'm saying is true, and we can market and sell you home in the best way possible.