With all of the negative hype in the news day after day about a nation wide housing slump, the conditions here in Appleton and the Fox Cities have actually been fairly resistant to it. There certainly has been a slow down in our area but our figures do not directly reflect the National Association of Realtors (NAR) national statistics of the existing-home sales drop of 12.8%.
According to the Realtors Association of Northeast Wisconsin Outagamie County; where my office is located, only saw a change of -1.3% last year. 2007 home sales were 1,898 while 2006 sales were 1,923. Now... I should expand on this by saying that Outagamie County is the exception to the Fox Cities market. We have three more counties in the Fox Valley who's numbers aren't quite as strong and again these statistics are from the Realtors Association of Northeast Wisconsin ; Calumet County showed a change of -9.2% (2007 sales 415, 2006 sales 457), Waupaca County with a change of -11.8% (2007 sales 491, 2006 sales 557) and Winnebago County at -11.5% (2007 sales 1,753, 2006 sales1,981). Averaged out we saw a change of -7.3% in the Fox Cities area.
Why are we so resistant to the national slow down? I don't have a quick answer for that other than the fact that people are still able to find work, they're keeping their jobs and it's great to live in The Valley.
I've heard many potential sellers say lately that this is a terrible time to put their home on the market, in my opinion, not really. What sellers need to realize is that they too are buyers and that they can take advantage of current conditions just like anyone else. From the buying point of view the inventory of existing homes is strong so there's lots to choose from and prices have plateaued or taken a bit of a dip, more buying power. That's all good for the buyer but what about the seller. It means your home might be on the market longer than it would have a couple of years ago and it might not sell for as much and remember, you're a buyer.
Assuming the potential seller didn't buy their home within the last couple of years there are certain steps they can take to better their position in the current market; First- find a real estate agent that you can connect with. Now more than ever you want an experienced professional at your side. 2- Remember, there's no "right" time to buy orsell. You don't want to try and second guess interest rates or the market, your hesitation could cost you a lot more than the potential savings of rates dropping and quite frankly the market is not going to turn around tomorrow. 3- Have a Pre-Sale Inspection, being proactive is always better than having to be reactive. If the inspector finds (and they will) trouble areas, address the issues right away. If there are things you can't take care of now at least you're aware of them and it won't be a surprise when the buyer has theirinspection done. Get replacement estimates on big ticket items that are worn out or will need to be replaced soon. 4- With warmer weather upon us, clean up the curb appeal. Many outside curb appeal projects are very simple and inexpensive; touch up the entry way paint, sweep up, pull the dead weeds, change the burned out porch light-bulb, etc. Stand out front and look at your home as if it's the first time you saw it, with the eyes of a potential buyer. 5- Pack up the clutter and move it out. Many sellers are hiring a professional stager and this is one area you want to "keep up with the Joneses". Ask your agent, she or he may be well versed in this subject and save you the expense of hiring a stager. Last- find a real estate agent that you can connect with! From here on out it's important to have professional assistance, make the most of the current local market conditions and devise a comprehensive Market Plan and set the price correctly, now's not the time to play games.
Selling your home in todays market is no slam dunk but by following a few simple steps it can be a whole lot easier, make sure you have the guidance of an experienced Real Estate Agent by your side.