The snowbirds are on their way. This year, like many of the other years, the first signs of their return are the transport trucks delivering their automobiles.
To that end, let it be known that a winner of the Facebook “car hauler bingo 2011” contest is officially declared. Vivian M. of Bonita Springs spotted the first car hauler offloading a four door sedan with Ohio plates a few weeks ago.
Fall brings with it the early snowbirds, slightly cooler weather plus new hope for the seasonally stressed businesses … and homeowners yearning to sell their real estate over the next winter season.
If you’re about to list your home or your home sat unsold over the summer, it’s time to measure and compare with current market statistics and conditions so you can prepare for the winter season. After all, you’ll never know the progress of the real estate market without measuring periodically to check the results … or figuring out why there was a lack of results.
Why fix what isn’t broken? Take, for instance, the big three valuation and measurement tools in real estate; price, condition and location.
Price: The value of real estate is determined by collecting recent closed sale comparable data. Those closed sales should be as recent as possible and not more than six months old when listing the property to make sure that your real estate is priced within market range.
If your real estate was listed before summer, the comparable sales that were used to determine your old list price are as stale as yesterday’s doughnuts and you’re overdue for a fresh comparative market analysis.
You should also ask your real estate agent or the agent you’re interviewing to list your real estate for an absorption rate. You’ll want to find out how much inventory your home is competing with neighborhood wide or even in your home’s price range. Ideally, you should know how many months or years of inventory you’re competing with before you list and periodically throughout the listing period.
Condition: Home buyers are shopping long and hard for real estate before putting ink to paper. They have the benefit of comparing all of the competing real estate in a day or two. They hack through the field of available properties with a machete and get to the best of the best quickly. There is little opportunity for a second chance to get them back through the door once they’ve been turned off by something negative. It’s a downright shame if it was a correctable negative condition like cleanliness or neatness that turned them away.
Of course it’s a no-brainer that homes in better condition sell faster and closer to list price than the homes needing TLC. Sometimes, homeowners are a little too close to the forest to see the trees or their idea of clean is, well, different from what others may consider clean. Reevaluate the condition by taking a fresh look or get an outside, second opinion of the home’s cleanliness and readiness to show to perspective buyers.
Location: Whether it’s the actual neighborhood itself or where the home is located geographically within the neighborhood, the location can influence buyers positively or negatively. Compare apples to apples and be prepared to adjust the price to correct the differences. For example, two nearly identical homes, one on a lake and one backing up to a sound wall next Interstate 75, sport very different values.
A busy road or any other unattractive nuisance that can’t be remedied or removed is a form obsolescence which often can’t be corrected with anything but a price adjustment.
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Chris Griffith is a real estate agent at Downing-Frye Realty Inc. in Bonita Springs. If you have a question about local real estate or Bonita Springs, e-mail her at chris@LifeInBonitaSprings.com.