Large portions of our local Cincinnati real estate market are fully in the sellers' market category right now. There's just not enough homes for sale to meet buyer demand in the affordable home segment, and the result is a good condition home priced well will go under contract FAST.
Now the trouble with this kind of market is that some sellers assume they can get top dollar for their home, without being willing to do the things that create top dollar value.
Every neighborhood has an fairly well established range of values. It's easy enough for an agent or the consumer (if they're proficient at using the county auditor's site) to see the SOLD prices of recent area sales. In a typical subdivision, there's a range for 3 bedroom homes, another for 4 bedroom homes, a range for homes with 2 car garages and a different one for 3 car garages, etc. Facts are facts.
But the inclination in a sellers' market is to ignore the facts. "Hey, there's just not enough homes on the market so I can get MORE". And that's true, up to a point. And if you're lucky you get the higher end of the normal range, and maybe even a bit more. And if you're REALLY lucky, the appraiser doesn't dispute the fact that you're getting 5-10% more than similar homes sold in the last few months.
But all of that is assuming your home IS in top condition and there's not something off putting about the home, the lot, etc.
Today we attended an open house with a pair of our buyers, and the home was an object lesson in how NOT to get top dollar:
- Homes getting top dollar in the area have finished basements, this one was studded out, but that was it. And the basement involved two unfinishable areas. Top dollar, we'd expect a FULL basement and some significant living space already finished.
- There was fresh paint on the walls AND some of it was also on the hardwood floors inside the entry. Not good. For top dollar, a buyer expects move in ready.
- Some of the updating stopped short of the full job. If you're going to nicely tile the bathrooms, leaving the original $25 builder's special faucets just doesn't leave the right impression.
- For top dollar, the inside AND the outside of the home need to be in good condition. Today's home literally had the supporting paneling under the fireplace bumpout mostly detached and hanging down. Add in some water damage there, some partially detached trim board on the front wall, drain piping with holes where they didn't belong and gutter downspouts not fully attached to the home, and a missing garage sidelight? Those just don't give a buyer a good feeling about how well a home has been maintained.
- And if you're going to upgrade the kitchen counters, it's critical that where two pieces of granite meet, that the pattern isn't just similar, but it actually blends well. A two tone approach is pretty glaring.
Basically, to get top dollar, you have to provide a move in ready home that compares VERY favorably to similar homes. Those true extra finishing touches that place your home above the competition are what will give a buyer an "excuse" to open their wallet a bit wider to make sure YOUR home becomes THEIR home.
Ready to talk Cincinnati area real estate? Just give us a call at 513-520-5305 or email Liz@LizSpear.com.
We look forward to hearing from you!
Bill & Liz aka BLiz