Are you a current seller who feels that your home has been on the market longer than you ever expected? Perhaps it is time to rethink your selling strategy and spend some time with your listing agent discussing the situation and possible changes to increase the salability of your property. Before we look at some factors that contribute to the length of time that a home might end up being listed for sale, let’s first visit the overall Real Estate market and how it has changed in the past 10+ months.
The early part of 2017 saw record high selling prices. Why was that? Simple economics of supply and demand. The inventory was extremely low and the buyer “pool” was very full. Stated another way – there were very few houses for sale in a market where there was a large volume of buyers looking to purchase. This resulted in most sales having multiple offers and what tends to be referred to as “bidding wars.” For every house available, there were 40 or more buyers who were willing to fight to obtain that property. The situation lasted until Easter weekend when the “wave” crashed. Some sellers thought that they could still make a huge profit by dressing up their homes and putting them on the market – but they were too late by then. At the same time, buyers decided they weren’t going to fight anymore. Some buyers started looking outside of Durham Region and the GTA while others entered into lease agreements to put off purchasing for a year or more. Result? – Total reversal of the market. Now we find that we have a surplus of houses for sale and fewer people who are looking to purchase. Buyers have the luxury of choice now and don’t need to scramble for a home. You need to make sure you are positioned to be on the list of their choices.
Is Your House Priced Right For Today's Market?
Listing price should always be determined by the current market situation. As we’ve all heard before, “something is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it.” You should not be listing your home for a price that greatly exceeds what similar homes have recently sold for in your area. There are still homeowners who believe that they can ride the “wave” that no longer exists and will put a highly inflated price on their house. The surf is out, the wave is gone, and the market has changed!
Price is usually the number ONE reason that a house is sitting on the market for too long. The longer it sits, the worse it will get. Your listing will either become “stale” and all traffic for showings will stop or you will be forced to do a price reduction if you are determined to sell. Work closely with your listing agent when you are initially setting a purchase price for your house. Your agent should be using data from comparable homes that have sold in the past 30 days (60 days at the most). Pricing to sell in this manner ensures that buyers are willing to purchase because the historical sold data supports this position. Be realistic with your initial price and you are likely to be successful.
Location is also one of the primary factors that play a key role in trying to sell your home. Location is not something that you can change, so you need to be sure that the listing price is reflective of your property’s location. If you live near a city center, close to schools, near a number of popular amenities (such as shopping and movie theatres), medical facilities, golf course, etc. then you have a much higher chance of selling at a price that is acceptable to you. However, if you live on a very busy street or a significant distance to any amenities, you and your listing agent need to take that into account when looking at the comparable data and setting a realistic purchase price.
You need to give great consideration to the overall condition of your home before putting the house on the market. Make sure that your house is in a saleable condition, and that a new buyer won’t be faced with having to replace a furnace, air conditioning or other major components. Ensuring that primary items are already in great shape will allow you to price at a higher level than if you leave these things for a new buyer to handle. The majority of buyers want a move-in ready home. You can always leave the house in “as is” condition knowing that repairs will be needed, but you will have to price accordingly. The condition of your home, when seen through the eyes of a potential buyer, is not limited to the exterior of the actual building or the interior of the layout. What is known as “curb appeal” is a huge part of what makes up the overall impression of the property. If the landscaping is overgrown and unsightly or the driveway is full of pot holes and cracks, that’s enough for people to just drive by the “For Sale” sign and not bother to follow up with an agent. The outside of your home should be a reflection of what awaits the buyer when they enter the premises.
Right price, good location and move-in ready condition will almost always get a house sold in a realistic amount of time.
*Not intended to solicit clients currently under contract*