Today’s real estate market is something of an enigma.
On the one hand, sales are on par with 2014. However, while the numbers are good, there are far more listings to choose from than there were two or three years ago. Consequently, while some homes are selling, others are not.
As a result, many sellers have been left scratching their heads, wondering why a home down the street from them sold, while theirs didn’t receive any bids on offer day.
While there’s never a simple answer to why one home sold and another didn’t, there certainly are factors that can prevent a home from selling in short order. Not surprisingly, the No. 1 factor is price, said REALTOR® Ron Tardiff.
“Getting a home’s price right is absolutely critical in today’s competitive market,” he said. “A home has to be priced right, or it could sit on the market for a very long time.”
Realtor Jennifer Queen concurred, saying, “I tell my clients that if they price their homes properly right from the outset, it will sell. When clients do listen, their homes tend to sell in a month or less.”
And if sellers don’t choose to listen?
“If you price your home too high at the outset, you could miss your window of opportunity,” warned Realtor Carly Kuppers. “Generally, you have about two weeks. If you don’t generate interest during that time period, your home could sit there forever. Price ultimately sells your home, so listening to your agent is incredibly important.”
Tardiff added that sellers have to base prices on how today’s real estate market is working, not how it was working three years, a year or even three months ago.
“Three years ago, there was less supply and buyers had less to choose from, and less time to shop around. Even a year ago, there was less supply. With so many more homes to choose from in today’s market, you have to forget about what Bob down the street sold his home for a year or two ago. It’s not worth that now. You have to price your home accurately for it to sell in today’s more competitive market.”
In other words, it’s imperative to be realistic.
“Real estate can be boiled down to three simple factors — price, location and condition,” said Tardiff. “If your home is in a busier location than other comparable homes, you can’t expect premium dollars for yours. You can change price and condition, but not location.”
Queen added that sellers are also guilty of refusing to work with low offers.
“So many sellers these days aren’t ready to negotiate when they get a low offer. Because they somehow think the market is still like it was a few years ago, they’re expecting strong offers. When they get a low-ball offer, they don’t know how to react to it. It’s a shock, and in many cases, they just reject it right away and lose the potential for a sale.”
Kuppers added that homes must also be marketed properly to make them attractive to prospective buyers.
“For example, if you have horrible photos online, people will just skip over them. You have to make sure your Realtor is committed to marketing your home properly. That means good photos, a virtual tour, and good descriptions of the property and neighbourhood.”
“The reality is that a lot of showings are generated by what buyers see online,” said Queen. “And a home needs to be marketed online and in print. You have to get the home in front of people, and show them why it’s the right home for them.”
Kuppers said that a poorly-presented home can also short-circuit buyers’ interest in a hurry.
“A home needs to be ready when it’s time to show it,” said Kuppers. “If it isn’t clean and organized, people will dismiss it. The same thing applies if there are areas of a home that clearly need work. If something needs attention, do it, or get someone to take care of it if you can’t.
“And don’t leave your home empty. When a home is staged with furniture, buyers can visualize living in it more easily.”
The key to selling a home is a simple one, concluded Queen.
“Sellers need to listen to us. REALTORS have their finger on the market’s pulse because they deal with it every day. Trust us to price your home right and market it properly, and your home will sell in weeks, not months.”