Any suggestions to increase action on home?

Asked by Jeff Keil, Cambridge, WI Wed Aug 27, 2008

Beautiful, 9 yo, Cambridge home in subdivision with large, wooded lot. Priced to sell at $105 per sq ft. and marketed through realtor. Not much activity thus far. Any suggestions?

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Kevin, Home Seller, Needham, MA
Thu Aug 28, 2008
If the realtor is not getting it done for you, than you should go it yourself. The real estate market is really down right now, and brokers only tell you that you need to lower the price. Well we did lower the price, but not on our end. We lowered it on the brokers end. None of them own a "magic wand", and we figured we would try this route.
We used a company in Boston called
We had a house in Needham and put it on for $599k, not only was the house under agreement in a week, but we saved over $15,0000 in commissions.
Great services! Great Results!
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1 vote
Michael Lefe…, Agent, Westborough, MA
Thu Aug 28, 2008
Was yours the home that listed for $599,000 and sold for $565,000 in seven days? Apparently you DID lower the price on your end. Please don't trash Realtors by saying all we tell sellers is to "lower the price". I can see you didn't list with a Realtor before you listed by yourself, so I'm not sure what you are comparing your experience to. If you saved $15,000 in commissions (actually $14,125) but lowered your price by $24,000, was there really a savings there or was money left on the table?

Over the last 6 months, homes in Needham in the $500K's have been on the market for an average of 53 days and have sold for an average of 98% of their listing price. Yours sold for 94% of your listing price. So the 2.5% you saved in listing commission may have been traded for a 4% lower price than the current market average of homes being sold in Needham in your price range. Sellers need to look at their NET gain.

No, none of us (Realtors, homeowners, anyone....) owns a "magic wand" but GOOD Realtors (with the emphasis on GOOD) do own specific market expertise that can help increase the NET return that homeowners can expect on the sale of their homes.

You're right, it's a challenging market out there right now and in order to increase your chances of maximizing your NET gain on the sale of your home you need to look at ALL the angles. A GOOD Realtor (again, emphasis on GOOD) is worth their weight in gold!

If you're willing to simply accept a lower price than the market is currently bearing for your home, then maybe FSBO is the way to go. You saved $14,125 in commissions and took $24,000 less than you wanted for this home. Personally, I would have rather waited the 53 days (average for Needham in the $500Ks) and benefited from the extra roughly $7,000 net gain.
0 votes
Linda, , Berwyn, PA
Wed Aug 27, 2008
Most buyers start their home search on line. Make sure the pictures posted on the MLS are appealing and show the best features of your house. Curb appeal is critical as well. If buyers don't like what they see online or on the drive by, they will move on to the next property in the same area and price range.
0 votes
Keith Sorem, Agent, Glendale, CA
Wed Aug 27, 2008
Thanks for posting this question. Many people are in the same boat, so we get a lot of posts like yours.
Here are a couple of truths that should help you:

1. When you interviewed and selected your Realtor, what expectations did you develop? When I meet with a seller, part of the listing agreement is more than just the paperwork. I need to know why they want to move, how much they want to net, and what alternative outcomes are agreeable.

For example, if you HAVE TO MOVE, then that goal is paramount. If you will ONLY MOVE if you can net a certain amount, then that goal is paramount (and I may not take the listing...because you don't HAVE to move).

2. To accomplish the sale of your home you need three things to happen: Showing acitivity, offers, and an ACCEPTED OFFER. So the goal is to first create a listing that Realtors will show. I expect 10-12 showings in the first two weeks, or we adjust the price. The industry standard is that if we can sell the home in the first 30 days, it will sell closest to asking price. The longer it sits on the market, the more value it loses.

3. Once we have an offer (or offers), make sure that the buyer is qualified (and in this financial climate that is a shaky proposition sometimes), and negotiate the best terms and price to help my client net out as much as possible.

Now in your case the market is very slow compared to last year. According to Trulia you have had only 33 sales in the last three months compared to hundreds last year, so you need to be the BEST VALUE to sell. That probably means priced BELOW market.

Remember, it is not how much you owe, how much you paid, or how much you need to net. Buyers will buy the best value home FIRST. I'd be asking my Realtor so show me the homes that buyers have to choose from like mine. These primary competitors needs to watched like a hawk. Look at these homes, make notes of any special features, selling bonuses, etc. And these change weekly, so you need to be getting regular reports on your competition.

Hope this is helpful.
0 votes
Michael Lefe…, Agent, Westborough, MA
Wed Aug 27, 2008
How long has it been on the market, Jeff? It seems like a young Cambridge home in a subdivision, that truly is priced to sell, should have LOTS of activity. Any open houses yet? Do you have LOTS of pictures online? Has it been on the Cambridge brokers' caravan? Has the home been staged? If all the proper marketing is in place. I would suggest to take a closer, objective look at if it is truly priced to sell. What are other comparable homes in the area selling for? Not necessarily on a price per SF basis, but what were the sales prices in the neighborhood. Is it a single family or condo? Very few single family home buyers are going to use a $/SF comparison. What is the average days on market for properties in your area? Where do you fall within that?

If you want to post an MLS# you might be able to get some more specific answers from the Trulia Voices forum. Rest assured, Cambridge remains to be a strong market and properly priced homes continue to sell in a reasonable amount of time. Yours will too.

Good Luck!
0 votes
Dana Schuster, Agent, Slidell, LA
Wed Aug 27, 2008
First,you need to determine what& how much marketing your agent is doing. Are you up on all available websites. The internet is where it's at now. People are not really responding to TV& newspaper ads--at least in my area. You might try some kind of gimmick--an open house w. door prize,maybe. I had a lot of traffic on one of my listings (20+ people in a few hours),by tying in with our local Parade of Homes. I held a joint open house w. another agent who had a listing in the same neighborhood. There were some POH homes in the subdivision,so people were coming thru. We had a drawing for a door prize($50 gas card) and the stipulation was that people had to sign in at both homes to be eligible.
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