by Todd Lewys
Depending on where you sit in today’s balanced real estate market, choice is either a good or bad thing.
From a buyer’s perspective, having plenty of inventory to choose from means you don’t have to rush into buying a home.
At the other end of the spectrum are sellers, who may wait weeks or even months before their home sells.
According to REALTOR® David De Leeuw, the key to selling a home in short order is, in a word, value.
“In today’s balanced market, sellers have to do whatever possible to maximize the value of their home,” he said. “That means the home has to be priced right, and presented properly. In that sense, if anything in or around a home needs doing, it has to be taken into account.
“Today’s buyers are going in with calculators, and are taking every little thing into account. If a home’s price doesn’t make sense, it will sit,” De Leeuw added.
REALTOR® Jeff Stern agreed.
“These days, it’s a simple fact that the best homes will garner attention and sell,” he explained. “Several years back when inventory was much lower, we used to sell grow ops. That’s not happening now.
“With over 1,100 listings out there now, there’s a lot of choice. As a result, buyers have to be more realistic about the competition out there.”
While more homes are being priced realistically, it still appears many sellers need a reality check, he added.
“I recently met with a buyer who wanted me to evaluate his home,” said Stern. “When I told him what I thought his home was worth, he said, ‘No, the home is worth $20,000 to $30,000 more than that.’”
Without missing a beat, Stern quickly hit the prospective seller with some hard facts.
“I told him the homes he was comparing his to — bungalows — that weren’t like his, and bungalows typically sell for more than multi-storey homes.
Of course, he didn’t like that. But the reality is you have to price your home right now because there’s so much competition, especially in the $230,000 to $280,000 range, where a lot of buyers are looking.”
He added that the need to price homes realistically still hasn’t been driven home.
“In the past week, there were 101 sales, nine homes went back on the market, and there were 153 brand new listings. Of the 1,100-plus properties on the market, 61 of them had price changes.
“I think that shows that pricing a home properly is critically important. If you don’t in today’s balanced market, the home won’t sell,” he emphasized.
De Leeuw concurred, saying that today’s home buyers are more knowledgeable than ever.
“They’re so much more sophisticated now,” he said. “They know about the end product they want to live in, and are more aware of the level upgrades that either do, or don’t dictate the price of a home.
“The bottom line is that if people can walk into a home and see the value — that the upgrades are of good quality and have been done with care — then a home will sell. But they first have to see that pride of ownership, and feel like they’re getting good value.”
Stern said the only way for both parties to see that value is to depend on what their REALTOR® tells them.
“Both buyers and sellers have to listen to us,” he said. “We see homes day-in, day-out, and know which homes represent good value and which homes don’t.
“If a seller prices and prepares their home properly, we’ll see that value and advise our client that a home is a good buy for the price it’s listed at,” Stern added.
“Sellers have to remember that buyers see their property as a house, not a home. But if they see that home is the best on the market in their price range, they will make an offer.”
De Leeuw said with homes that sell quickly, that value will be obvious.
“There will continue to be certain homes that sell at list or for over list, but those will be the homes that are well-priced and that offer value — i.e., that they’re move-in-ready — for the price. The key is that homes have to be priced realistically, so as to reflect that value.
“The onus is on agents to price homes realistically, and for their clients to listen to them. If they do, their home will sell,” De Leeuw explained.