Know your obligations. Put more bluntly, know the law. This applies to those selling a house with or without a listing agent. And, whatever advice is directed at sellers often applies to buyers, and vice… More
For Sale, or grave marker? Honestly, it is sometimes hard to tell which it is.
Unless a house sits at the end of a cul-de-sac the first thing a buyer sees is the yard sign. This featured photo is not staged, it was the greeting I received upon arrival.
I can’t image an agent installing a sign for a new listing in any manner other than perfect, as it is a reflection on the profession and is part of the first impression buyers associate with a house. I can only image the buyer later referring to this house as, “the one with the falling down sign”.
Assuming signs are plumb when first installed, a sign that is leaning over or worse can indicate:
- agent does not live in the area,
- on the market for an extended period of time,
- does not show well,
- seller is not motivated,
- over priced, and/or
- agent and seller have lost interest.
It seems that I witness yard signs in mourning for just as many luxury estates as lower priced property. This is very surprising as I would expect the market to demand better at the upper price ranges as sellers at the lower end to surmise it is what it is.
With that said, the perfect presentation has a short shelf life when it comes to delivering maximum impact on a seller’s net at closing. And although the best marketing in the world cannot sell an overpriced property the yard sign is still on public display, not under a bushel basket. It is for this reason that I’ve been known to replace a bent sign or one plastered with grass clippings (thanks to the lawn maintenance crew) to order to keep the appearance of a fresh, new listing.
One chance to be NEW. Similar to, “You Get Only One Chance To Make A First Impression”.
Deciding to sell is a big deal. It is also exciting and fun to share your plans.
Once the public hears a house is for sale, from quite conversation with neighbors, friends, a FSBO sign, through services like NextDoor.com or the all-out full-blown publication on consumer home search websites and MLS, a baseline, for better or worse, has been established. This becomes THE first impression and first shot at being new inventory for buyer consideration.
Recovering from a False Start can be a challenge and in my experience almost always results in a lower net at closing and more days on market. (see below)
I associate the term False Start with two conditions.
- Broadly speaking, anything that adds to the days on market and/or reduces the net at closing, and
- More specifically, a listing that ends without a sale (expired / withdrawn), a sale or pending listing that incurs price reductions in order to attract an acceptable offer, and an active listings that has been on the market longer than the average amount of time.
Efforts to recover from a False Start may include one or more of the following activities.
- Reduce the price
- Withdraw the listing or let it expire in order to re-list to appear “new”
- Change the description/remarks
- Change the photos
- Offer buyer and/or agent special incentives
- Change and/or stage the house to address buyer/agent feedback (i.e., new paint color, new carpet, etc)
- Schedule additional Open House and/or Caravan days
- Spend additional advertising dollars (marketing to buyers and/or agents) on social media, print material, etc.
- Contact surrounding neighborhoods (by phone and/or mail)
It is my personal experience that these actions, beyond the first two, have a very low return for the effort (the proverbial needle in the haystack) and generally produce more benefits for the agent than the seller.
Deciding to sell is simple. Preparing to sell with the objective to net more in less time takes careful planning and execution because there is just one opportunity to be truly NEW and have the buyer come away with a positive experience.
Avoiding False Start conditions produces a huge win for the seller. Here are some facts based on hours of YTD 2018 data gathering using my area of focus (the higher value Walton High School single family detached resales in just four elementary schools (East Side, Mount Bethel, Sope Creek, and Timber Ridge). Find more stats by elementary school and price range on MillerGroupRealty.com.
A gradual decrease in the SP/OLP% is experienced as the List Price increases; however, the SP/OLP% is significantly higher for those that go under contract without incurring price reductions.
Shown above is the drastic difference in terms of Seller Days On Market when price changes are and are not involved. Sellers listing their house at the right price have a totally different view of the market than their counterparts. At the end of the day it is not about the “market” but starting at the “right price”. (The Miller Group Realty SDOM more accurately reflects the seller’s true effort to sell in contrast to the often quoted Total Days On Market stat which falls short of more accurately recording the events when more than one listing is used to produce a sale.)
The above chart illustrates the percentage of sellers that become “spectators” rather than true “participants” in the race to actually transfer title to a new owner. Spectators are those that go on the market and fail in their efforts to sell because either they were not serious about selling or are ill advised before or during in the process. Participants are those that actually cross the finish line…close on the sale!
Not surprising is that the number of False Starts increases as the home value increases. I owe this dynamic to the challenge of identifying the right price for luxury property. Deciding to sell is simple. Selling with the dual goal in mind to net more in less time requires someone with keen local knowledge, significant experience, and a business model and approach to selling that provides the best opportunity to sidestep the False Starts to achieve this delicate balance.
I welcome an invitation to discuss these findings in more detail. The best way to reach me is via mobile number 678-933-7780 and Brady@MillerGroupRealty.com.
What is “right pricing” and why is it so important?
For me, “right pricing” is the research and analysis that goes into identifying a price range and a pricing strategy.
The end result is a specific price that will prompt offers. Too low and the house may sell quickly but at lower price resulting in a lower net at closing. Too high and the house may never sell without one of more price adjustments and then, like the too-low scenario, may generate less cash at closing.
My experience tells me that the right price must be within certain limits to attract offers, and those limits vary with the value of the property and amount of time it has been exposed to the market.
The penalty for overpricing is huge, both in days on market and net at closing, and not to mention the additional emotional stress and the negative impact it can have on many areas of life. No one expects to become the one to catch what I refer to as Seller Fatigue but it will materialize over time, and it can take as little as 30 days.
