42 years in business.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Why Isn't That House Selling?

We hear this remakr all the time. "Something must be wrong with that house. It's been on the market for months."

In some cases, there are obvious reasons why a property has not sold- the list price started out too high, it needs things like a roof or is dated, or it is a unique property in need of a particular buyer like a home with an in-law set-up.

However, in the majority of cases at this time, houses are sitting on the market because there are fewer buyers looking to purchase a home. When the credit crisis hit and the nation saw banks and lending institutions closing left and right, the requirements for buying a house ie: good credit scores weeded out a vast majority of prospective buyers.

People with credit problems and insufficient cash to close found themselves locked out of the opportunity to get a mortgage. With banks having stricter policies to be approved for a mortgage the buyers that are able to get financing tend to be serious buyers. They are out looking at properties and they want to buy, especially to take advantage of the record low interest rates.

We have rebounded somewhat from the credit crisis. Prospective buyers from 2010 have been working on their credit and depending on how in depth their problems were, they may see resolve soon and will now be able to get financing.

But the lack of buyers is also due to the fact that people are nervous. They are anxious to make big purchases, upgrade for fear of job loss, the stock market, and other variables. We have seen an increase in activity in the Rochester market. This is a great sign not only for real estate but for the national economy. The status of the real estate market is a key indicator to our economy as a whole. If people are not purchasing properties (a very large investment) then they are probably not spending money on other things such as vacations, cars, home improvements.

There are many houses on the market right now. Buyers and sellers tend to get nervous about this. "Why are so many houses for sale?"

The answer is simple- despite a tough economy life goes on. People are downsizing due to age or personal finances, death, relocating, upgrading due to increase in family size. We are also in the "spring" market which tends to be busier because leases for apartments come up in late spring, people want to be settled in their new home for the upcoming school year, and in this part of the country we are unburied from our difficult winters.

Bottom line is that if you are looking to purchase, don't discredit a property simply because it has been for sale for what you deem a long time. Most often there is not a cut and dry explanation as to why a property has not sold. There is a buyer for every house. Maybe that cape-cod you've had your eye on for a few weeks is the one for you!

*image provided by Google images

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Expectations When Listing Your Property

The housing market in Rochester has not seen the drastic dips in property values like other places of the country. However, our home values have dropped. If you purchased your home less than 7 or even 10 years ago, it may be very difficult to get much more than you paid for it.

There are a few reasons for this. Rochester values only increased on average 3% per year. The recession has stalled those numbers and given us a stagnent market. Purchasing a property that was dilapidated and in need of some serious overhauling and getting it for way under market value may be one of the few ways to see an increase in what the market will bear at this point. Even then you have to look at the money you put into the property and weigh what allows you to list the house at a certain price. For example, putting a new roof on a home does not necessarily add value but it allows the homeowner to sell their home with less hassle. Buyers do not want to take on a previous homeowners deferred maintenance.

Determining your list price with the help of a real estate agent is the number one way to get your house sold. More and more agents are having to tell homeowners that the list price or sale price they had in mind may not be possible. Buyers determine the value of a property and one of our biggest problems right now is the lack of buyers. Many listings and few buyers mean that if a buyer thinks your house is overpriced or needs too much "work," they will move on to plenty of other potential listings for them to buy.

What to expect when listing?

Have patience.

There are some homeowners who are selling their properties rather quickly (within 2-3 weeks). But that is not the truth for the majority. This does not necessarily reflect the condition of the home but the simple fact that it is taking longer to find a buyer.

Get your home in shape.

Now more than ever homeowners need to step it up with repairs and overall appearance of the property before putting in on the market. Don't wait to get the "feedback" from buyers that the carpet is worn, the rooms need to be painted, or there is too much clutter. In a fickle market with buyer's who do not have a sense of urgency, you may only get one shot to make that first impression.

Look at the comparable sales.

What the current market is showing in terms of home sale prices and days on market will be a reflection on selling your own home. Even though each property is different, the same rules apply. The buyer has the advantage. If you list your house properly from day one, you have a better chance of getting a price closer to what your "bottom line" is and selling in fewer days or months.

Condition and price. Condition and price. The 2 most important things when selling a property.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Spring Prep

Now more than ever it is important to have your property in top-knotch condition when putting it on the market. There are many inexpensive things a homeowner can do to get their property in shape before being viewed by prospective buyers.

  • Clean the windows- for crystal clear glass sponge on then squeegee off soapy water. Use horizontal strokes on one side of the pane and vertical strokes on the other to make streaks easier to spot. Buff out small scratches with toothpaste. To remove paint specks or sticky lables, dampen and scrape off with a plastic razor blade

  • Renail gutters- If your gutters are sagging, one of the spikes that secure them to the fascia board may have come loose.

  • Deep clean the house-
Here are some surprisingly good cleaning agents: 1) Baby wipes- use fragrance free wips to eliminate dust and dirt from antique furniture without marring fine finishes 2) Ketchup- polish dusty or dull spots in a copper sink. Ketchup acts as a mild acid. Sponge clean. 3) Nail-polish remover- Erase everything from paint splotches to ink stains from laminate floors by adding a few drops of an acetone formula to a rage and spot cleaning 4) Oven cleaner- dissolve drain stains on a white enameled cast-iron tub witha coat of oven cleaner. Let sit for an hour or two and then scrub with steel wool.

  • Add to your curb appeal

Make buyers want to come inside the house. Changing the color of shutters and the front door can create a whole new look for your property. Add a wreath and welcome mat to polish off the entry. Create more depth on the facade of your house by adding window boxes and shutters.

Liven up your landscaping- Prune and trim shrubbery, remove dead or unsighlty bushes. Add a splash of color to front gardens. Hanging baskets and planters at the entry or on a patio or deck make the home seem more inviting.

These are just some examples of simple ways to make your property stand out. With a large amount of houses on the market, you want buyers to keep your home on their list and potentially come back for a second look- and make an offer!