Monday, April 25, 2016

Preparing Your Home to Show

Since we are in the busiest time of year, it's important to talk about getting your home ready for sale.  If you haven't started yet,  you are really behind the eight ball.  You need to have your home available when the most buyers are looking, and that can conflict with having everything done.  I remember selling a home where the floors needed to be polished, and the people doing it came a week later than they said, and then took longer.  I missed the window of one week, where all the cherry trees in front of the house were blooming, and I think in the end we got less and it took longer.  The moral of the story?  I should have started sooner.

I made another mistake, but maybe it wasn't one.  I didn't let someone in who couldn't wait until the home was ready.  In retrospect, an eager buyer may be too good to send away, even if your home isn't at its best.  That's for you to decide.  Basic decluttering can get done pretty quickly, if you are motivated, but moving furniture, painting, and repairs can take much longer.  Again? I should have started sooner, and so should you.  If you haven't, get a yard service and declutter, paint if you have time, and fix what's broken.

We are often asked whether to undertake major repairs, or change kitchens and bathrooms.  Generally, the answer is no.  You won't have the same taste as the buyers, and you may waste your money.  Only fix what's broken, just like the old adage.  Save your money, and lower the price instead.  Remember that the average seller is 57, and the average buyer is 42, so tastes won't be the same.  White walls are out, gray is in.  Granite is out, soapstone is in.  I could go on, but you get the idea.  Do what you can with what you have.  And don't overprice!

Monday, April 11, 2016

The Return of Multiple Offers

Though we are sadly aware that prices are still falling in Connecticut, even as they keep rising just about everywhere else, we see signs of hope in the return of the multiple offer.  Well-priced homes, especially during the spring "rush", attract lots of attention, and can go for higher prices if they can spark a bidding war.  Bidding wars are great for sellers, while they are nerve-wracking and often frustrating for buyers.  It doesn't mean that houses will sell for more than they are worth (and, in any case, financing contingencies would mitigate against that), but they do stop bottom-fishers from getting exceptional bargains from avid sellers.  Nor does it mean that the home was priced too low, as sellers may inevitably think.

Their appearance in our market should alert buyers, however, that putting in really low offers on homes that haven't sold, or even new listings, on the theory that "nothing is selling", can really backfire.  Make a fair offer, and be prepared for the fact that you may not be the only buyers in the picture.  Think about what it's worth to you, and make the highest offer that you would be unhappy to hear that someone else paid; i.e., the price that you would have paid, had you known that you could get it for that amount.  And be glad that your taste is shared by others, because that will help you when you go to sell it someday!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Current Absorption Rate

Explanation of absorption rate: The rate at which available homes are sold in a specific real estate market during a given time period. If you look at the number for New Haven you can say “If market conditions do not change and if no new listings come on the market it will take 6.3 months for the current inventory to sell at the current pace of the market. A balanced market’s absorption rate is typically between 5 - 7 months.”

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Report from Nashville

It was almost surreal to be in Nashville this week.  After not having been there for the past nine years, it was hard to believe the growth and change.  82 people a day are moving to Nashville, and it seems as though everyone else in the country is visiting the Country Music Hall of Fame.  The streets downtown are as crowded at night as Times Square, and it's the country's #1 destination for bachelorette parties--who knew?

Corporations are moving to Nashville, and bringing plenty of employees with them.  Cranes and other signs of growth abound.  Prices for homes in the tonier neighborhoods are very high, and new hot spots are appearing.  Although they saw the same Great Recession as everywhere else, it certainly seems to be over!  Our friends at Zeitlin Realtors are looking to have a booming year, and were busy right through their traditionally slow season.  It wasn't springlike weather over the weekend, but the real estate market was.

Other companies also attending reported mixed growth in the first two months, but all are expecting a good year this year.  Rates are still low (but on the bubble of going up), and the main problem is a lack of inventory in many price ranges.  Fingers crossed!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Sometimes It's Good to Lag the Market

In many parts of the country, real estate has fully recovered from the Great Recession, has increased in price, and is levelling off.  Inventory is a problem, because demand in many areas has been greater than supply.

 Not so for Connecticut.  Our poor business climate and high taxes has caused us to underperform everywhere else.  That means that we have yet to see any price increases, and our inventory remains higher than in other places.  And what does that mean?  It means that buying here makes more sense than it does in almost anyplace else in the country, because we share the same low interest rates, without the appreciation that would make housing prices higher than they were a few years ago.  We are still recovering from the downturn, and our jobs did not return in the same categories nor at the same rate as in other states.  That puts us in a different phase of the housing cycle, and makes us expect that this year will be strong. 

Certainly the weather is helping!  It's over 60 degrees today, and it already feels like spring.  So what does spring mean to us?  It's time to buy!