Elizabeth, Home Seller in Pittsburgh, PA

Is it a slow market for buyers? (North Hills of Pgh specific)

Asked by Elizabeth, Pittsburgh, PA Mon Nov 16, 2009

We're getting ready to list our house in January and I'm getting worried since a house down the street has been on the market for 5 months. Our house is different in some significant ways from that one, but it still has me worried ours may sit.

If you're looking (or have buyers who are looking), are they just not finding what they want? Is the market around here slow?

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Dustin Nulf, Agent, Pittsburgh, PA
Wed Mar 17, 2010
It's only a slow market if you let it be. A properly priced, staged and marketed home will sell in less than 90 days... now what you have to ask yourself is if you are able and willing to price the home properly, put the time into staging and money into necessary updates and lastly... do you have a good agent to market your home?
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Eric Thompson…, , Pittsburgh, PA
Tue Nov 17, 2009
Elizabeth - Homes at 150k and less in the North Hills are selling well. Demand for higher priced homes is not quite there. Having said that any house that is priced attractively, in good condition, and marketed correctly will sell. Rates are low and the tax credit has been continued and expanded through April which will help. Good Luck to you!!
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Jeffrey Benn…, Agent, Pittsburgh, PA
Mon Nov 16, 2009
I have had North Hills buyers this year who've had comparatively little trouble finding homes, and others who had unrealistic expectations. For example, a $175K house is very different from a $225K house here. And sometimes $175K-qualified buyers find that the features they want/need are only available over $200K!

Correct pricing is important, and as the first respondents note, well-positioned properties sell in any market. All homes are unique -- especially to sellers, but your home's features will only be seen through showings, and you only get showings (especially coveted second showings) by creating the perception of value. That is, when agents or buyers search for homes using simple criteria (e.g., 3 br, 2 ba, garage in a certain area), you don't want to be the highest priced property on the list -- or worse, too high to even get on the list.

There is still quite a lot of inventory out there (though it varies by specific area; a lot of "North" properties are actually Northside, not really North Hills), but interest rates are still extremely low, and the buyer credit was extended and expanded. It does "feel" a bit slow to me, but things do slow down around the holidays. On the other hand, those buyers who are out in the winter are generally more highly motivated. It's one thing to stroll through an open house in July, and quite another to brave a blizzard :-)

In the end it comes down to your motivation, specific needs, and willingness to reposition if necessary. If it's priced right, you should get showings immediately, and one or more offers within 4-6 weeks. Those offers will establish market value, at which point you decide whether selling makes sense in the context of achieving your overall goals. This isn't 2005, to be sure -- but it's also not 2008. Good luck!
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Charlene Hai…, Agent, Pittsburgh, PA
Mon Nov 16, 2009

Yes, pricing a house correctly from the start is one of the most important things one can do in any market….. But it is especially important for our current market. There are market differences from neighborhood to neighborhood (perception about school districts, home value stability, etc) that manifests itself in the price you eventually get and how long it takes you to get it.

For instance, here are a few North Hills areas and the “average Days on Market” for the homes that have sold so far this year in those areas. “Days on Market” is the number of days it took for a home to get a contract:

Ross – 81 days
McCandless – 75 days
Shaler – 77 days
Franklin Park – 93 days
Marshall – 91 days
Mars – 123 days

Please realize that the above numbers are the AVERAGE. Which means some houses went much quicker and others unfortunately tooks lots longer than the numbers above.

As for the behavior of buyers out there right now …… I’ve found that they are extremely cautious and very concerned that they don’t “overpay”. So while they may have normally looked at 20 or 30 houses in some other year before deciding on the one they want …… This year they may look at 50 or 60 or even more before they feel comfortable that there isn’t some “better deal” out there that they missed.

So you can see that it is particularly important to take a very objective look at your own home and price it realistically for the market that exists right now.
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Jill Stehnach, Agent, Sewickley, PA
Mon Nov 16, 2009

If your home is priced well and in good condition it will always sell in fairly short order. Listen closely to your agent when you get ready to list as he/she will have pulled the most recent comps from your area to help guide you to your best listing price. The recent extension of the tax credit (thru 4/30/09) should also help prompt more first time buyers, as well as step up buyers who may have an interest in your home. I think your timing to list is never better. If I can help, please let me know! Best of luck and Happy Holidays!
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