WHAT THE EXPERTS ARE SAYING
Questions That Weigh on Sellers’ Minds
by Lisa Udy
If your home is currently on or has been on the market, chances are, you have probably pondered or have asked your agent the following questions:
Why hasn't my home sold yet?
Whether your home has been on the market for a week or a year, there is a buyer for it. The problem we have right now is that it's a buyers market, which means buyers want the best value, or else they will move on.
Your home has to be the very best, or at least in the top 3 homes in your price range/area to sell. This isn't speculation; it's called the absorption rate.
If your house is in a price range/area with 20 other homes, there are enough buyers out there right now to buy 3 of those homes each month. So, out of the 20 homes that are on the market in that price range, yours has to be in the top 3, or you won't get it sold, let alone, receive an offer.
If you truly need to get your home sold and have the motivation to do what it takes, make your home one of the top 3 homes out there. (I have very detailed information that I provide to all of my sellers to make sure they know what it takes to be in that top 3, and I help them achieve it.)
Why don't I have an offer after 10 showings?
If your home is priced right and in selling condition, on average, in the Cache Valley real estate market, where I work, you should get 1 offer per 10 showings. If you’re now up to 15 showings, and you haven't seen an offer yet, what’s the deal?
There could be a number of things, but let’s talk about the most common. Price! The almighty dollar, I know you don't want to hear it, but the problem is most likely your price. It's very important to stay ahead of the market. If your house was put on the market and it was over-priced, you now have to catch up to what the market dictates the price should be.
If you price your home ahead of the market, you will normally receive an offer quickly. An experienced agent that keeps up with their local market should always be aware of the market’s direction. By knowing where the market is going, being familiar with the comps for your home, and what has been selling, your agent should be able to tell you where you need to price your home to get it sold.
To determine where you need to be priced, let’s take a look at “A Tale of Two Markets.” On one hand you have the market of overpriced homes, and on the other, you have the market of homes priced correctly—the 80% of homes that are overpriced, and the 20% of homes that are priced right. Which homes do you think will be getting the showings and the offers? It's very important to be in the correctly priced market, or else you’re really not in the market at all.
The next major reason a house does not sell is usually its condition. To sell your home, you need to be a responsible seller. Your home must be in the very best condition for its price.
De-clutter, clean, do the yard work, clean the carpets, do the little repairs you have been putting off, get the pet smell out of the carpet, make the kids clean up their rooms, so on and so on... Your agent can help you determine if a home stager would be helpful, and can make suggestions for adding sparkle to your home.
There may be multiple reasons why your home isn't selling; find out why, and fix it—or take it off the market.
Why did that offer come in so low?
I am sure you have heard the saying, "it's a buyers’ market." We all know that. But why did my offer come in 30, 50, or 80 thousand dollars low? Let's look at the situation through the buyer’s eyes.
Buyer: I have seen every home in my price range, all 30 of them, and I like this one. But with so many homes to choose from, I am going to throw in a low-ball offer, and see if I can get a steal of a deal. If I don't, I will just move on to one of the other homes and try a low offer there.
In today's market, many buyers aren't necessarily buying a home because they have to. They may be buying a home because of the market conditions, or what they have heard in the national news. The media has been screaming low prices all across the nation; and it’s true in some markets but not all. If you get a low-ball offer, you have two decisions to make.
First: You could reject the offer outright. There’s no negotiating, and you move on hoping for another offer.
Second: The strategy most agents recommend is to counter offer at close to the listing price. If your home is priced at market value, this should give you an idea on how serious a potential buyer is. If they raise their offer, then I would consult your agent, and see if it's worth it to negotiate. If they stand firm, you may just have to fold and take what you can get, or you can reject the offer, and wait for something else. This decision is up to you, the seller, but make sure you truly think it through.
Don't just reject an offer because you’re angry, face the facts, and take a good look at the market. You must decide how long you can really hold out, or how soon you need to move. Each situation is different, but in my professional opinion, it's not the best idea to reject a low-ball offer outright. In a buyers’ market, you are going to have to play ball to get your home sold.
Why are the buyers asking for so many concessions?
This is what I call "buyers’ market syndrome." (Yes, I just made that cute little name up!) In this market, buyers think they can take the seller on a roller coaster ride, and they frequently act accordingly. The reverse happens in a sellers’ market, when sellers refuse to budge on price and concessions.
The other, and more logical, option is to figure out exactly what is important to the buyer, which items would be a deal breaker, and just get them done. Your agent should have a good feel for what is critical to the buyer. Whether it be repairs, concessions, or your autographed American Idol picture of Simon, try to determine what will make the deal happen and then decide if it's worth the money and effort.
How do I increase my homes showing activity?
Market, market, market! Tell your friends, tell your not so much friends, tell your neighbors that don't like you, (they will definitely help you sell your home!), tell the mail man, tell the lady at the gas station, TELL EVERYONE. I AM SELLING MY HOME! Your agent is a professional marketer, or at least should be, and will do their job. (If they don't, find a new one.)
Just because you have your home on the MLS doesn't guarantee showings. It's a great tool, but you should be pro-active in the process of selling your home. I always give my sellers a brief lesson on marketing when I list their homes. It keeps them in the full time "I am selling my home" mode; and when the time comes, they’re ready. When it’s time to market your home, do it, and don't be shy about it.
This 2009 real estate market is not the same as it was last year, 2 years ago, or when you bought your home. If you want your home sold, you can't focus upon the past market, you must, at the very least, be in the current market. Better yet, be ahead of the market, and your home WILL SELL!
Lisa Udy is full-time professional real estate agent in Logan Utah. As a lifelong resident of the Cache Valley, she is expert in both the area and the local real estate market. Lisa specializes in helping buyers and sellers with all their Cache Valley Utah real estate needs. To date, she has closed over 235 transactions with sales of more than 45.9 million dollars. Her goal is to make her client’s real estate transactions as easy and stress-free as possible. For more information, visit: lisaudy.com