“It’s the sluggish economy.”Â That’s what I hear a number of Sellers say when their home fails to sell here in Shelby county.Â It’s an easy explanation to fall back on.Â But is it accurate?Â Many more times than not, the answer is no.
If everyone in the Birmingham area deciding to sell completed a simple one page question sheet with two answers, it would really help determine, up front, whether their home is going to sell successfully, and whether it sells sooner, rather than later.
Here’s what the question sheet would look like:
It’s amazing how many folks have to learn this most basic rule of real estate.Â If you don’t know it, not to worry … you will learn it when you try to sell.
If you choose to make your home as attractive as it can be (yes, that can take some work for many owners), and if you commit to setting a price that piques the interest of potential Buyers, you’re automatically positioning yourself to sell sooner, rather than later.Â You’re leading the market.Â How do you know if you’re doing this?
By gauging response.Â Response is everything.
In the current economic climate, if you get an Offer on your property within 30-45 days of putting it up for sale, you’re doing well.
In the area extending from Hoover in north Shelby county across Pelham, Helena, Alabaster and south into Chelsea, Calera and Montevallo, 2,286 homes are listed for sale at the moment, according to the Birmingham Multiple Listing System.Â With all this available inventory, Sellers have competition.
As a Seller, you must make your home enticing to potential Buyers, price-wise and appearance-wise.Â If they find it tempting, you will no doubt find yourself signing a Sales Contract soon.
But what if your home has been on the market for, say, a couple of months or more, and hardly anyone has even looked inside?Â What if you’ve not yet had a single offer?Â The response you’re getting—or lack of it—is the market speaking to you.
Many Sellers may wind up not liking what they hear.Â Oh, don’t get me wrong.Â Sometimes I don’t like what I hear a lot when I listen to the market, either.Â But, like it or not, it’s valuable input.
The sooner we accept what the market is telling us and adjust accordingly, the sooner we’re likely to see a successful sale.Â And if that’s been our goal all along, why prolong getting there?
We know Sellers who, in essence, checked the ‘Lead the Market’ box.Â We know this because they got their property sold successfully, and without being on the market a particularly long time.
We also know Sellers who choose the ‘Chase the Market’ option.Â They do this by pricing their home higher than is recommended.Â Some neglect to take the steps suggested to make their property aesthetically pleasing.
Market chasers pay a price for their decisions.Â They may believe they’re going to get closer to their asking price when an Offer finally does come in, but this often doesn’t happen.Â Market chasers can expect to have their property remain for sale with few showings for a long time—other homes will no doubt come on the market and likely get Offers and possibly sell before theirs even gets a nibble.
Some market chasers won’t see their homes sell, at all.
In short, Sellers who say they want to sell, but who are actually market chasers, need to be prepared for frustration.
Which box would you check?
So, you have to knock the price way, way down to get your home sold? Not always. While price is certainly important when it comes to getting your home sold, it’s not the only way to achieve a successful sale.
Ever heard of a buy-down? Lots of people have, but not everyone understands it. It’s not as complicated as you might think.
A buy-down could be the ticket to getting a home sold in a deal that’s better for the seller and the buyer.
K. C. Haririan, a Loan Officer with First Federal Mortgage in Birmingham, is here to explain how buy-downs work.
So, how is the Shelby Co. and Birmingham home market looking as we forge ahead into 2009? We’ll share our thoughts and observations–and we’ll see if Fisbo, our very spoiled five pound poodle, barks during our recording session.
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David, Colleen and Fisbo