It's simple. Price your home right and it will sell quickly and for full price. Overprice your home, it will take longer to sell and it'll sell for less than full price. In today's hot real estate market, buyers know a good home when they see it because they run out to see everything as soon as it comes up for sale. If it's priced right, a home will attract multiple offers and sell for full price or more. If it doesn't sell quickly, given the shortage of supply, it's clear a house is overpriced and will need a price reduction to attract a buyer.
Two thirds of the sellers got it right during the first quarter of the year and sold their homes quickly and for full price or more. When you price your home, position yourself to be in that two thirds that sells for full price. If you do, you'll end up walking away with more money in your pocket.
Yes, yes, yes!
You should put your Eastside-King County house on the market now and I'll tell you why:
First, here are the "market" reasons:
We have one of the lowest number of homes for sale and the highest number of sales in the last 15 years!
In October, the last month in which we have statistics, there were 1,821 homes for sale, which was 45% less than October, 2011! There were 67% fewer homes for sale than in 2008!
October had the most Eastside pending sales (1,202) of any October in the last 15 years! The average number of October sales for the has been 867 home sales, which means this October was 39% higher than the 15 year average!
With these high sales numbers, buyer demand is unusually strong for this time of year.
There are a lot of buyers out there who are jumping on homes to buy the minute they hit the market. We know because that just happened for one of our sellers. The home was gone in a matter of hours.
Because most people don't think it's a good time to put your home on the market, it's exactly the right time to do it. Most sellers will wait until after the first of the year, but there's less competition during the holidays.
Buyers are worried they won't find a good home if they wait too long. Buyers are out there and making offers to buy homes.
Homes are warm and inviting during the holidays. This is the time of year when people feel like "nesting" at home. A cozy home only supports the feeling. The holidays bring rise to all kinds of homey feelings.
Many homes can actually show better during the holidays. Homes are nicely decorated, making the home feel more warm, colorful, and personal.
If you're planning to sell your home in the next 6 months, rethink your plan and consider going on the market during the holidays. Happy Holidays! (And it that doesn't work, then get on the market early in the year!)
How do you get from “for sale” to “sold?” It’s the price! Even though the real estate market in Bellevue, Kirkland, Redmond and other eastside cities is red hot, the price is still critical to getting a “sold” sign posted on the “for sale’ sign in your front yard.
Almost half, 48%, of the homes for sale between September, 2011 and March, 2012 sold in 10 days or less! With these homes only on the market for fewer than 10 days, the homeowners and their Realtors did everything right. The homes had to be priced right, show well, have fabulous photos and great marketing or the homes would not have sold.
Seeing these incredible numbers should help blow several common misconceptions out of the water:
1. Should you leave negotiating room when you set the price for your home? NO. Some homeowners think they should leave bargaining room. This, however, will send that homeowner down a path toward a longer market time and a lower selling price. Look again at the top line of the first chart. Almost half the homes sold within 99% of asking price and in under 10 days. With sales prices coming in at 99% of the asking price, there was little bargaining in the final sales price.
2. What if you want to price your home high because you’re in no rush to sell? A homeowner who overprices a home will shoot themselves in the foot. Let’s say a buyer is out searching to buy a home and sees 5 homes. The buyer will compare each one’s price, location, and features. They don’t compare whether a seller is a rush to sell or has all the time in the world. The buyer won’t know that. The buyer will only know that when comparing the homes, the overpriced home will stand out. Most buyers don’t bother to make an offer because there are 4 other homes that are more attractive and priced right. There’s no need to waste time pursuing an overpriced home because, even though the supply is low, there are other homes on the market. If today’s market pricing doesn’t meet a homeowner’s needs, then don’t put the home on the market.
3. Were these homes underpriced, because they sold so quickly? No. In today’s real estate market, we’re dealing with very savvy buyers. They know the market and they know pricing. They know when they see a home that’s well priced and they’ll pay for it. The buyers don’t have time to waste. The good homes are going fast. Secondly, does anyone really think that half of the homes that sold in the last 6 months were underpriced? I don’t think so!
The other 52% of the homes took 149 days to sell and sold with an average of a 10% discount. If you look at the second chart, you can see for every 30 day period a home is on the market, the selling price drops. Homes that were on market for a long time were the homes in which sellers could bargain with the buyers, but it usually meant the price dropped. Buyers think a home is overpriced or there’s something wrong with it if the house is on the market for more than a month in this market.
