April 23, 2008
In fifteen years of working our market, I can't recall a time when it was more "challenging" than now to move a home from being on the market to having it closed. "Challenging", of course, is the word that many of us in the business are using to package the current situation instead of having the balls to use the word "tough".
Our residential inventory has grown from around 600 pieces just a few years ago to over 1200 today. Many price points over the $250K mark (In today's culture that's almost a starter home) are taking nine months to sell as opposed to an average of under 100 days back in the good ol' days of '02-'06. Credit underwritting criteria has tightened signifcantly as many lenders are not even wanting to talk to borrowers sporting cedit scores of below 650 in the midst of the nationwide mortgage mess.
All of these components point to one basic idea for today's seller: If you expect to have a prayer of selling anytime soon, you've got to make the decision to treat this like a business transaction devoid of the emotion and get competitive in the marketing. Here's a couple of things to remember.
1) Look at your property objectively (as a buyer would) and clean/fix it up like a retailer would - Today's buyer has many choices in every $10,000 price increment of our market. Some rotten wood that you have gotten used to seeing and the smudges on windows left there by your kids may just kill a sale. "Aw c'mon man! You can't tell me that something that stupid could nix a deal", you may be saying. Well, uh yeah that's exactly what I'm saying. Because what might seem like an innocuous, easy-to-fix defect can cause a buyer to (however subconciously) wonder what else might be wrong that's not so obvious. Here's a suggestion; have your house preinspected by a certified (NACHI or ASHI) home inspector. Then repair what the inspector suggests. Finally, make the results of the report known to your prospects. Leave the report on the kitchen counter, as well as paid invoices of all the work you've had done (by reputable companies of course). Today, Realtors even have the capability of scanning those documments and making them available to cooperating agents in our MLS.
I can see that this will take more that this one sitting to write this article. Besides I've got to catch up on the last episode of LOST before the new one comes out tommorrow...