It happens every year about this time. New listing numbers start showing up in our MLS. The old ones begin to be intermingled with the new ones. Then pretty soon you begin seeing more and more new ones and less and less old ones until, finally almost all the old ones are gone.
But there's always some leftovers. Leftovers are those houses that hang around in the MLS, sometimes months after all the competition is sold and gone. They're like the old house that the owner just won't remodel or update. It sticks out among the newer homes and upgrades all around it. It's an eye sore and everybody seems to know about that house.
Old MLS numbers indicate that the house that belongs to that number is probably overpriced. There are no two ways about it. Every home has a price that it will sell for. A seller who does not understand the market or who refuses to adjust their price to what the market will bear will usually end up being one of those leftover MLS numbers. Remember, the market determines the selling price. Oh sure, the house might expire and get a new MLS number, but then that cumulative total starts climbing. Any number over 180 shouts to everyone that you're a leftover listing. That's not good.
If you're a leftover MLS listing number, here's some ideas that might help you become a home sold instead of a home sitting...
1. Get real about your asking price. As mentioned above, the market determines the selling price...not you. Talk to your real estate professional. Look at the market reports. And then get into the car and go with them to look at your competition. Understanding what potential buyers have to choose from might be just the ticket to getting your selling price set properly.
2. Get real about profit and loss. When the market shifted and crashed, much profit went out the window, almost overnight. You might walk about with money in your pocket today, but you might not. If you're in a situation where you can sell the house even at a loss you can afford, it is better to take the loss rather than to face foreclosure or a short sale. The short term loss won't take the 100-300 points off your credit like a short sale or foreclosure will.
3. Dropping your price might actually save you money in the long run. Every day that passes is more interest, more utility payments and another day closer to your next mortgage payment. If you're paying $1000 a month on the mortgage for a house that doesn't sell, you will have paid $6000 in six months (the average listing period). If you had set the price right when you went to the market, you could have used that $6000 towards closing costs or to set the price lower. And if you had set the price right and sold quickly, you might actually have saved some money and not spent the whole $6000.00!
4. If you choose to go with "Discount Joe", be careful. You may end up doing all the work for very little return. Whomever you choose to list your house, make sure they understand internet marketing, blogging and syndication. If they look at you with a funny look when you mention those words, you might want to talk to someone else.
5. Don't hold your breath waiting on the market to turn. There is no turn predicted for this year. And once the home buyer's tax credit expires, we could see another serious slow down for a while. The harsh reality is that we haven't hit true bottom yet. Only when that happens will we be able to see prices climb nationwide and the market begin to turn. We ain't there yet folks!
As a real estate agent I don't like it any more than you do that the market is as tough as it is. But I'm in this with you. If I were to sell my house today, I couldn't get nearly what I could have way back in 2005-2007. And I'd like to sell my house. But if I did, I would price it to move so I could get on down the road to the next house I want to purchase. Even if that meant I had to take a loss I could afford.
Remember, we're in this together, you and I. Let's not be a leftover!
Information and content in this blog is original to Bob Haywood.
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