I dig into the details to be in a position to give my clients real numbers generated from my area of focus (i.e., the higher value resale Walton High School homes in just four elementary schools: East Side, Mount Bethel, Sope Creek and Timber Ridge). This effort is necessary because the MLS search and reporting capabilities don’t provide this micro market detail (which is so important for those in Walton) nor does the firm Keller Williams Realty hires to produce custom stats.
It is also important to understand that the MLS reporting does not always (in fact, most of the time) illustrate the real challenge facing sellers. My SDOM (Seller Days On Market) captures the full number of days the property has been exposed to the market which can be significantly different from the TDOM (Total Days On Market) reported by the MLS due to their restrictive guidelines.
Another must-know, but not reported, is the number of days that transpire from the last price change to when a listing goes under contract and ends with a sale. It is important to have this information as a guide when considering the timing of price changes.
In general, as house value increases, so does the amount of time it takes go under contract (aka, Binding Date). Also interesting is that the data reveals that listings go under contract in less time when the house was first listed for sale with the right price (i.e., price changes were not involved) compared to the elapsed time from the last price change to the Binding Date for those listings incurring price changes.
Picking the right price is simple, but not easy. The benefits are clearly in favor of getting the price right, right out of the gate! One can be lucky and guess the right price, or improve the odds by hiring a Realtor with hyperlocal market concentration and expertise…Brady Miller, 678-933-7780.
My seller asked this question recently, and on another occasion I set out to see what the numbers would say about a house a client was about to purchase.
Since I concentrate on the higher value Walton High School homes in East Side, Mt Bethel, Sope Creek and Timber Ridge I used this market to illustrate the challenge.
As shown below the results are can vary widely depending on the start and end periods. Starting in an off month (such as January) and ending in a peak period (such as July) can set the wrong expectation.
- May ’08 to August ’18: 29.0%
- May ’08 to July ’18: 17.1%
- May ’08 to June ’18: 9.1%
- May ’08 to May ’18: 8.9%
- May ’08 to April ’18: 0.3%
- June ’08 to August ’18: 51.8%
- June ’08 to July ’18: 37.7%
- June ’08 to June ’18: 28.4%
- June ’08 to May ’18: 28.1%
- June ’08 to April ’18: 18.0%
Perhaps the answer is that your house is primarily a place to call home and secondarily an investment. The appreciation is what it is.
Call me when curious about the price of your home, and especially so if it falls in this area, $600,000+, and has not been previously listed as you only get one chance to truly be “new” inventory for buyers to consider.
This question is probably second only to, “How’s the market?”
I find most people are looking for a month or season. The typical response is usually not an answer but information that may already be known; i.e., higher prices in the peak season (spring/summer) mean more homes on the market, while lower prices in the off season (late summer/winter) are associated with less inventory and seemingly fewer buyers.
My reply is a 2-part answer and perhaps unexpected.
First, when to sell should be when you are ready, regardless of the time of year. Is there a life event driving the move? Do you have time to prepare the house? Is the social calendar full?
Second, when to sell should be within the first 2 to 3 weeks of putting the house on the market. It is rare for a house to look as pristine months later. Buyers intuitively know there is more room to negotiate months later. Owners develop what I refer to as “Seller’s Fatigue” which can lead to poor decisions.
Take a look at this chart showing the resale average sales price of single family detached Walton High School homes in East Side, Mount Bethel, Sope Creek and Timber Ridge. It identifies the two months for the past 10 years with the highest average sales prices. Two observations:
- The customary seasonal low-price months (cool blue) offered some of the highest prices in 2008 – 2015.
- Recent years have been consistent with the pattern usually expected; i.e., highest prices in the spring and early summer (hot red).
Maybe the housing recession and early recovery had a role to play in this unexpected results and things are now more “normal” in this post-recovery period.
I can provide plenty of evidence to demonstrate the importance / benefits of being under contract sooner than later. And the number of sellers that do, without resorting to price reductions, may be surprising. Avoiding what I term as a “False Start” has a lot to do with starting at the right price.
Contact me when you have thoughts of selling, regardless of the time of year.
The $720,521 average resale sales price last month for Walton High School homes in East Side, Mount Bethel, Sope Creek and Timber Ridge Elementary Schools breaks the $700k barrier for the first time as shown in the following chart which compares 2018 to the single highest month in 2008 – 2017.
Real estate websites offer various search capabilities. Those used by agents are the most robust; however, many standard and semi-automated reporting aggregate data by city, county, or a region referred to as an “area”. Most consumers are limited to searching by map, zip, city or what some may term “neighborhood”. Who knows what goes into the algorithms of the online valuation models such as Zillow’s Zestimate.
The ability to search by school is invaluable because attendance lines don’t follow typical classifications or “natural” boundaries like roadways or rivers.
Here are examples of the dilemma faced when trying to get real estate market information for Walton High School in East Cobb.
- County is too broad, as it is just 1 of 16 high schools in the Cobb County School District.
- Zip is better but only about 40% of the homes in 30062, 30067 and 30068 are zoned for Walton
- MLS Area is worse than using ZIP codes as only about 25% of the homes in Areas 81, 82 and 83 are assigned to Walton.
The Walton High School reputation is a major contributing factor to home prices. Being able to dissect the market by high school is key.
It is our commitment to the area and focus on the higher value Walton High School homes that enables us to personally produce the stats on MillerGroupRealty at the elementary school level for various price ranges.
Contact us when moving comes to mind. We promise you’ll be Moved By The Experience.