Are you trying to sell your house, but not getting any activity? No calls, no showing, no offers? Well, you aren’t alone. There are over 1700 houses listed for sale in Bay County as I write this, and only about 90 are selling per month. At that rate of sales, it would take a year and a half for everything to sell, IF nothing else came on the market! What that means is that the few qualified buyers out there have a LOT of houses to choose from.
Pity the poor Realtors. I talked to one Realtor recently that has shown a potential buyer over 50 houses, and the buyer had yet to make an offer. Fifty! Can you imagine the amount of time, energy, and gas money that poor Realtor had invested in this buyer? If that buyer finally makes an offer and buys a house, I wonder if the Realtor’s commission will be enough to compensate him for the expenses he has taken on with this customer. It’s a hard time to be a Realtor.
But back to you, the house seller. If a buyer has all these houses to choose from, how do you entice them to buy your house? There are lots of things you could do…stage it, offer closing cost incentives, throw in a new flat screen…but your most powerful weapon is price.
There is an old saying the retail business. “Mark it down and move it out”. That principal works in real estate as well. If you aren’t getting offers, you are overpriced, pure and simple. Mark it down.
How fast do you want to sell?
Every property as a price at which it will sell fast. If you are not in a hurry, you can price a property at “retail”, then go on vacation. But if you have a “selling deadline”, you have to make your price stand out among all those other houses for sale. A wise old Realtor once told me “There is a price that will sell a house in a year, a price that will sell it in 6 months, a price that will sell it in 30 days, and price that will sell it today. All those prices are different”. He was right. Even in today’s slow market, a house will hit the market that will sell in a day or two. Sometimes they even sell for a little more than they were listed for. That’s because the owner “Priced to Sell”.
How low to go?
So how do you know what price will sell your house fast? It’s an inexact science, and you really don’t know until you put it out in the market, but here are some tips:
The Internet is full of house valuation websites. Zillow.com, realestate.yahoo.com, and others will let you enter your address and give you info on other sales in your area. But keep in mind that these sites are somewhat limited, so don’t take their values as gospel.
Call a Realtor. Or Two.
A good Realtor can be a real asset. Most Realtors will be happy to give you a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) for free. They will do it for free because they hope to get the listing on your house! When you get a CMA, you are getting the opinion of someone who is in the marketplace every day, and has a good handle on what is happening. It’s good information. Consider asking the Realtor to give you two different prices…a “retail” price and a “quick sale” price. TIP: If you notice that one specific Realtor (the PERSON, not the company) has a lot of signs in your neighborhood, chances are they specialise in your area. Call them.
I specialize in quick sales. I have been buying houses in Bay County since 1989, both for rentals and for resales, so I have my finger on the pulse of the market. I don’t buy from every seller that I talk to, but I do try to help every seller that I talk to. I can often give you a rough idea of “quick sale” value in a short phone conversation. You can reach me in Panama City at 387-4257.