Our home in Washington, PA has been on the market since mid-August. Our Realtor has had two open houses to

Asked by John Williams, Washington, PA Mon Jan 19, 2009

date with no offers and very little traffic. We are also looking for a home in the Morgantown, WV area. What is the average on the market period of time in the Morgantown, WV area?

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David Chambe…, , Saint Petersburg, FL
Sat Jan 24, 2009
How do they do an open house? If they pay for a $30 ad in the local paper and throw a sign out-do not use them regardless of how many open houses they are willing to do.Now, let me explain how I do my open houses. I hold an open house once a month and I spend a lot of time and money on them because they are important. I pay for the advertising in the newspaper with the map if possible. I hand out flyers to all the neighbors, I put signs on the major intersections leading to the home in advance to let the public know the date, address and times I will be holding the open house. I send post cards to neighboring communities with the same information. If the seller agrees, my wife&I supply & prepare food and beverages. On the day of the open house I handout flyers to the gas stations in the area and make sure there are enough signs out, so that from any direction they may be driving they are visible to any potential buyers. Before I became a mortgage broker, I made sure I invited one to the open house or had one available by phone to qualify the potential buyer in case they wanted to write an offer on the spot. (Speaking of offers, when interviewing your potential agent, ask to see a sales contract, if they have one this is a good sign, they are prepared as I always am)

Ask all the agents you are interviewing to bring a CMA (Comparative Market Analysis) along with them, however, do not tell them how much you hope to get for your home. When you are looking over the CMA, ask questions and ask them to explain the values. Again, do not tell them, at any point how much you want to sell your home for and do not choose your potential agent because they said your home was worth more than the other agents. Look over all the information and pick the CMA that is MOST ACCURATE, NOT THE BEST. If the most accurate CMA is lower than you want to sell your home, than do not waste yours and your agents time, just let them know you are not interested in selling. On the flip side of that, if you list with the agent that has the highest (but inaccurate) CMA, than you are setting yourself up for disappointment if your home does not sell within the time amount you allotted and you will have to drop the price at that time. Please keep in mind that with the way todays market conditions are, you will be chasing the market by lowering your price every 3months.

During the interview process of choosing your agent, ask them what they suggest to “prep” your home, that way when you do choose your agent, you will already have some input from more than one agent and even though you are not using all of the agents you can still use their ideas. Also during the interview, ask them what their marketing plan is and what will change, if the home does not sell in 30, 60 or 90 days.

David Chamberlain


2 votes
David Chambe…, , Saint Petersburg, FL
Sat Jan 24, 2009
Pick another agent if you feel they haven't done a good job:

Sellers: Your agent should be willing to do open houses, print advertising, internet advertising and should already have a list of buyers to show the property to. This agent should have good communication skills and be honest enough to tell you things you might not want to hear. They should be very critical of your house, your asking price and your motivation to sell. Before you choose your agent, you should interview 3 to 5 agents based on referrals, searching on the internet or by going to open houses. Do not pick them by walking into an office. After all, just because they are in an office does not mean they are currently active in Real Estate. Personally, I know several agents that go to the office everyday but do not do any business.
Now, let’s break down the qualifications to sell a home. How are the agents phone&communication skills, for example: did they answer their phone when you called or return your call promptly and did they show up for your interview or appointment on time? Printed advertising is best for open houses and can be valuable in our tourist areas. Internet advertising is critical. There is no excuse for not having a presence on the internet. Find out if they are on Trulia.com. If they are, you can actually lookup their profile and check out their answers to the consumers questions on their blog. Although this is not necessary, it does help you find out about the type of agent and person they are according to their answers and to what you are looking for. If they do not have their own website or buyers have to fill out a form to view listings on their website…do not use them. Let me explain: When they enter the data on your home into the MLS, it is syndicated to other websites, but that really is not enough. They should have it syndicated through their own website and also update the information on Craig’s list, Kijiji and a number of other websites available to them. A lot of people may not pay much attention to the list of buyers, but this could be the most valuable asset a listing agent could have. When they show one of their houses or have an open house, they have the opportunity to get information on the buyers criteria for the home they are looking for, such as price range, number of bedrooms, location etc. Than when your home is listed, your agent can go through the list of buyers and see if it matches any of their criteria.
2 votes
April, Home Buyer, Kingwood, WV
Sat Jan 24, 2009
Just from personal experience as a potential buyer- we have been looking for the right place for over a year and are seeing the same houses listed over and over again. Single family homes have the best fighting chance right now but prices must be low and competitive since the market just isn't a seller's one. Good luck!
1 vote
Jo Poulin, C…, Agent, Iron Mountain, MI
Wed Feb 23, 2011
Hi John,
I am a realtor in Morgantown, WV. I specialize in relocation. Our average time on the market is 180 days. If you are looking below $250,000 it is even quicker. We have been very lucky in Morgantown that our housing prices have not really decreased unless the value is over $350,000-400,000.

I moved to Morgantown about 4 years ago. I have lived all across the country and several years in the caribbean. My husband and I love Morgantown and hope to retire here. This is a wonderful community where people don't just take but give back!

As for the sale of your home. I think that you need to have a sit down with your realtor. Ask for an updated market anaylsis on your home. How long is it taking for similiar homes in your area and price range to sell. Do you need to add some kind of incentive to sell the home. Bonus to the selling realtor or money towards the buyers closing costs are a few.
How is your home being projected on the MLS? Do the interior pictures show well? Most home buyers research the internet before they contact a realtor. Is your home being featured on the important web sites?
Last but not least - do you need to paint or replace flooring. The exterior of your home is very important. Is the front door freshly painted? Is the shrubbery cut back or is it hiding everything?

I hope this helps you!
Jo Poulin, CRP, ABR
0 votes
Jeanne Feeni…, Agent, Basking Ridge, NJ
Thu Feb 18, 2010
Hi John, I cannot comment on the time to sell in Morgantown, WV - I'll leave that to the local agents. It is a simple calculation that you can apply to your own situation or the market you are hoping to move to -- total active listings divided by the number that have gone under contract in the last 30 days = the time to sell expressed in months. This is a good gauge to understand market conditions and also to manage expectations.

Now on to your situation on the home selling front. if your home has been on the market this long without activity or offers, you need to examine the price. I'd also talk with your agent about the marketing plan - including frequence of Open Houses - to see if there is room to adjust/improve.

But make no mistake, no traffic - no offers - you need to adjust your price. Get it right and your home will sell. Across markets and price points, it is a universal - and unavoidable truth.

Good luck to you from New Jersey!
Jeanne Feenick http://www.WarrenRealEstateAgent.com
Web Reference:  http://www.feenick.com
0 votes
Robin Hill, Agent, Fairmont, WV
Thu Feb 18, 2010
Hi John,

Did your current agent present the comparables to you prior to listing your home? Did you price your home using the price per square foot recommended by the sold comparables in the last 6 months? It is very important to do this because the first 5 - 6 weeks of your home being on the market is the key to selling your home. If your home is not priced appropriately it will not matter how many open houses your Realtor has. No amount of pricey advertising, brochures will matter if your home is over priced.

The Morgantown, WV market is very good right now due to the tax credit incentives. Homes tend to be on the market from a couple of days for a cash offer to 130 - 160 days depending on the buyers bank. The banks are very selective and very careful with their underwriting and appraisal paperwork at this time. The banks do not want the loans that are underwritten by the federal government to be sent back to them. (if there is a problem with the paperwork, the bank has to purchase the loan themselves)

I hope that all of the above helps you.
Robin Hill, MA ABR Realtor
0 votes
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