For most of Reno and Sparks homeowners, prices have risen to 2007/2008 levels and show no signs of stopping there. With inventories much lower than those found 7 or 8 years ago, we are clearly in the midst of a seller’s market. This frenzied tangle known as the local housing market changes daily and prepared sellers are the biggest winners. Here are a few suggestions for those contemplating the sale of a home in the near future.
- Know the market: Zillow and Trulia aren’t much help in a quickly-changing market. While their information is generally good, they pull nearly all of their “sold” data from public records. This information tends to be 60+ days out of date, which underestimates values in virtually every rapidly-appreciating market. Realtors have access to much more current information for determining pricing strategies. Another factor to consider is the market absorption rate; how long it will take to sell the current inventory of homes in a particular market/price range, resulting in the number of months of inventory available. In many cases, we find weeks of inventory rather than months and this plays out as higher prices for those areas. Knowing the market leads to accurate pricing. Consider that buyers have many reliable sources of information available at their fingertips and most buyers do significant research before making an offer. If a seller chooses a list price as little as 5% over market, they are likely to hear crickets rather than watching a parade. Price reductions don’t lead to record highs, bidding wars do. Nailing the exact market-value is imperative to getting the big win when selling.
- Get ready for the parade: We believe in spending a bit of money to make much more. Pre-listing inspections, home staging and professional photography pay off well for generating big interest. Paint and landscaping quick-fixes are relatively inexpensive and can bring big rewards when needed. Every home is different but an excellent agent will know where and how to get the biggest bang for your buck. Imagine yourself a buyer forced into a life-changing, snap decision. Most buyers are stressed by the process and providing inspection reports can be very comforting. Buyers tend to bid up and set new high price points on those homes that are prepared to sell, show well, and have documentation showing them to be in good repair.
- Manage the process: Start by selecting a broker that is very experienced in multiple offer negotiations and together you should develop a plan before the action hits. Your process may include a set time period for showings and review of offers; it is important your home is properly exposed to the market. Next you should discuss how offers will be managed. Buyer’s agents in a multiple-offer scenario tend to ask the same questions: “How many offers and what’s the highest/best?” Should the buyer discover that the best standing offer is $425,000, their offer will be $425,500, perhaps leaving money on the table and out of the seller’s hands. We think there’s a better way to handle this as your listing broker. Additionally, always consider the buyer’s specific loan type and appraisal contingency, which can throw a wrench into the entire process.
The frenzied energy of a live auction best describes the atmosphere in much of the Reno/Sparks housing market, only the stakes are usually higher. Having a professional representing you who understands the market as well as human nature can make the process more profitable and much easier on you as a seller. If you are considering selling your home or investment property, we can help.
Photo credits (From Flickr via Creative Commons License):
Sold Sign Board by Mark Moz
Vintage Triang Dollhouse by The Shopping Sherpa