For all those who wanted to sell real estate this year but hadn’t pulled the trigger yet, the top of the market has passed. According to the market activity report, we have moved from a super strong seller market to a more neutral market.
Many economists, real estate professionals, and authors are indicating that we are approaching a buyer’s market, but the consensus is that we are not there … yet. Properties are going on escrow but at a slower pace (28% reduction compared to this time last year) but with inventory increasing (more than 50% compared to 4 months ago), the increase interest rates and inflation causing purchasing power concern, there simply isn’t as much buyer activity as there was 90 days ago.
So what can a property owner do to distinguish their property so that it gets noticed; what will make it stand out? This will be a two part article as this topic has many important facets, the first part will deal with the physical condition and appearance of the property and proper pricing. Next week we will discuss some “radical” ideas to make your ad stand out from the competition and sell it.
The first step is to make an inventory of the conditions in which the property is located; are there collection collections? Meaning is the contrary. Look at it this way, do you really want to pay to move all the “stuff”? If you want to keep items you don’t use often, store them in a rented locker or POD; when the house sells, the items will need to be packed, so do this in advance as it will help tidy up the house. Remember that the way we prepare a house for sale is not an indictment of how we live; we want it to be easy for buyers to imagine their photos and furniture on the property. Decluttering also helps rooms feel larger and more open, as does washing windows; let natural light enter inside.
Watch out for strong odors (cooking, pets, smoke) inside the home that could be offensive to buyers and take steps to remedy them. Cleaning carpets, polishing floors and fresh paint goes a long way, paint makes it smell new, fresh and attractive.
The next step is to review your curb appeal because we only have one chance to make a first impression; do it well. Whatever your landscaping choice, it should be neat, well-groomed, and attractive. Adding splashes of color is an inexpensive way to draw attention to the property that helps create a welcoming atmosphere. If there are piles of excess tomato shelves, empty flower pots, and / or other clutter, it is best to clean and take it away.
If obvious repairs are needed indoors or outdoors, spend time and money repairing them because in a neutral or high-stock buyers market, buyers will try to find reasons not to buy because they have choices. A local agent should be able to assist with fresh eyes as we are often so used to seeing something that we no longer see it. Both inside and out, it sells neat and tidy.
The next is the most important way to get buyers to notice your listing, accurate pricing for the current market. Was your neighbor’s house sold at a super price with more competing offers above the list price six months ago? Great … but the market six months ago (even three months ago) was a different market.
If the goal is to sell the house, set a realistic price. Homeowners in our market have enjoyed an 18-20% value appreciation for each of the past two years, so homeowners have earned a lot of equity. Returning some of those earnings with accurate prices for the current market will make the home sell even in a market with lower assets.
The local agents who live here and work here are your best resource for suitable prices, but look back just three months for comparable; beyond that, the data will be distorted and inaccurate. They sell properties at an appropriate price. Stubbornly holding a price too high when the market is moving down, then timidly cutting the price in small increments is called chasing the down market; Aggressive price cuts are needed to overcome the downward trend in prices.
And, oh by the way, while stubbornly clinging to the overpriced price, consider that time to market will increase and the transportation costs associated with maintaining a property that is not priced to sell.
The condition of the property and the correct price are two important ways to get your ad noticed. Next week, we’ll be talking about something out of the box with a view to further differentiating your listing from the competition.