This is the long awaited follow up, nearly 24 hours, to the posting Three Reasons to Sell NOW!!!
But first a bonus story ...
I found a funny today while I was out driving for unlisted distressed properties. It was a home for sale, by the owner none the less, that has been for sale since I purchased a fixer-upper around the corner last September. My wife was riding with me which is a rare treat since she has no affinity for fixer uppers. When we approached the home I said, "I bet they want $165,000 for that property. That's why it is FSBO and still available." She noticed there were some fliers on the sign and asked me to stop so she could get one.
This neighborhood comps between $85,000 and $140,000 depending on which street you are on. This one does happen to be on the $140k street. Asking price? $179,000. Reason? A major misconception on the part of the seller, or rather a GROUP of misconceptions.
The first misconception is that their home is worth more than any other home in the neighborhood. The home lacks curb appeal and is outclassed by at least one other home withing eye's distance. There is no landscaping, the grass is browned, the soffets and eves need attention, the trees and shrubs are growing wild. It is, to say the least, unattractive to any prospective buyers.
The second misconception is discovered far too frequently and difficult to explain to an open minded buyer much worse to a stubborn buyer. Rooms below grade do not count as rooms - they count as finished basement. So this 5 bedroom, 3 bedroom home is, in reality, a 3 bedroom, 1.5 bath home with a finished basement.
The third misconception is that just because DiTech loaned them more than their home is worth that they can sell it for more than it is worth. In fact, if they don't sell it for $165k or more, they'll be bringing money to the closing table. Actual value of this home is about $135,000 and the payoff is $162,550. So if you are in this shape and you need to sell bring cash because it will cost you to sell. If not, however, here are three ways I have used to move properties in depressed neighborhoods for a price the other sellers were glad to see!
LAW NUMBER ONE - Curb appeal. If they don't like what they see when they drive by or see the photos online you'll never get YOUR offer. What you will get is an investor like me offering you pennies on the dollar.
LAW NUMBER TWO - Prepare the property for sale. We've been doing this for years and finally someone started calling it staging and put a trademark on it. Call it whatever you want but get a handyman out and repair all those little things. Hire a professional cleaning company with experience to clean every crack and crevice in the home. Get one of those resurfacing companies to do the tubs, caulk and stainless. Paint everything that has a custom paint color on it. And for Pete's sake, keep some FURNITURE in the house!
LAW NUMBER THREE - Don't try to sell your home for what YOU think it's worth. Sell it for what it IS worth. If you obey the first two laws the third law will happen pretty much automatically. But the biggest error I see from most sellers is ...
BONUS!!! LAW NUMBER FOUR - Use a Licensed Real Estate Professional to sell your home. But don't just pick any old agent and expect them to get the job done. Interview them. Get referrals. DO NOT USE YOUR COUSIN'S, HUSBAND'S, BOSSE'S DAUGHTER just because they are referred! Interview them. See if they are on your team or if they just want to have a listing to get more phone calls from buyers so they can convert them to clients, too.
Before listing your home I would strongly urge you to pay for an appraiser to do an appraisal on your property. Here again, find a reputable appraiser with a lot of experience in your area. While real estate brokers may give you an opinion on the price it will not be acceptable to the lender. If the lender will not make a loan on your property to the value you have determined there will be no sale unless the buyer has cash or really bad financing.