Even if you’re fully aware that prices have dropped big time you should be aware that a typical selling time for a home has been 10 to 15 weeks. But that time frame makes selling sound easier than it is, because it doesn’t factor in all the homes that never sold, or were pulled off the market and later relisted. Keim says you need to ask for at least 1 percent less than competing homes., it can come as a shock when a real estate agent advises you to slap a low-low price on your home.
Two local market statistics can be helpful. The most important may be days on the market. Available through most multiple listing services, it shows the average time it takes to sell a home. The specific sales data can provide valuable insight. When reviewing comparable homes it will become clear which list prices led to fast sales and which were set too high and prolonged the sale. But don’t focus on the overall average for a specific location. This can be misleading because it accounts only for homes that sold. Also, homes that were pulled off the market and relisted start the clock back at zero.
Another useful number is the homes list price to sales price ratio that shows that homes sold in June went for 89 percent of their list price in Suwanee GA., 87 percent in Raleigh, N.C., and 96 percent in Charlotte, NC. Your local ratio also does not reflect unsold homes. But it gives an idea of the latest price trend.
What’s new this year is that many sellers are willing to go beyond the basics of staging to make physical upgrades. After learning a valuable lesson about today’s persnickety buyer, one seller pulled the house off the market for two weeks while he installed a new floor, ceiling, cabinets and granite countertops. Then they put it back on the market in late August at the same price. Agents recommend putting lots of high- resolution photos and as much information as possible online, including citing upgrades and what you love about living in the home. If you don’t show a photo of a key area — kitchen, bathrooms, backyard — prospective buyers may assume there’s something wrong and move on. It’s important to remember that buyers are going mobile, too. The use of smartphones and apps to review listings has exploded.