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Archive for February, 2010

The following is an email exchange between a client and me this morning.  It seems that so much of what we are doing as realtors these days is anything but routine, and every email, telephone call, market analysis, etc., seems to have so much more riding on it than in the past.  Not to say that your RE investment was less important back when, but bottom lines and the frenzy associated with buying and selling seems to have become normalized.  It’s anyone’s guess what is going to happen when the cast comes off this broken leg of a market on April 30th.  Currently, this business is short on joy and long on anxiety for all involved.  As always, though, there is a market (I closed just under 40 units last year), and you need to be following a plan, which includes working with honest, forthright and intelligent professionals, understanding your market area, and being objective/realistic about your personal home that you want to sell.  And PLEASE don’t shoot the messenger.

 Names have been changed for privacy

 Dear Joe:

Busy working on the house. Xxxx xxxxxx is to come next Monday to do some of the repairs. Hopefully xxxx will be here next week or week after to get the high painting done. xxxx’s been working on the main living area, and it looks a lot better. Meanwhile, we’re throwing things away!

 Got the official offer for the job, and awaiting the paper from personnel. Moving along.

We noticed today two houses newly listed on our street. Your agency has 1234 Xxxx Drive listed (next house down from us) now. Xxxx Real Estate has a house up at the top of the street that was listed for a while last fall. Can you look those up and see the details?

I’d like to have some of the work done before we have you back out so you can give us more feedback at that point on what needs still to be done. We can sign paperwork whenever you want.

Xxx

—————————

Hi Xxx.

 I kind of thought you would get the job you were going after.  Congratulations! 

I will send you an email from our local MLS, and it will contain a link to the information and “slide shows” for all the listings, old and new, in your neighborhood.  This should catch you up on what is on the market there.  I am beginning to see what I predicted earlier in the winter: an earlier buying season is rocking and rolling already (busier by the day), and lots of much nicer product for buyers to choose from compared to last year is hitting market as proud homeowners, who refused to be insulted by low offers last year, are now going ahead with listing this year out of necessity, desire, willingness to sell for less since there is a repeat buyer tax credit, etc.  I would definitely shoot for a March 1st listing date, giving you two months to expose the house to the Pre-Tax-Credit Expiration Buying Rush ending April 30th. 

Average days on market in the ATH area is about 180 days, believe it or not, so initial pricing is rapidly becoming hyper-critical.

Many sellers start high to “test” the market, something I encourage in many case, but I do not know if that wisdom applies to this current market.  I understand the concept of not wanting to give money away, but the risk/reward component can’t be ignored at this point.  Starting lower than the “top end” makes sellers fear that would just result in a lower offer, which it will, but you do not have to accept it.  A lower starting price truly merely changes your negotiating strategy when an offer does come in.  You don’t have that extra wiggle room, but I can explain that to any agent who submits an offer.  You definitely want to make sure that whatever your bottom line is, be sure to leave room to contribute to buyer’s closing costs (typically 3-4% of sales price).  Not suggesting you start at 3-4% below bottom line right off the bat, but when we meet to list the property, we can discuss a strategy for what you will do if the property is not getting offers.  More on that later when we meet again. 

Keep me posted, and let me know when you need me out for a final punch-list walk through.  Looking forward to seeing you two again. 

Best.

Joe P.

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