If you decide to sell your home, you’ll need to decide in which half of the market you’d like to be. Do you want to be in the market in which your home could sell quickly and for a good price or do you want to test the waters, take your time, and more than likely sell for less? It’s your decision.
There are a million stories in Seattle about great remodeling projects that increase the livability and value of a home. I’ve written a few myself over the years.
Rarely does anyone write about what you should NOT do when remodeling a home. One caveat here, what plays in Peoria does not necessarily play in Seattle, Bellevue or Redmond. Every area of the country has different styles, so remodeling trends will vary according to the region of the country. So if you live in the eastern suburbs of Seattle, such as Bellevue, Redmond and Kirkland, this post is for you!
This post was inspired by an email I received from George Rinehart of Rinehart Inspections. We’ve added to his list because of some remodeling mistakes we’ve seen in homes over the years. Unfortunately, we’ve had to tell some sellers their homes may be worth less because of a remodeling mistake.
Here are the top ten remodeling mistakes:
- Eliminating the garage.
- Eliminating one bay or a 1/2 bay of a two car garage.
- Adding a sunroom.
- Taking out all the grass in your yard.
- Taking down a fence that encloses the backyard.
- Reducing the number of bedrooms by enlarging one or turning one into a closet.
- Installing different color carpets throughout the house.
- Eliminating windows.
- Taking out a bathroom to increase another room’s size.
- Eliminating a laundry room and moving it to the garage.
The elimination of a garage to increase living space is a perfect example of a remodeling mistake. Not having a garage can easily be a $25,000-$30,000 reduction in the asking price for a home. Even with the price reduction, many buyers won’t even look at a home without a garage. Not having the garage keeps many buyers from walking through the front door. A laundry room is another thing most people want, so to eliminate one to increase space for something else is usually not a good idea.
Ultimately, every home is salable for a price, but some of the changes listed can be expensive, not only for the cost to do the remodel, but also in market time and the ultimate sales price for a home. Many of the above changes may work for you as an individual or family, but not for the next home owner.
There are other costly remodeling mistakes. Can you think of any others that could “cost” a home owner dollars when selling their home?
Brooks and I just sold a home in Redmond which had multiple offers. A contract was in hand, when the very next day I received phone calls from both an agent and a prospective buyer who wanted to see the home. They were a day late. It was gone. It was sold.
Here on the eastside, the market is doing well for the good homes, but not for all homes. These are the homes that are the best of the competition in terms of price, condition, style, floor plan and location.
One reason why the good homes are selling with multiple offers:
Less than 9000 properties are for sale in King County, for the first time in years. Supply is dwindling fast. If you compare the number of homes for sale with this time last year, 3000 fewer homes are on the market. As the year heads to a close, more sellers will take their homes off the market.
I expect to see December and January be good markets for sellers because of the decrease in competition. Quality homes will go fast, and possibly with multiple offers.
Does this mean it’s a bad market for buyers? No, there are still a lot of good homes for sale. Plus, it’s the most affordable market we’ve had in the Seattle area 17 years. With the lower interest rates, a mortgage is starting to rival rental costs.
So if you snooze, you can lose. Do you homework. Determine what’s most important to you. Is it the location, is it the good floor plan or a combination of many factors? Know the prices of homes in the area. Learn what’s selling and for what price. Know your wants and needs, study the market by visiting homes, and learn what sells well in the area.
If you do all these things. You won’t snooze and lose. You’ll know which homes work best for you and which are the best values. You can then jump in and buy a good home and not lose.
Selling your home? Wait until the last minute to set the price, and I mean the last minute.
Why would you do that? Because real estate prices can be a moving target. What worked a month or even a week or a day ago may not be the right price for your home.
When home sellers call me months before they plan to sell, I always give a price range rather than an exact price for their home. I tell sellers they’ll need to wait to measure the real estate market right before the home goes on the market.
Again, why should you hold off until the last minute?
Because if your home is not the best value, you’ll help to sell the other homes. Or you could be leaving money on the table, even in this market.
So here’s what needs to happen. Before pricing a home for sale, I look at it when it’s completely ready for the market. I look at the home as if I were a buyer. I’ve also got to know the competition the very day your home goes on the market. The buyer will know the competition, and probably will have seen it, so I’ve got to do the same thing. I’ll visit the other homes, looking at them, too, as if I were a buyer, and then compare them to your home.
You might be able to ask a higher price if your home shows better than the competition. Or maybe there are more homes competing with your home, so you need to be at a better price. The price you ask for your home when you head out of the starting gate is critical, so get the price right and wait to set your asking price just before you go for sale.
What do you think?