- Mike and Mary Damon, Waynesville
Selling Your Home in Today's Market
Any Real Estate Agent can put your house in the MLS, but few have a strategy for selling it.
A few years ago selling a home was easy for both the homeowner and the real estate agent. Fill out some forms, snap a few photos, put it in the MLS (multiple listing service), and it generally sold within a month or two -- sometimes in a day or two!
Oh how times have changed. Buncombe County currently has a about a 10 month absorption rate, meaning that there it will take 10 months to sell the current inventory. A healthy market - neither a buyer's nor a seller's market -- is about 6 months. At the beginning of 2011, we had a nearly 30 month absorption rate, so things are improving! Still, there is an abundance of inventory, especially in price ranges over $350,000, so competition is still stiff for selling. But the "deals" aren't as good for buyers either as things recover.
My feeling is that well-priced desirable homes sell quickly, some in a very reasonable 3-6 month time frame. Very desirable homes can sell in days, but homes that aren't priced right and are not staged can still languish on the market.
Also, it has been my observation, that buyers are less willing to take on homes that need updating. A few years ago, our older bungalows in North and West Asheville sold with original windows, old kitchens and baths, and other "deferred maintenance issues." Now, buyers pass over homes with these issues because there are other choices out there. And they will pay more for the "shiny penny."
Here are my tips for selling your home in the least amount of time for the most money possible:
- Be Motivated. If you don't really want or need to sell, then don't put your house on the market. These aren't time for "fishing." But it is the time for buying, so if you plan on moving up or down, realize that any "loss" you may take on selling you will make up in buying! And, mortgage rates are still low but going up, so don't miss the boat on the best buyer's market in history.
- Get real about the price. Your house isn't worth what it was worth 3- 6 years ago, and buyers don't care that you may lose money on it. The market dictates what a house is worth, and there is A LOT of competition on the market. You have to be better priced than the competition.
- Presentation. The buyer looking at your home is also looking at a dozen or more competing homes. If your home presents the best and is priced competitively, it will be the one they make an offer on. Consider staging the house. This doesn't have to be expensive as you can often use the furniture you have and rearrange and de-clutter. A vacant house will definitely need to be staged.
- Make the house available. Don't turn down showings if at all possible. The buyers have other options and will move on.
- The old standards still hold. When the house is to be shown, turn on all the lights, open all the curtains and blinds, make sure the temperature is comfortable (if it is too hot or too cold, buyers won't linger and will be left with a negative impression). Make sure the house smells, well, neutral. A house shouldn't smell at all. Air fresheners (toxic to many people) mask odors and cause buyers to wonder what is being covered up.
- Expect a low offer. Every buyer is still looking for the "deal" right now, and they assume every seller is desperate to sell. They will come in low as most buyers today feel like they have to try to "get a deal." Don't get insulted, but be ready to make a counter-offer. If the buyers realize the value of your home compared with the others they have seen, they will come up to a reasonable price.
- Understand that the market we have is the market we are going to have for the foreseeable future. It is unlikely that your home will increase in value significantly in the next few years. Don't put your life and dreams on hold waiting for the market to "recover." It is indeed in recovery, but that doesn't mean that it will ever go back to 2006 prices.
Here is what I will do to market your home successfully:
- Internet, internet, internet. 90% of buyers use the internet to search homes before they ever call an agent. Most continue to search even when an agent is sending them listings. Having your home widely presented online is one of the most important things an agent can do for you. My listings appear on Realtor.com (the most visited real estate web site), REMAX.com (the most visited real estate company web site), as well as numerous other sites like Homes.com, Trulia.com, (Asheville) citizen-times.com, and many secondary sites.
- Photos. How many times have you seen listings with badly lit photos or only one photo of the exterior of the house? I take quality photos, and I take quantity photos!
- Videos. (fewer than 15% of agents make a video of their listings), I also provide videos that give the buyer a quick tour of the layout and standout features of the home, property, and location.
- Descriptions. Property descriptions should create a mental picture of what lifestyle the buyer can enjoy if they purchase the home. I write engaging and informative descriptions.
- Complete Information. Buyers want to know everything possible about a house. I provide all the information allowed in the MLS, including room dimensions and school districts, which many agents omit.
- Awareness. I promote your listing as well as price changes to all the other agents in the MLS. Agents sell houses, and if they are aware of one in particular that may have been overlooked in the buyer's search, it will get your house shown.
- Straight-forward Guidance. From staging tips to pricing advice, I will be completely straight-forward. I'll keep you apprised of showing feedback and changes in the market that might indicate a need to change the price.
- Negotiation. I will negotiate with fairly, but in your best interest.
Contact me if you want to discuss selling your home. As always, I am happy to provide a free, no-obligation consultation and market analysis.
Feel free to ask me why I am different from the pack!