My personal story on how I bought and sold a home in this market is not exactly atypical. My family was expecting a third child – a girl this time – which made the house I sold much too small. For my wife and I and the two boys, a two bedroom rambler was tight, but livable. But when the girl came along, it was much too small. So, even in this market, we went looking for a new place to call home.
Soon, we found a place. With five bedrooms and a nice yard, it was perfect. However, we could not afford to own two houses at the same time. We quickly put the rambler up for sale.
Did I mention the rambler had been hit by lightning the previous spring? After six months of insurance problems, fixing, and re-fixing all the problems caused by the lightning had been resolved to the tune of $43,000. So the house had new paint, new light fixtures, new ceiling and new electrical wiring. At the time I went to sell the house, I though this might be a wash in terms of desirablity.
However, it increase the attractiveness of the house (and because it really was a first time homeowners house) we followed the advice of our realtor and added a home owners warranty. What this did was product the buyer for a year for any leftover electrical problems.
In the meantime, we took a second mortgage out on the house we owned in order to buy the house we wanted to buy. At this time point, I have got two mortgages with a serious urge to get one of them paid off. Each month that I did not sell the home would cost me an extra $1400. So one could call me a motivated seller.
While the bank wanted me to sell the house for the market value it was appraised at, my realtor told me that this was last years value and that I had to be realistic in what I expected due to the current market conditions. After a small amount of research in current selling prices, I followed my realtor’s advice and priced the home slightly under what other houses in my neighborhood had sold for.
Within the first week, we had our first offer. We chose to decline. It was significantly under the price I had already set slightly lower than market value. In the second week, we had two solid offers. We allowed the two potential buyers to play off each other and they managed to bid up the price a little bit. We sold the home and a few weeks closed on the home.
The moral of the story: In this market, be realistic. Do not expect last years selling price. Finally, find a realtor you can trust and listen to him.