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Monday, July 7, 2008

Selling a house fast is still possible...

The fastest sale that I’ve ever personally made was a house that was only on the market for 7 days. Some houses sell in as little as one or two days, even in today’s market. Why is that?

In the down market that we find ourselves in these days, price is king and trumps everything but location and location doesn’t win by that much, assuming that the house wasn’t built under and overpass on a busy interstate highway I’ve actually seen a few houses that somehow got trapped between the east and west lanes of a busy Interstate and a north-south interchange. Imagine trying to sell them. What where those people thinking when they turned down the offer to buy them out so the highway could be built?

Anyway, if a house is priced right for the market AND it has some appeal to a specific buyer group - whether it is a lakefront property , or a horse property or a log cabin property or some other unique property – it can sell quickly. You have to have a little luck. There has to be someone in the unique groups of buyers who appreciate the property who is looking at the time that you put it on the market. Bring those circumstances together and you can get a quick sale.

So, why don’t more homes sell quickly? Well, let me give you this scenario. I get a call from someone who says that they want to sell their house. I make an appointment and go over and look at the house, mainly to access it’s current condition. Based upon my visit and the market data that I can research from the MLS on recent sales of similar houses, I go back and recommend a listing price of between $250-275,000 and I give them my marketing plan for the house. Great plan they say and we’d like to list with you. We’d like to start at $350,000 for the house, because our uncle George knows a guy who has a house like ours and he sold it for $350,000 2 years ago. Sounds ridiculous? It happens all the time.

For a while, I, like most other Realtors, was whoring myself by agreeing to list the place for the ridiculous price that the owner wanted; because, I thought, “Well, I can talk them down to a reasonable price later.” It just doesn’t play out that way. What really happens is that you end up chasing the market down, always behind the market, always a bit too high, always the bridesmaid and never the bride. I’ve stopped doing that. If a potential seller won’t get at least close to what I recommend as a reasonable market price, I won’t take the listing. It’s just doesn’t make sense in this market.

So, yes, your house can still sell fast – in a month or less – but not at the price that you may want or have in mind. Take your Realtor’s advice and price to the market. If your house has no specific features that would make it stand out; then, make it stand out by being the best (condition, clutter and cleanliness) house that buyers will see at that price. Believe me; it does make an impression and a difference.

Lots of people are out buying houses right now. If they aren’t visiting your house; or, they visit, but don’t make any offers, you are likely priced too high. You can protest all that you want that you are priced as low as you can go. Quite honestly the market just doesn’t care. Buyers don’t hear your boo-hooing. They don’t care what you owe. They don’t care that you might have to bring money to the table to close. All they care about is what homes that are similar to yours have sold for recently. They will make you a “market offer” for your house. Take it or leave it; but at least believe it. That’s what the current market says your house is worth.

So you can sell it fast or you can sell it last. It’s really up to you.

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