Today’s market is a very mixed bag when it comes to how fast a home will sell. Some homes sell within a few days of being listed while others languish. According to recent MLS statistics, the average time on the market for sold properties has dropped from 58 days to 49. But the average time on the market for active listings is 79 days. What these stats tell me is that if your home has not received an acceptable purchase and sale contract within the first thirty days, something has gone wrong either with the marketing, the price or the property itself.
Everyone, and I mean everyone, shops for a new home on Zillow. I wish they didn’t because the website is slow to respond to price adjustments and its estimates are way off true value, due in part to the fact that Alaska is a non-disclosure state. Nevertheless, it’s there and is the number one search engine for buying a new home so your marketing needs to compete and by that I mean with professional photos. I love my iPhone camera and all its settings but when it comes to selling property, hire a professional photographer. That’s step number one. Start your photo sequence, or video, as if you are a buyer entering the home. Move from the entry to the great room to the kitchen, up the stairs to the master bedroom and bath. Everything else is secondary. Now, that you’ve got that accomplished, select where you’re going to publish them—whether through MLS, print or other online opportunities plus social media. In today’s world, you and the home need to be everywhere. Online marketing hasn’t totally replaced print but the idea that it was going to cost less was just a marketing gimmick. Placement, inputting and managing the data is every bit as costly as print.
If you’re being properly and aggressively marketed, then your home may be priced incorrectly. There are approximately one hundred more homes for sale in Anchorage than a year ago and the number of closed sales is down year to date by 3%. That means if you are truly motivated to sell your home you need to be priced in the bottom third of the suggested range of value. Yes, you may have upgraded your home with granite countertops and laminate flooring while the home down the street has not been upgraded but that only means in today’s market that your home has a competitive edge, not necessarily more value.
With seventy-five percent of homes built between 1970 and 1990, I have changed my position regarding a pre-home inspection paid for by the seller prior to putting the home on the market. I am now recommending that sellers, particularly with older homes, pay for their own home inspection so that they are aware of some of the potential deficiencies that will need to be corrected. This pre-home inspection will also give them a realistic assessment of the condition of their home which most sellers, who have lived in their home for ten or twenty years, may not fully comprehend.
This is the third year of Alaska’s real estate recession and although there’s good news for potential recovery on the horizon, including the recent upgrade of Alaska’s bond rating from negative to stable, this summer we’ve begun to feel the negative impact of the recession on the housing market. But, what that also means, now is a smart time to buy a home.