The national media covers housing on a national level. Every once in a while, a journalist will actually point out, that the real estate climate, it best measured locally. Various areas of the country, may be experiencing completely different results. But one thing remains constant no matter what the region- we are in a price war and beauty contest. But what does that mean:
The Beauty Contest
It would be an understatement, to say the real estate market has changed in the past three years. One of the biggest changes is the increase in inventory, of available homes. The neighborhoods that were white hot in the early part of this decade, generally don't have homes that sell by simply sticking a sign in the yard. The area may still have appeal, but chances are there will be several homes to choose from. The same subdivision that had six homes to choose from in years past, may have twelve, fifteen, or quite possibly more.
The bottom line is that we are a buyers market. Which will cause the buyer to be very choosy. The government manipulated this in an artificial way by offering a first time buyer tax credit in the recent past, but when that expired, the market expired, and buyers, for the most part, seemingly have most of the leverage.
For the seller, that means the buyer is not your adversary, but the other sellers in your area, is who you are doing battle with. Your home must be prettier, shinier, and show better than the guy or gal down the street. Updated kitchens and bathrooms are imperative. Curb appeal is more important than ever. Remember, if you can't get them in the door, you can't get them to see your home. Bear in mind, the beauty contest in 2011 starts online. Ninety percent of home buyers began their search via the internet. Consumers don't have patience or the stomach to spend four dollars a gallon for gasoline. If you don't look good online, you will simply be passed on. Well staged homes, and professional looking pictures are the order of the day.
Winning The Price War And Beauty Contest
I'm not breaking news, by suggesting that home buyers are price sensitive. It isn't enough for a seller to have a nice looking home. Although we real estate professionals show homes that are simply not market ready, the proliferation of real estate television shows and information online, have made for a more savvy presentation. We are showing homes that simply look better. But of the big three requirements- location, condition and price, it's the latter that most determines the success or failure for sellers in today's market.
Several pieces of advice, may make pricing your home easier-
Consult with your trusted real estate professional, to determine price. While past markets used the previous six months of homes sales as a comparable, try to use the past three months as a better measure. Also, check pending home sales. Although the sold price is not yet public, there may be some trends developing you should know about.
Look at homes currently being marketed in the area, to find out what your competition is doing. These are the same homes the potential buyer of your home will be looking at. Are you priced competitively.
Do you have a pricing plan? This is perhaps, the most overlooked part, of homes, currently on the market. Do you have a plan to adjust the price of your home if it isn't selling? Will it be adjusted by a certain amount every twenty one days? Two months? Or is there a bottom line that has been determined? If a home is to be sold, and done so efficiently, have a pricing plan in place before the home goes on the market.
Remember, there are those who want to list their home, and those who wish to sell it. There is quite a difference in the two. If you are in that second category, remember we are in a price wary and beauty contest.