Consider that in 2000, according to the National Association of Realtors, the typical existing home sold for $111,800 versus $225,000 in August.
So, what's the best approach to selling in today's market? Consider these five core points.
- Buyers are scarce relative to home supply.
While pre-market prep could have been ignored in the recent past, today you have to paint, clean-up and repair before offering a home for sale. An MLS photo that shows a home with a lousy roof is evidence of a property that likely will not sell quickly or at full price.
- Remember that cash is still an issue.
- Choose the right broker.
In a slow market picking the right listing broker becomes especially important. Why? Because a broker with a strong local history is known and respected: If he or she offers a property at a given price that value is likely to be accepted as at least within the realm of reason.
As an example, last year we sold a property that was unlike virtually all nearby properties in
terms of size (smaller house), lot (much bigger) and age (older than most). In other words, not an easy house to sell because there were no practical comparables. The broker -- who had sold properties worth some $200 million in neighborhood real estate over the years -- suggested a sale price which turned out to be exactly on target.
Alternatively, let's say we used a less experienced broker, someone who was not an authority figure. The property might have sold for less because another broker might have been less credible. In effect, one of the values of using an experienced listing broker is to readily establish believable prices and terms, an important matter in a buyer's market.
- Numbers Count.
This means that when considering a listing broker you need to review the marketing plan with care. What, exactly is the broker going to do in terms of advertising, open houses, MLS placements, online marketing, broker relations, etc?
Remember that the marketing plan which works for one property may not work for another. Plans need to be specific to local markets, to particular homes and for current market conditions. The thinking that seemed so good last year may be inappropriate this year.
- It's a business deal.
- The property must sell for this price because
- I need $400,000 for the next home. The truth: Prices are established by the marketplace, not seller needs.
- Similar homes in a different neighborhood command a particular price, therefore my house should sell at the same price. The truth: What happens elsewhere is irrelevant. What happens in the immediate neighborhood is what counts.
- The Flombacks got $800,00 for their home so I should be getting at least that much. The truth: This is not about the Flombacks and should not be about seller ego. The real issue is about bricks and mortar. The Flombacks may have an objectively better house.
- The buyer's offer requires that we leave the washer and dryer -- it's an insult. The truth: Homes reflect our psychological identity, who we are, our social status, etc. But the marketplace reflects supply and demand. Leaving a washer and dryer may be a lot cheaper than not getting a sale for months on end.