Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Mistake #1 -- Pricing Your Property Too High
Every seller obviously wants to get the most money for his or her house. Ironically, the best way to do this is NOT to list your house at an excessively high price! A high listing price will cause some prospective buyers to lose interest before even seeing your property. It could also lead other buyers to expect more than what you have to offer. As a result, overpriced properties take an unusually long time to sell, and they usually end up being sold at a lower price.

Mistake #2 – Mistaking A Re-finance Appraisal for the Fair Market Value
Unfortunately, a re-finance appraisal may have been valued at a much higher price than Fair Market Value. Fair Market Value is the price a buyer on the open market is willing to pay for the property. Very often, appraisers place your property at a higher value during a re-finance because they take into consideration the number of years you have lived there and made the payments on time. The lender is more willing to loan a higher value to someone with a proven track record than they are a buyer who is about to purchase the same property. Also in this changing market, the market value of your home could actually be lower than a recent appraisal. Your best bet is to ask your Realtor for the most current information regarding property sales in your community. This will give you an up-to-date and factually accurate estimate of your property’s value.

Mistake #3 -- Forgetting to "Showcase Your Home"
In spite of how frequently this mistake is addressed and how simple it is to avoid, its prevalence is still widespread. When attempting to sell your home to prospective buyers, do not forget to make your home look as pleasant as possible. Make necessary repairs. Clean, clean, clean. Make sure everything functions and looks it’s very best. A poorly kept home in need of repairs will lower the selling price of your property and will turn away a lot of buyers.

Mistake #4 -- Trying to "Hard Sell" While Showing
Buying a house is often an emotional and difficult decision. As a result, you, as the seller, should try to allow prospective buyers to comfortably and privately examine your property. Don't try haggling or forcefully selling. Instead, be friendly and hospitable. But, also don’t tell them too much about your situation either. A good idea would be to point out any subtle amenities and be receptive to questions.

Mistake #5 -- Trying to Sell to "Looky-Loos"
A prospective buyer who shows interest because of a "for sale" sign he saw may not really be interested in your property. Often buyers who do not come through a Realtor are a good 6-9 months away from buying, and they are more interested in seeing what is out there than in actually making a purchase. They may still have to sell their house, or may not be able to afford your house. They may still even be unsure as to whether or not they want to relocate. Your Realtor knows how to distinguish realistic potential buyers from mere lookers. Realtors usually pre-qualify a prospective buyer, by finding out about their savings, credit rating, and purchasing power in general. This will help you avoid wasting valuable time marketing towards the wrong people.

Mistake #6 -- Not Knowing Your Rights & Responsibilities
It is extremely important that you are well informed of the details in your real estate contract. Real estate contracts are legally binding documents, and they can often be complex and confusing. Not being aware of the terms in your contract could cost you thousands of dollars. Know what you are responsible for before signing the contract. Can the property be sold "as is"? How can deed restrictions, and local zoning laws affect your transaction? Not knowing the answers to these sorts of questions could end up costing you a considerable amount of time and money. This is where it pays to use a professional Realtor.

Mistake #7 -- Limiting the Marketing and Advertising of the Property
Chances are that you have a job, so you may not be able to get in touch with many potential buyers or be available to answer the phone during business hours. When you use a Realtor they will employ a wide variety of marketing techniques. Your Realtor will also be committed to selling your property. You should choose a Realtor who is a full-time Realtor so they are available for every phone call from a prospective buyer. Most calls are received, and open houses are scheduled, during business hours, so make sure to choose a Realtor that is working to sell your home during these hours.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Real Estate Reality Check - aka The Sky Has Not Fallen!

Okay, it's true – While most sales categories in Middle Tennessee are down about 27% from 2007. General activity is slower, some areas have slightly decreased prices, and there are some foreclosures. But, we have NOT seen an alarming loss of value in our market and, overall, the Middle Tennessee market has not experienced anything even near the market deflations of California, Michigan, or Florida.

The Real Estate Market here in Middle Tennessee is very much ALIVE, just not at the high activity level of 2005 and 2006. We must remember that 2005 was a record-breaking year for sales in the history of the Middle Tennessee MLS. Then 2006 broke the 2005 record, WOW, followed by 2007 which was the 5th best year on record (and it was down 25% from 2006).

There is ample cause for Sellers to be frustrated due to the lack of showings on their properties. After two years of multiple offers and homes flying off the market in record time, the Seller public is having a hard time adjusting to a more “normal” Middle Tennessee market.

The majority of this “slow-down” is simply supply and demand. The fact remains that there is still an inventory of 24,000+ properties for sale in Middle Tennessee. And with the buyer pool down about 27% from last year (2007), which was down about 25% from 2006, the average days on the market have gone up. The media’s hyperactive negative reporting of the US and Global economic news can be blamed for a good portion of the lack of buyer confidence.

Sellers are not only frustrated with higher days on the market, but decreased Buyer showings. However, with the advent of virtual tours, and lots of pictures available online, the fact is more and more Buyers are completing their research on the Internet and actually viewing fewer houses in person before they buy. This can cause a Seller to feel their house is being ignored, when in fact there could have been 3-4,000 people look at the house virtually via the Internet. (I have a Franklin listing (the house in the above picture) that has had over 48,000 views on, but only about a dozen actual showings.)

What I do know for sure is that everyone has to live somewhere and someone owns the property even if you rent. I also know for sure from this research that houses ARE selling . . . and Buyers ARE buying and that the sky hasn’t fallen even though this market more likely resembles 2001 not 2006.

Please remember, people always need to buy and people always need to sell for reasons unrelated to the market. Real estate is still a great investment in Middle Tennessee and this remains an EXCELLENT time to be in the market to BUY a house. Whether you need a primary residence or investment properties. Savvy investors always buy in a down market, because there are a lot more people choosing to rent. It can be an equally good time to sell a house, as well.

If you or anyone you know are contemplating a move but are hesitant to enter what appears to be a volatile market, you should contact me to arrange a time for us to meet so we can explore your unique situation and discover your options in this market.