As good or as bad as it may be at any given time, one simple truism always defines the real estate market: It is what it is. Not what it was. Ignore this very basic axiom at your own risk.
What the market is as we pass the midway point of 2009 is an uncommonly robust buyers’ market. That means if your goal is to sell your home within any sort of reasonable time frame, buyers must first detect real value when comparing yours against similar properties.
Four and five years ago, exactly the reverse was true. Sellers were in total command of the market. Inventory was low, demand was uncommonly high and prices soared as a result. Sellers simply had to price their homes in line with recent sales and they would find buyers within days, if not hours. Frequently they would net more for the property than its original list price when interest among competing buyers erupted – as it so often did – into bidding wars. Would-be buyers simply had no other choice than to yield to sellers; or stay on the sidelines.
If your home fails to stack up pricewise with others in its competitive class it will end up as lonely and forlorn as TV’s Mayag repairman. Buyers have too many homes to consider without having to spend time visiting overpriced listings. If they do happen to preview an overpriced home, it only confirms in their minds what great deals can be had elsewhere.
Happily, as trends in recent sales indicate – mine included – if the price is right the buyers are there. That’s why having the best possible presentation for your home has never been more critical. Beyond helping you establish its correct price – a meticulous process, at best, involving major input from multiple sources – it is the agent’s duty to make sure your home is exposed to the most potential buyers. With eight out of ten buyers now starting their home search on the Internet, you need to be represented by an agent steeped in both the traditional forms of property marketing and the latest techniques on online marketing.
Throughout my career my success on behalf of my customers has largely been predicated on the fact that I have always advocated pricing a home exactly in line with what the market will bear at precisely the moment it is listed. That way you sell faster, get a better price and don’t waste precious time or money “testing the market”; or worse, chase the market down with sporadic price reductions as prices decline further.
Next, I put my years of traditional marketing experience to work while tapping into the worldwide affiliations and technical resources of a real estate company that brings more buyers into this market than any other.
I cite here two recent examples where clients of mine priced their homes with absolute accuracy – based on recent comparable sales – and found buyers within weeks. Originally priced at $1.735 million my listing on North Washington Drive on St. Armands Key sold in four weeks for $1.5 million. Likewise, another listing in the Emerald Harbor section of Longboa Key has gone to contract in just five weeks for a price very close to its
original offering price of $1.495 million. In 2005 both of these properties would have been worth in excess of $2 million, but their sellers very wisely chose not to cling to boom-time prices that no longer apply.
While overall unit sales have gone up dramatically in recent months – especially in the under $300,000 price range – the bloated inventory of unsold properties in the upper price ranges will continue to exert downwaard pressure on prices. Until the bottom is reached and the market curves upward again, as it most assuredly will, the most aggressively priced homes in each price range will be the first to sell.
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Pricing Isn't Everything - It's The Only Thing