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Quick Sales Are Possible

Posted August 08, 2012 in Advice Column, Clive

Are quick sales possible under current market conditions? The answer is yes, assuming you time the listing correctly.

How is this accomplished? The time of year is actually less relevant than the condition of the home itself. In other words, list your home when it’s ready and not one day before. The reasons are straightforward:
1. Despite the recent uptick in home sales, buyers continue to be understandably selective. Plenty of competition (including new construction) still exists. When comparing homes it’s natural for buyers to look for reasons to narrow the field. If you provide one, they will usually move on.

2. Pricing is, of course, critical but pricing should be directly related to the condition of the home. Homes in need of cosmetic updates such as neutralizing rooms, new carpet/appliances, or basic home repairs such as common wood rot, raise red flags about other deferred maintenance items buyers can’t see from a 15-minute showing. Thus rather than a $3,000 – $5,000 investment, buyers will instead deduct $10,000 – $15,000 in perceived value. It goes without saying that major repairs such as a roof, HVAC or siding will cost the seller many times more in lost value as well as time on market. The best ways to counteract such discounts is to do the necessary repairs/updates prior to listing or significantly reduce your price. Generally speaking, the former is less costly to the seller.

3. The best opportunity to sell for any homeowner is the first month on market. Last year — in a down market — 34 percent of all sales in Des Moines still occurred within the first 30 days; and this year it’s up to 37 percent. Last year in Clive, about 30 percent of sales happened in the first month; this year that number is up to an astounding 40 percent of all sales.

The reason is simple — the only time every buyer looking in your area and in your price range will simultaneously see your home is when it first hits the market. For example, if 75 buyers are currently looking for a home in the Clive market in your home’s price range, all 75 will see your home when you initially list. If none of those 75 are interested, you’re then limited to only new buyers — but this number might be 5 or 10 at most in any given week. It’s simple math really.

In addition to completing deferred maintenance, it’s also important to de-clutter and de-personalize. Buyers must be able to envision themselves in the house and struggle to do so if there’s too much “stuff” in the home. Move anything not currently needed into storage — after all, you’re moving anyway so why not get a head start.

We all know the old saying “You get one chance to make a first impression.” This concept is particularly true in real estate; and if priced appropriately, every house has the chance to sell quickly.

Information provided by Ted Weaver, ReMax Real Estate Group, 271-8281,

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