Is it the right time to sell or buy a home?

By
Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams

Many of the folks I talk to ask me whether or not this is the right time for them to sell their home or buy a new one.  The question is more easily answered to buyers since right now we are in a buyers market.  So, yes it's a great time to buy.  We have plenty of inventory to choose from and mortgage rates are still low. And if you are selling your home and looking to buy a home in the same area, it is a good time too.  Even though you may not make quite as much on your home sale, you are saving on the purchase.  So the money you invest in your next purchase will over time increase in value the same way your existing home would have considering the typical factors of condition, area, etc.  But that seems to be such a simple answer.  There is definitely more to it. 

Folks that are selling their home have a little more criteria to weigh when making the decision and here's why.  First, we have to look at what segment of the market your home fits into.  If you have a nice ranch home with a two car garage and it's priced under $150,000 you probably will get it sold relatively quickly assuming it is in good condition.  However, if your home is in a higher price range, the story may be quite different.  This year in York County, SC there have been 677 Active and Sold single family homes on the market in the price range between $350,000 to $500,000.  This doesn't include the folks that have tried to sell and couldn't so they took their homes off the market.  The average number of days on the market is 136 with the high at 722 (God bless these folks for sticking with it and having faith that it will work out - they must have a good Realtor® who has educated them about this market).  If we break these down by town we'll see the following:  

Homes in Clover, SC:  33 for sale, 4 sold

Homes in Fort Mill, SC: 226 for sale, 90 sold

Homes in Lake Wylie, SC: 82 for sale, 29 sold

Homes in Rock Hill, SC: 198 for sale, 51 sold

Homes in Tega Cay, SC; 72 for sale, 20 sold

Homes in York, SC: 68 for sale, 16 sold

Other: 3 for sale, 1 sold

So what does this tell us?  It tells us that the homes in this price range have quite a bit of competition and you may need to be patient during your home sale process.  But what you don't see in these numbers is why some have sold and others haven't.  That is when you have to take a good look at your home and your competition and be objective no matter what price range your home falls in.  In this competitive market there are quite a few things you can do to help your home stand out and sell quicker than your competition.

First, make sure that you and your Realtor® are on the same page.  When you interview your Realtor® find out how they plan on marketing your home.  Every Realtors® marketing plan is different.  I have seen some that say they are full service that don't advertise anywhere but on their own website and in the MLS.  They don't even do a comparable market analysis for you.  Make sure you are getting everything you need from your Realtor®.  Remember that every home that goes into the mls also goes into Realtor.com but here's the catch, there is only one picture and the description is pulled directly from mls where we write descriptions in a cryptic form because of the limitation of space.  With my listings I pay for them to be enhanced.  I can add as many photos as I like and I can change the description so that it will intrigue the reader.   

Your Realtor® will give you an honest assessment of your home but you need to do the same thing.  Take a good look at the condition of your home.  Remember that a buyer has no emotional involvement with your home...yet.  You want to start from the outside on the street.  Check to see if your yard is neat, the leaves are raked, and there aren't any toys or tools lying around.  You may need to pressure wash your sidewalks, steps, even your roof.  This is the first impression that you give to the homeowner.  Once you're inside ask yourself if you need to touch up those fingerprints in the hall?  What about getting the carpet in the family room replaced or at least cleaned?  Does the master bathroom need a complete overhaul?  Some of these changes, although they may seem a bit costly in the short term can result in a quick sale and in the end save you money because you won't be making those extra mortgage payments while your home sits on the market. 

Staging your home can also be paramount to a quick sale.  This is not always a costly endeavor.  A good stager will work within your budget.  We know that a huge portion of buyers (around 80%) start their home search on the internet and that if the pictures & description aren't appealing they won't even bother to make an appointment to see your home. 

Professional photography - I actually know a homeowner that took three photos of their home and gave them to their Realtor® to post in the mls.  Not only were they of poor quality but the Realtor® actually did it.  I recommend a professional to take the photos but at the very least I would take about thirty (30) photos and post the best ones on the internet.  This seller wondered why no buyers ever came to see her home.  If it doesn't appeal to a buyer on the internet, they will never make an appointment to come see it. 

Inspections - If you have an inspection done before you even list your home you can have any issue that may be a deal breaker fixed.  Then when you fill out your property disclosure, it's not an issue. 

Home Warranties - These give a buyer an added sense of security when purchasing a home.  A good buyer's agent will ask for it in their offer anyway so you may as well provide one in advance.  When you do this, your home is covered by the warranty for the duration of your listing agreement and a year after closing for the buyer.  If you have an older home, this can be a cost saver if your water heater or HVAC has a problem while your home is on the market.    

Each homeowner's reason for moving may be different.  When I work with you, we will sit down and go over all of your needs and goals.   If you'd like to set up an appointment please call me at 803-517-3452.

Comments (1)

Bradley Patterson
Keller Williams - Fort Mill, SC
The Bradley Patterson Team

For Sale By Owner is always an option.  If one chooses that option, I would simply caution them in advance to be sure that they are comfortable with the entire process.  This involves choosing how to market and where to advertise and how much to spend, scheduling and holding open houses, making yourself available to respond to calls & appointments, pre-qualifying the buyers, preparing your home to be shown, being aware of the legal aspects of the offer, it's deadlines, the inspections and what you are responsible for as a seller regarding repairs, following up on the buyers loan approval, etc. 

First and foremost is seller safety.  When you are selling your own home, make sure you pre-qualify anyone who is going to want you to show it to them.  You have no idea if they are really interested in purchasing your home or if they have something else in mind.  Ask for identification and a pre-qualification letter from their lender.  If they are serious, they will supply this information.  I would recommend that your sign indicate that you show the house by appointment only.  This way you don't have to open the door every time a stranger comes and knocks on it and wants to see it then and there.  When you prepare your home to be shown, hide your valuables and always make sure a neighbor or close friend is aware of your appointment.  Call them to let them know you are okay after the buyers have left. 

Use the standard forms that are required by your state.  Although the websites that are listed in the previous post can provide you with forms (at a cost), they may not necessarily adhere to all the requirements in your state.  If you use the state forms (which are free) you are more than likely not to have it come back to bite you in the end. 

Hire an attorney to review all offers and documents before you sign your name.  You do not want a buyer coming back to sue you because you forgot to disclose something before closing. 

Finally, keep in mind that the National Association of Realtors reported that "homeowners who used a professional sold their homes for 16 percent higher on average than those who did not".  http://narblog1.realtors.org/mvtype/narinthenews/2007/06/the_truth_about_statistics_1.html 

In the case of a for sale by owner that received $100,000, the home could have sold through a Realtor for $116,000 leaving a net profit after paying real estate fees of $109,040.  Why does this happen?  Well, I believe that one reason is because that buyers who go after a for sale by owner home think that they can get a good deal.  They already will expect to pay less because there is no real estate fee attached.  There's also the fact that the seller may not price their home properly to begin with.  They may have based it on the sale of a neighbor's home and not realize that they have more upgrades or a bit more square feet than the other or they may have based it on a refinance appraisal that isn't necesarrily accurate for the current marketplace.  In addition, who is more adept at negotiations, a Realtor who handles negotiations every day or a seller who may have done it a couple of times in their life. 

Jul 31, 2008 05:59 AM

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