Friday, November 18, 2005

Year end buying & selling.

Regular readers are well aware of the holiday slowdown. And anybody who has tried to buy or sell during this time, knows it well.

This can be a great time to buy or sell though. If you are selling a home, consider – Decorations, images of family, joy, and, love are excellent marketing tools. The emotions these things invoke are impossible to duplicate with even the best salesmanship. Part of buying a home is imagining your future there. What better way than to see yourself as you do the family down the street sitting for an elegant holiday meal, or whole families helping to decorate?

One seller’s tip though, make sure your agent knows your holiday schedule and pick convenient times (for you) to go over sales business. You don’t want to be signing papers while stuffing turkeys.

If you’re a buyer, ask your buyer’s agent to look for property that has been on the market for a while. These properties if still listed during the holidays may have very eager sellers who want to get an escrow open before shipping off to Aunt Effie’s.

A tip for both buyers and sellers, don’t be discouraged if you begin to feel things aren’t moving quickly enough during this time. Getting in now will save you a great deal of headache and money, instead of waiting for things to pick up in spring.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Determining the Price of Your Home


     Why is it that some homes sit on the market for a year while others sell like hot cakes?  Frustrated sellers will blame a bad market, while a good real estate professional will tell you that many times, a slow sale is often attributed to the listing price.
     If a home is overpriced, buyers will stay away.  But, if the price is competitive with similar homes in the area and “shows” better than the competition, it will have a better chance of being sold quickly.
     The secret is perfecting a technique that’s as American as apple pie: comparative shopping.
     Although comparing houses with different styles, square-footages and locations is challenging, real estate professionals still feel it’s one of the best methods to use when determining a home’s market value.
     A responsible real estate agent will effectively evaluate a home’s worth through a process known as Competitive Marketing Analysis (CMA).  Taking a look at assets, such as a swimming pool, bigger than normal living spaces, a fantastic view, adjacent city parks and other attractions, the agent will begin to compare your home with similar properties, called “comparables,” that have sold in the area within the last six months.  Typically, the agent is able to recommend a realistic price range that will ensure you top dollar and a reasonably
     However, factors such as the amount of time needed to sell your home can alter the agent’s price recommendation dramatically.
Typically, people should check with real estate agents in the community to determine the typical duration that listings are on the market.  Sales associates will explain that the marketing “norms” vary with prices and properties.  Based on this criteria, the agent feels confident that he or she will be able to sell it for a price that both you and the buyer will be happy with.  However, if you’re under time constraints because of unexpected job changes or moving agreements you’ve made on another property, this will narrow your chances of selling the home for top dollar in the market.
     Assuming you have sufficient time to market the home, here are a few small steps you and your agent can take to finding the right price for your property.
     The best comparisons can be made with similar homes that have been sold within the last 45 days as opposed to the standard six months.  Any longer and other factors, such as the economy, could cloud your view of how much your home is really worth.
     Another good benchmark is to review the selling prices of homes that have just been sold and are pending closes.  Most MLS services provide information on deals pending that most real estate agents should be able to shore with you.
     A good rule of thumb before setting a price is to make 20 comparisons of comparable properties within a one-mile radius of your house.  Once completed you can feel comfortable that the price you’ve picked is a good gauge of the home’s worth and won’t discourage qualified buyers.
     Being open and honest about what you see as the home’s greatest strengths and biggest weaknesses will also help an agent get a better feel for how to best evaluate (or assess) and market your home.  Think of your home as if you were the buyer.  If your home is listed at the right price, you’re well on your way to a speedy and fruitful sale.
John Wall is a sales associate with Century 21 Results, and serves all communities in Long Beach and surrounding cities. He can be contacted via e-mail at or phone at 562-531-7000.
(Note Published November 21, 2004, Long Beach Press-Telegram)