Mar 10

Sellers – Being Competitive In A Buyer’s Market


Sellers – Being Competitive In A Buyer’s Market
Written by Bill Barksdale

As I mentioned in a recent article, there are really two real estate markets happening right now.  One is the normal market where you put your house up for sale.  The other is the “distress properties” market made up of REO’s (Lender-0wned foreclosures) & Short Sales.  Those distressed properties are being put on the market at below market value prices and that is lowering the market value of houses.

Brian Tracy, a motivational speaker, has what he calls The Law of Subjective Value which he defines as “All value is in the eye of the beholder.  There is no set value for anything.  Something is only worth what someone else is willing to pay.  The person willing to pay ultimately determines the true value of any item.”

We saw this “law” work itself out in the Seller’s Market of a few years ago when home prices rose to pretty much an all-time-high.  Now we are seeing it work out as a Buyer’s Market where buyers have a relatively large number of choices.  Some homes are priced very low, mostly the distressed properties, and some of those are getting multiple offers which is driving their prices up, even through they are still selling low.

As a seller of a non-distress property how do you compete?  My website has some helpful hints for both Buyers & Sellers.  Here is some of what I talk about for sellers, plus some additional advise for this very competitive market.

PRICE is number one right now.  If you borrowed a lot of equity out of your house when it was easy to do so, you may have already spent your equity.  If you bought at the top of the market you may have lost value and not be in a competitive bargaining position.  If you bought long enough ago and didn’t spend your equity you may be in a good place to compete in this market.

A seller has to be real about what their home is worth in this market.  Have a good real estate agent show you what similar sized homes on similar sized lots have sold for in the past four or five months.  Don’t fall into the trap of saying to yourself, “but my home is a lot better than any of those”.  Is it “a lot better” or is that just your mental equity talking?  The market does not have the same emotional attachment to your house that you do.  And – this is very important – buyers don’t care what you “have to get” to move on.  All they care about is getting the best deal.  It’s impersonal and has nothing to do with you.  So Number 1, price it properly.

CURB APPEAL & CONDITION.  What does your house look like when someone drives up?  Remember the rule of “First Impression”.  How does it smell?  There’s an old saying in real estate “If I smell it, I can’t sell it?”  What condition is it in?  Many of the “distressed” properties are not in that great of condition, and many buyers what something that is in good condition so having your house in peak condition can give you an a substantial advantage with some buyers. .

This is the easy one.  Paint or fix anything that is nicked & bruised.  Get a pest report on your house before you put it on the market.  Don’t wait for the buyer to get a pest report so they can bargain your price down once you have an accepted offer.  Shampoo the carpets.  DECLUTTER - Haul the junk in the yard away to the dump.  Take the stuff in your house that you no longer use, including clothes that no longer fit or you don’t wear, to the Senior Center or some other thrift store.  If it’s good stuff call KZYX radio on Saturday morning and sell it on Trading Time, or run an ad in the paper.  There are also consignment stores in Santa Rosa that will sell it for you for a price.

Have your landscaping looking great.  Have colorful flowers in pots.  Haul away debris.  NO DEAD CARS.

PETS.  If you have pets, keep them clean.  Don’t let them bother buyers as they look at your house.  Keep cat boxes very clean.  Wash pet bedding.  Clean woodwork and walls that are dirty from pets rubbing on them.  Clean up dog poop in the yard.

YOUR AGENT.  Have a good, fully engaged agent handle the selling of your property.  I know this sounds self-serving.  It’s up to you.  An agent will take care of the advertising, networking with other agents, showings, contracts and all the many details of getting your house sold.  Even a good agent is having a challenging time these days.  Doing it yourself is inviting trouble. About 95% of buyers look on the internet now.  A well connect agent will have your house on multiple web sites for maximum exposure plus the Multiple Listing Service, the largest source of buyers.

Here is the long and the short of it.  Be the best house on the market with a good agent providing optimal marketing.  You’ll enjoy living in the house while it’s on the market, and it will be more likely to attract a buyer.

This is a challenging market.  Give yourself every advantage.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR, Bill Barksdale: I have been selling real estate in the Willits/Mendocino Co. market for over 18 years. I can be reached at Coldwell Banker Mendo Realty Inc. PH: 707.459.8888 or Email me at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . I hope you will find my site (Bill Barksdale's Real Estate Site) of use to your home buying or selling a home now or in the future.

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