By Kay Wilson-Bolton
May 2, 2007
Since the season of rapid real estate is behind us, surviving REALTORS® know that selling real estate requires work—and strategic thinking.
While each of us has our own way of looking at things, here are some strategies that seem to be working.
If you plan to sell your home, study the competition before you price it. Don’t think that asking “a little more” will give you a chance to negotiate. In today’s market, asking a little more will keep you from getting an offer.
There are always exceptions. These would be those homes that are detailed to the max or unique to the competition for some specific reason.
Picking that “right price” usually means that you are just at, or slightly below, recent sales.
If you are planning to buy another home, your current home should be listed before you make any offers. Sellers are reluctant to accept contingency offers when the buyers’ has not begun the efforts to get their home on the market.
One favorable aspect of lower prices is that the home you buy will also be lower, thereby requiring a lower property tax payment.
Some homeowners price their homes at unrealistic prices because of the amount they owe. There are two rules in real estate that apply in any market. The value of your home is not determined by what you owe or what you want to buy.
Before any buyer contemplates selling their home on a “short pay” basis, where the bank accepts less than the amount owed to save the costs of foreclosure, they must consult a tax expert. It is possible that foreclosure is better because the debt relief is considered to be ordinary income and income tax will be due on that amount.
Price adjustments should be considered after 30 days, always in light of what the competition is doing. Staying ahead of the market is better than trailing it.
Any offer should be accompanied by a lender’s approval letter. This is not a statement of hope. It should be a statement of fact that based on buyers credit scores and income, they are qualified to purchase in a particular price range. Any letter that states less than that has no value and should not be relied upon by anyone—even the buyer.
A recent REALTOR® strategy included placing a home into the MLS stating that the home could not be seen “under any circumstances” until 10 days out because of upgrades and staging efforts. This can be problematic for the agent if the home is reported “in escrow” before the date of first showing, and the selling agent is also the listing agent.
Owners still think that granting a listing to a REALTOR® under an “office exclusive” basis for a lower commission is a good thing. Eliminating the REALTOR® community from selling any home is not a good thing.
In this market, sellers need the real estate community working towards a common goal, and that is to sell real estate.
Next to the Internet, REALTORS® are the number one source of buyers!
Kay Wilson-Bolton is the owner of CENTURY 21 Buena Vista and CENTURY 21 Ability. She brings a regional perspective to local issues. She can be reached at 805.340.5025. Her website is http://www.readysetkay.com