Sellers around the country are finding it increasingly difficult to sell their homes. Two years ago sellers could put their homes on the market and slap a for sale sign in the yard, and buyers would inevitably come. As an agent in New Plymouth, I feel very fortunate to live in a city with a good real estate market compared to most other markets around the country. But, even in New Plymouth’s market, sellers are becoming frustrated with not being able to sell their homes. If you’ve listed your home with no success, you may want to considertaking it off the market, even if it’s just for a short time.
How long has your home been listed? The time it takes to sell a home (Days on Market) depends on your local real estate market. In New Plymouth at present this is approx 51 days – up from 38 the previous year. This is only the average. But in any market, if it’s been listed for 9 or more months without any success, you should consider your options: take it off the market for a while, find another listing agent, or make a considerable price reduction.
How many showings per week does your home receive? Showings are also a market sensitive number. If your home is getting fewer showings than your competition is, it’s due to price or to marketing. (your agent can tell you this) Be sure to look over your marketing, make sure you show off your home’s best features. Sometimes replacing dark pictures or rewriting your remarks section can be an easy fix for getting more showings. Since there are so many homes on the market, buyers are having to do a lot of shopping (and eliminating) on the internet. So, make sure your home gets on buyers’ lists of homes to see!
Have you received any offers from buyers? Again, this depends on the market. But, a safe rule is if your home has been on the market for 9 months with no offers, it’s going to take some drastic changes to get an offer. After a home has sat on the market for a while, buyers often think there is something wrong with the home and won’t put in an offer to buy it. If you have received offers on your home and decided not to take them, then you may have learned that buyers are making low ball offers left and right in this market. There are a lot of unrealistic buyers who think they can negotiate 20% off a listing. As a seller, you have no control of the offers that you get. But, be reasonable. There are a lot of unrealistic sellers, too, who think they can get more for their homes than the statistics show. The main thing is be flexible and work with everything you get.
How badly do you need to sell? Of course you wouldn’t have listed your home if you didn’t need or want to sell it. But, do you absolutely need to sell or move right now? If so, and if you haven’t gotten any offers, you may want to consider renting out your home. A lot of sellers are choosing to rent their home out instead. It’s a lot easier to rent a home right now than it is to sell one. So, at least consider this option.
Is your home priced competitively? If you’ve reached the lowest point you want to go in your asking price with no success, you may want to list again later when the market has balanced out. If you look at the statistics, in most neighborhoods the very lowest priced homes are the ones that are being sold. Of course it depends on the neighborhood, but buyers are wanting a good deal in this market. Homes are going under contract everyday – but, they are only the homes that are priced competitively.
All of these factors depend on your real estate market. So, be sure to ask your listing agent how your home is doing compared to other homes for sale in the same price range and area. He or she should be able to provide you with statistics for recent sales and showings. This will give you a good idea of where you stand in the competition. And, if your home isn’t fairing well, it would probably be better to take it off the market for a while. Most real estate analysts think the market will show a significant change around the spring of 2009. So, don’t feel like you’d be taking your home off the market forever. But, if you can wait to list again in the next 8 to 12 months, real estate markets in most places are expected to pick up significantly by then. After all, this strong buyers’ market won’t last forever!