Oct 05, 2014 11:27AM
By Jennifer Neys
by Nathan Hitchcock
As our local real estate market starts to wind down from the boisterous spring and summer months, interesting “microclimates” star to taking form. For example, in the City of Concord, the inventory of single-family homes for sale is up a whopping 21.6% from last month, while the neighboring cities of Pleasant Hill and Walnut Creek saw their inventory levels drop by 18.4% and 1.6%, respectively, over the same period. Overall, inventory levels are down 1.7% in Contra Costa County.
With this fluctuating market, settling on a listing price becomes challenging for home sellers. If you market too high, you’ll likely be hearing nothing but crickets chirping as you wait for prospective buyers. But if your home is not selling, it’s important not to put the blame on the asking price too quickly. There are three other important factors to consider first:
1. Is the home properly prepared? Your home doesn’t need to be fully remodeled, but it’s vital to cover the basics: a deep cleaning inside and out, including windows; fresh and clean paint inside and out; clean flooring with no excessive wear; tidy yards; and pared down personal belongings. And if your home’s decor would make the perfect set for a period movie, you’ll greatly benefit from the services of a skilled staging consultant.
2. Is the home properly marketed? Historically, just having your home listed on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) is 95% of the marketing needed to ensure success. But buyers now directly access home listings online, so how your home is listed on the MLS is vitally important. My secret weapon: professional photography. As buyers sift through hundreds of listings online, the process quickly degrades to rapidly flipping through pictures, shortlisting whatever catches their eye. After all your hard work in step 1, washed out and shadowy photos taken with the average point-and-shoot camera are not going to cut it.
3. Has the home been on the market long enough? Typically, in our current market, a prepared, priced, and marketed home should sell in 2-3 weeks or less, however, each area will have its own timing. Determine the average days on market for homes currently pending sale in your neighborhood, and compare it to how long your home has been listed for sale. If you have not hit that number yet, you may just need to give it a little more time.
If you’ve properly prepared and marketed your home, and you’ve given it enough time to be exposed to prospective buyers, there is only one piece of the puzzle left: price. If it’s not selling, you have two options: 1) lower your asking price, or 2) patiently wait for market values to catch up with your price. How quickly you need or want to sell your home will dictate which option is best for you.