Richards Real Estate


Q. After houses selling really fast, I decided to list and now my house is just sitting. My Realtor says the price is right, so, has the market turned down again? C.S. Rio Vista

A. There’s a combination of things that could slow the sale of your home. Of course, price is the main driving force, but such things as curb appeal, approach to the front door, staging, paint, general condition, and landscaping. You say the house is priced right, so let’s look at a couple of these issues.

Curb appeal: When parking in front to view the home, the lawn should be green, edged, and recently cut (weekly at minimum). Any shrubs should be neatly trimmed and attended for their intent; example, an oleander bush should not become an oleander tree! The structure should reflect serviceable or new paint, and the entryway to the front door should be clean and free of clutter. The front door is the ambassador to how you maintain the home, it should have fresh paint.

Inside staging: Get your Realtor to advise you on how to best present the furnishings you have there and drag clutter and extra furnishings to the garage, presenting open space and lots of light. If you have to re-carpet, do it. You will pay for carpet anyway with offers adjusting down to cover fix up.

Paint: this is the most inexpensive bang for your buck; make the paint fresh with crisp edging and no over-paint.

The extra effort on front landscaping should reflect all around the house, and any throwaway piles of junk in the back yard should be hauled away.

The general condition should reflect an opportunity to move in without having to fix anything, otherwise the price needs to drop to cover bringing the home to move in ready.

Considering all this, the market from time to time just slows down and takes a breather before ramping back up, which I believe it will.

Keep in mind that houses don’t have a price; they have a value range based on all the factors listed here, plus adjustments for location and neighborhood. To be at the top of your range, you need to reflect a strong pride of ownership.

Q. When is the best time to sell, should I wait ‘till summer to see if prices go up? S.T. Rio Vista

A. If you are going to buy another home, and then the time value of your money is now. That is, if you sell for more later, you will also pay more at that time as well, so what you can afford would be the same.

I hear all kinds of reasoning for the best time to buy or sell, what time of year, don’t put anything up for sale at tax time or Christmas; all these are fairy tales. Houses sell every month of the year, and the surge or decline of sales has more to do with available loans and interest rates than the weather or which holiday is at hand. Certain market conditions like a glut of homes for sale could slow the market, or scarcity of listings could create multiple offers. New builds stir the market with a home having to be sold to buy the new one, and so on.

Loan rates are up around 1% over last year, but the conventional rate is only 4.2%, still a very low rate. The slightly higher rate has left some first time buyers unable to qualify due to the now higher payment, but sales are still good.

The hard part for a Realtor is planning some time off!

Posted on May 1, 2019 at 12:18 pm by Sam Richards

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