You've read the Wall Street Journal, Crain's, Financial Times; you've watched CNN, CNBC and Mad Money to the point of heart palpitations. But still you want, or possibly need, to sell your home and move on to something else. After all, it is a great time to buy! The good news is there are deals made everyday. The bad news is there are just a lot less of them.
State of the Market
Inventory has been accumulating since the peak back in August 2005. Therefore, buyers are viewing more homes than in recent years – dozens of possibilities and months of searching — before formulating a “short list.”
Banks are holding onto their money with a death grip. Not too long ago, if you had a pulse, banks were throwing money at you and it was cheap. Now you need a healthy down payment, impeccable credit, proof of stable income, and the ability to repay the loan (as it should have been all along). But, if you can qualify, loans are at historically low rates. When I first got my real estate license interest rates were 18-19% - now that's high!
Buyers are in the driver's seat…up to a point. While it's not quite one rooster in a house full of hens, fewer buyers qualify for a greater inventory. It's Economics 101 – when demand is reduced and supply is increased, prices adjust downward.
The top of the market in 2005 saw a total number of 2,326 homes sold. Most recently, this number was down to 1,390 in 2011.*
The East End is one of the most beautiful places on planet Earth and just 2 hours from Manhattan. By virtue of the East End being surrounded on three sides by water and governed by zoning regulations, which prohibit over-development, supply should never get out of control. And, there are segments of the market (like Sagaponack) that are experiencing great appreciation rates.
If you are looking to sell, follow these seven steps to put yourself at the top of a buyer's list:
1. Select a Real Estate Professional
It is important to choose someone who is knowledgeable, experienced in all market conditions, and has the resources to market your property properly. Market savvy on the part of your real estate professional will save you time, energy, and money, and will reduce the stress associated with selling your home. It's helpful to select someone you like as well since you will be spending time together.
2. Give the Buyer a Clean Palette
Tone down any vibrant colors by replacing them with more neutral hues. Remove clutter – store that collection of figurines. Give the house a fresh coat of paint. Let the buyer decorate the home in their mind according to their taste.
3. Polish Up
Fix the broken fence, remove the car being worked on in the driveway, swap out old appliances for new, desired brands, update bathroom fixtures, and refinish damaged floors. In short, prepare your home to the highest standards possible.
4. Eliminate Objections
Abandon that buried oil tank and make sure property lines are unencumbered.
5. Marketing Plan
Your real estate professional will know whom your customer base is; where they come from and how to reach them. Ask him/her for an outline of their marketing plan for your property.
Proper pricing in today's market is of utmost importance. Your real estate professional can take you out to view available comps. Remove your seller's hat and put on a buyer's hat. Objectively evaluate the properties you view – which would you select and at what price? Offer the best priced home a buyer views in your market and you will see results.
Is your Certificate of Occupancy (CO) current and up-to-date? Does your survey correspond with all existing improvements? Does your attorney have copies of your title and deeds?
Now You Are Ready.
*Figures taken from Town & Country's Market Insight Quarterly Reports (1townandcountry.com/reports)