We live in a gated community near everything and have easy access to the interstate. We are attempting to sell our home on our own, since nobody knows our home like we do. We realize it is very important for us to not over sell, but that will be very difficult for my husband.
To date, we have listed our home on the local multiple listing service (MLS) with a discount broker, as suggested in your recent article. We have also listed the home on Zillow.com and are looking to get on other real estate sites as well.
Do you have any suggestions? We do an open house every Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. (we’ve only had two so far). There are other homes in our development also doing open houses on Sundays — one just three doors down. We put out our open house signs and attach a cluster of red, white and blue balloons on the signs.
We have de-cluttered and done some staging, hired a professional real estate photographer, created a virtual tour, left all the lights on for open house, especially custom lighting, played soft music, had a photo album sitting on the kitchen island with photographs of construction, insurance info, survey, etc. We also had a platter of an assortment of cookies for our prospective buyer, as well as contracts on hand, an attorney or title company lined up for closing.
We’ve been told that our buyer will be the one who picks everything apart as opposed to the person who loves everything about the home. Do you think we are on the right track with what we’ve done so far?
My husband does have sales experience. He was in the RV industry for 25 years and sold RVs that were in the $300,000 range. The only difference is our home is priced a bit higher, has no wheels and does not move. Would you look at our listing and see if you can offer any advice or suggestions?
We took a look at your listing through the link you provided. Your home is lovely and certainly looks ready to sell. And it sounds as though you’ve taken a lot of steps to create an inviting opportunity for buyers.
The nice thing about Zillow is it tells you what the other homes for sale in your neighborhood are listed at, in addition to details, such as size and amenities. We even perused photos of your competition so we could do a side-by-side comparison with yours.
The biggest problem you have is that your home is priced at $699,000, or about $300,000 higher than any of the other homes for sale in your neighborhood. We don’t know if that’s because prices fell during the Great Recession and haven’t recovered or if you simply built a home that’s significantly larger and more luxurious than the market can support. Or you could be completely unrealistic about price.
Creating what used to be known as a “white elephant,” or the biggest, nicest home on the block is always a dangerous move, especially when you’re twice as expensive as any other home for sale. You’re asking someone to come in and buy the most expensive home on the block, which then won’t appreciate in value until another house sells for more. That’s a tall order.
How did you settle on this price? Did you do any research into what price homes sold? Did you invite any local real estate agents to come in and give you a comparative marketing analysis (CMA)? The agents would have toured your home, presented you with “comps,” or sales of comparable homes in the neighborhood, and then told you how they’d market your home for sale.
If you had done this, we’re pretty sure the agents would have told you that your home should be priced less, simply because of what else is for sale in the area.
This probably won’t be welcome news, and perhaps you’ve truly spent a fortune on this property. But that won’t change the outcome. What you should do is invite several local real estate agents from different firms in to view your home and do a CMA. Listen to their advice about how much your home is worth. Then you can decide whether to change your list price.
If you decide to leave your home priced where it is, you’re probably in for a long wait. You might otherwise look into renting your home, if there are families earning at least $200,000 to $300,000 per year, which is what you’d need in income to carry a home priced at $699,000.
If your home is, as we suspect, wildly overpriced for the neighborhood, you’ll have another issue if you manage to sell it — having an appraiser validate the purchase price of the home based on local comps. This is important because, if the appraiser can’t corroborate the value based on local sales figures, a bank won’t approve the buyer’s mortgage.
You should spend some time visiting the other homes for sale in the neighborhood, and we strongly suggest you bring in some real estate agents for a heartfelt discussion about pricing and strategy. Then consider hiring one to help you out. When you’re selling the highest priced home in an area, you should have someone out there helping spread the word. If you decide to lower the price significantly, then you can continue to try to sell on your own.
Hopefully, you have lived in your lovely home long enough that you’ll be able to walk away without losing money and perhaps will perhaps even pocket some cash after closing. Otherwise, you might want to stay in the home for some years to come, enjoy the home and wait for the market and neighborhood to catch up with your home and the improvements you’ve made.
Ilyce R. Glink’s latest book is “Buy, Close, Move In!” Samuel J. Tamkin is a Chicago-based real estate lawyer. You can call Glink’s radio show (800-972-8255) from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sundays. You can contact Glink and Tamkin at thinkglink.com.