What Does it Take to Sell a House These days??

I really think the toughest part of being a realtor is keeping up with the market.  No, I don’t really mean knowing all the statistics, average days on market, etc………Those things are about the recent past.  What I mean is what is happening right now and what am I going to do in response.

 Here are a few observations of mine since the tax credits expired:

1)  Everybody wants to buy a house for LESS than what the recent sold comps show the value of a house to be.  Even as recently as 6 months ago, buyers were satisfied to pay anywhere in the range of value that the comps supported.  Now, they want it under the lowest number in that range.  I recently had an offer where the buyer’s agent and I both agreed that the house was worth $125-130k.  The buyer wouldn’t come up past $123k.  I mean, here she has her own realtor telling her the house is worth at least $125k??? (Of course, if they start getting these prices, it will be the new market value.)

2)  Buyers are the pickiest they have ever been.  I don’t mean this in a bad way…..just stating a fact.  With all the staging that has taken place over the past few years, buyers have gotten use to seeing some eye candy when they come to see a house.  They don’t want to do anything either.  Has to  be move-in ready or else they start subtracting dollars off the asking price.  I think some of that is just that buyer’s want to preserve any cash they have these days, so they no longer seem willing to do things like finish a basement, remodel anything, or replace flooring.

3)  The low ball offer is the new norm.  Even if a buyer is planning on paying a fair price, they all want to feel the seller out for his lowest number.  I tell sellers just to expect it these days and try to dance with the buyer until the music stops…..sometimes they will come up to a fair price.

What is a seller to do about all this?  Well, as always, I am encouraging my sellers to price their house right, but also to make any improvements needed to get somebody to fall in love with their house.  Sure, I’ve always been big on getting the house ready to sell….making minor tweaks to make it show better.  But now, I am encouraging my folks to paint, replace any worn flooring, update anything that needs updating, etc.  Why go through all that?  Because……….if you can get a buyer to have an emotional reaction to your house, they lose some power in the deal.  If you can make your house the best one in its price range/neighborhood, I mean make it where they hear angels singing when they open the door, they really want your house.  At that point they quit thinking logically and start making decisions with their feelings……and THAT is THE best way to overcome the 3 items above that you just read.

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