Which House Will Sell First?

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Cornerstone Business Group Inc 0225086119

Which House Will Sell First?

I often have clients, friends and colleagues ask me what it takes to sell a home fast. Everyone wants to sell fast and for the most money, and it is possible, but you need to understand how the real estate game is played. Take a look at the photo below and pick a house, and then, I'll share the real world possibilities. 


OK, have you made a choice? Let's look at them one by one. A. It seems like a pretty simple home. It looks a little older and is surrounded by mature trees. You can see a little moss on the roof shingles. It's obviously two-story, which may knock out a buyer looking for a ranch house, but a family with kids may find plenty of bedrooms on the second floor. There is always someone who needs one or the other. It has had some improvements added prior to list. It has an upgraded kitchen and new appliances. From the photo, we don't know what an upgraded kitchen means, but it may mean new cabinets and countertops. The lighting may have been updated. It may have a new food disposal and possibly new sink and faucet. Let's assume all of those things are true. It's priced below market price. It has hardwood floors throughout. "Throughout" isn't defined, but if you take it at face value, it likely means throughout the house except for bathrooms and laundry areas. The kitchen is a maybe, maybe not part of throughout. 

House looks like a home you might find in any traditional neighborhood. It says it has a great neighborhood, and we don't know what that means, but let's assume it has good and caring neighbors, people take care of their properties and it's a safe and comfortable place to live. It's close to schools and shopping so it's probably in a suburb near a city. It is currently priced at market, based on current sales. It has a great front porch and a fenced yard. A drive-by will help a buyer answer some of the questions about the neighborhood before ever looking at the house. There is a lot to like from the limited information.

House looks like a great house. It seems big and has a three car garage and a driveway for outside parking. Based on the exterior, it is likely a newer home as compared to house A. It's in good condition, but it has some issues. Good condition is not the same as excellent condition. There may be some deferred maintenance, but we don't know for sure. It is not unusual for a seller to invest in curb appeal and neglect the interior upkeep. Curb appeal may bring a buyer to the driveway, but an unkept house can send them away quickly. There is no fence around the yard and the neighborhood has an angry barking dog right next door. That might make it less appealing to a family with small children or even older buyers who don't move quite as fast as they used to. It is priced at 20% above the current market. That may mean the sellers are underwater and are trying to get out of it without bringing money to the table, or they may just want to make more money, or they could have simply followed their Realtor's ill-fated advice on price. If it is twenty years old, the owners may have raised kids there, sent them to school, off to college and then into their own homes after marriage. There may be memories that a seller is trying to put a dollar amount on and it is showing up in the price. Buyers don't buy other people's memories. They don't always buy other people's upgrades, such as laminated floors. What is seen as an upgrade to one person may not be the same to another. 

House really doesn't need much attention. It's below market, but the repairs necessary to make it livable, make it an unlikely candidate for most buyers. Some sellers do defer their maintenance too long and then expect a buyer to come along who is willing to accept their neglect for a discounted price. Many buyers today just want to move in. They don't want to clean up somebody's mess. House D is a no go. 

So, there are two houses that are likely to compete for the quickest sale. A & B have the most to offer with the best prices. Both have fences, which may make any buyer feel better. A buyer with a dog can let the dog out in the yard without fear of it running off or getting hit by a car. They both have assets that make them attractive. If they have similar square footage, and if they are in a similar condition inside, it might boil down to age. If a buyer loves old homes, A is the likely winner. If a buyer loves a large front porch to sit on during the evening while chatting to neighbors, B may win. C & D have enough detractors that both may sit on the market longer. Even though C looks beautiful in the photo, an out of control dog next door may make it less attractive. Without the dog, an overpriced home is just that. It's overpriced. People don't want to pay more for a home than the market demands. Most would prefer to pay less. Agents have access to market data to know if a home is well priced or priced high or low. Overpriced homes can soon become stigmatized by the price and eventually buyers will take them off their radar. Add a negative, like a bad neighbor, a neighbor who doesn't take care of his home, or an aggressive dog to the equation and it can quickly get deleted from a possibilities list. 

When you're ready to buy a home, give Cornerstone Business Group, Inc., a call @ 888-722-6029 We are your local real estate sales pros, and we can help you know the true value of a home based on a myriad of issues. 


This post was originally posted at www.cornerstonehomesales.com: Which House Will Sell First?  #whichhousewillsellfirst, #mikecoopersellshomes, #cornerstonehomesales.


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Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line

Love this post, and sometimes a house just feels right to a buyer as they walk in and then all the reasons they come up with were never on the list they gave you to begin with. 

Apr 10, 2020 11:20 AM #1
Ricki Eichler McCallum
CastNet Realty - Corpus Christi, TX
Broker,GRI,ABR, e-Pro, TAHS

Location, location, location.  It all depends on the location, I think.  Buyers have different preferences in different areas but you make some really great points.

Apr 10, 2020 12:01 PM #2
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

House "D" with the "deferred maintenance" label is a bit of an understatement.  However, if the agent were to say, land value only, and price it accordingly, it might go.  I've marketed properties like it.  But, being straight-forward in the marketing is key.  I remember one 5 acre property that had a once grand plantation styled home on it.  However, it had been neglected for many years.  I advertised, "Tara After the War."  It sold rather quickly!

Apr 10, 2020 01:27 PM #3
James Dray
Fathom Realty - Bentonville, AR
Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results

Morning Mike.

Can't speak for anyone else, but in my area B would sell within a week.  "A" would last for 48-72 hours.

Apr 11, 2020 01:35 AM #4
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello Mike - a clever way to attract prospective home sellers(and home buyers who need to understand the real estate market in their area).  Of course, my answer, is it depends.  While "predicting" outcomes has never been my specialty offering suggestions how to improve/enhance eventual sales results is something a local, knowledgeable and aware professional, like yourself, can help a savvy client can help.  

Apr 11, 2020 05:21 AM #5
Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor®
Vision Quest Realty - Lewisburg, WV
Lewisburg WV, the go to agent for all real estate

My pick was B. I have buyers for each of those homes. Now if they were located in Lewisburg WV  LOL

Apr 12, 2020 03:05 PM #6
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Interesting exercise and some good thoughts about the issues to consider when looking at different houses. Of course price is a key factor, and finding the right buyer...there will be more buyers for some homes than others. Helping sellers to make the most of the property they have to sell is a big part of what we do, along with pricing it for the market, right?

Apr 21, 2020 08:16 PM #7
Richard Weeks
Dallas, TX
REALTOR®, Broker

Great information, thanks for sharing.  I hope you have a great day.  Stay safe.

Apr 22, 2020 04:11 AM #8
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Mike Cooper, GRI

Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro
Winchester has a place for you! Call me.
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