By Steve Levine
Over the last 25 years of selling homes here in our area, the goal has always been to focus on how to achieve the highest possible sales price for the home sellers that we represent. In virtually every case, however, finding what may seem to be the “best deal” is not always just about the money, but about taking into account a wide variety of factors.
Predominant among the things to consider, especially in this market would be the ability of the buyer to secure financing. With mortgages getting harder to come by, a seller with the opportunity to work with a cash buyer, for example, may be willing to accept a lower price, in exchange for the security that comes with knowing that financing isn's an issue. If a cash buyer isn's an option, find a buyer with the largest down payment, preferably over 20 percent, so that at least the mortgage process will be easier. Likewise, the closing date is a huge factor to consider.
With a home that has carrying costs of $5K/month, and a market that some would say is declining by 10 percent a year, an offer with a two-week closing at $410K could be far more appealing than a $430K offer with traditional financing. In the end, when looking at multiple offers, these are just a few of the factors that you absolutely need to take into account, over an above the simple glance at who may be offering the most.
I always try to speak a bit in each column about how sellers can achieve success in all markets. Surprisingly, I'se had many home sellers this year who, even in this marketplace, have been getting multiple over full price offers on their property within the first few days of hitting the market. Getting that to happen, however, is a full-time balance between the experience and skill of the agent and the trust and cooperation of the homeowner. It all starts with preparing the home to show its very best. One of the best investments I'se ever undertaken was the formation of a pre-listing squad of vendors to come in and do the “polish” work that's needed to make a home truly sparkle, while at the same time keeping the budget in mind. With such competition for a limited pool of buyers, it's important that the home truly shows its best at each and every opportunity.
Finding the best ways of reaching out to the buyers is more important now than ever. Certainly, with the technology out there today, it's easy for some to sit back and hope that someone sees the home online and walks in to buy it, but the personal touch is a huge asset.Your agent needs to go over and above by reaching out directly to their peers in the industry, promoting your home as one they may want to show, and rolling out the red carpet when they have someone interested. I had an experience recently, for example, where I asked a listing agent to meet me at a home to answer some questions and discuss a potential offer, and the agent basically told me they were too busy and had nothing to add. I was more shocked with that reply than I'se ever been, but alas there were more surprises to come from that deal.
For now, the takeaway lesson is simple: analyze offers on all the details, prepare your home as best as you can for the market, make sure your agent is working outside the box to get your home sold. Until then….
Steve Levine is President of Steve Levine Inc. and an agent at REMAX Prestige. He can be reached at [email protected] or by phone at 508 735-4663.