Sellers are often the most frustrated parties in the real estate loop. They don’t understand why they aren’t getting more showings and are frustrated that their realtor can’t work more “magic” for them. Because Sellers aren’t actively out looking at properties (like buyers are), unfortunately, they aren’t privy (unless advised by their agent) to information about their competition and market conditions. Truth is, most of them don’t want to track market conditions. Just sell my house, PLEASE!
Then frustration sets in. Not enough showings and they begin wondering why. Here is what I am discovering and passing on to my Sellers.
Today, as I do every day, I got on my computer, logged onto our local MLS (San Antonio Board) and took a look at what new had come on in our market area (Comfort, Waring, Welfare, Boerne, Fair Oaks Ranch, Bergheim – basically the I-10 corridor of the Texas Hill Country). One number that I like to look at as a comparison of what is going on in the market is: the number of new listings vs. the number of solds. Today, I pulled up the last 30 days figure and they were:
176 New Listings & 62 Solds. That number reveals that for every 3 new listings that comes on the market, there is only one sale that has been removed.
Although the market has been gradually improving, those numbers need to be much closer together. I’d like to see that number nearer to 1 meaning that one on, one off.
Because there are so many houses on the market, Sellers need to be sure that they aren’t shooting themselves in the foot by not taking into account these three things:
#1 Price. How does your current list price compare to historical prices? In our local area, as of this writing (11/11), if you are not pretty close to 2007-8 prices, your house is just not going to get looked at very much. Why? Foreclosures and short sales are pushing market prices back to that level. What you need to realistically be looking at is: How many foreclosures and shorts sales are there at your price point and how does your house compare to those houses. If there are even 2 or 3 foreclosures and/or short sales at your price point and you are priced way above them, the number of showings on your house is going to be minimal. Key point: Make sure your price is in line with what is on the market (including foreclosures and short sales).
What we tell our sellers is that the best time to sell your home is in the first month. If it is priced right to begin with, you’ll get showings and therefore buyers! Not every one of our Sellers listens to us on that point. Regardless, it is never too late to get your price in line with the market. Be encouraged! We have had many sellers start out with prices too high and ultimately come down to the price we suggest and then get a sale!
#2 Repair Issues. Do you have significant repairs required? Another interesting figure is the number of price changes: Today, for that same period, there were 160. Because there are so many price changes, when asked, we are telling people that price changes need to be in the $10,000-$20,000 range to really make an impact. Sellers are reducing their prices right and left by those numbers.
For many Sellers, that $10-$20K really could (and, in my opinion, should) be used to remedy problems instead. These are some basic suggestions: If your well is out, don’t decrease the price, fix it! If the carpet is old and worn, fix that! Listen to what your showing feedback is saying. If people are pointing out that your decks are in disrepair, consider repairing them. What you want is buyers to walk in your house and NOT see problems.
Rule of thumb is that for every dollar that is required for repair issues, a buyers is going to double and sometimes triple that number when mentally calculating how much your house is worth. Keep in mind, also, that THAT number usually gets deducted from the current list price (even when there have been prior price reductions). And that is only for those who are willing to look past the repair issues. Most people don’t like to mess with repairs. If there are other houses on the market that don’t require repairs, buyers will choose the ones without required repairs! Key point: You may want to repair instead of reduce!
#3 Cleanliness. Is your house spic n span during every showing? Related to #2 above, cleanliness is truly next to godliness when it comes to showings on your home! PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, make sure your house is white glove clean! That means counters, windows, baseboards, fans, light fixtures, floors, etc. Also, make sure it smells good and there is as much light shining in as possible (that means blinds open and windows clean)! People need to be able to envision themselves in your house. For many people, if they walk in a house and it feels dirty or smelly or if it is dark feeling, they’ll walk right back out and say, “This one just doesn’t feel right!” Key Point: Clean your house EVERY DAY. Open the shades. Light a candle.
It is my desire as a listing agent to keep my sellers “in the loop” as to what is going on in the market and to coach them on what to think about to get more showings. Truly, there’s a buyer out there for every property. Sellers, you just have to do “your part” which create the conditions so that buyers discover just how wonderful your house is.
Remember, we all have a mutual goal … to get your house SOLD! We, at Hill Country Home & Ranch Team, truly believe that it is a “team” effort. If you are a buyer or seller, we’d love to help you as well. Hopefully, this primer has given a little food for thought.
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