Spring has come.

Winter is coming to a close and it is finally beginning to look like spring outside. Spring always brings with it one thing in real estate-- open houses and increasing sales. You can properly tour a home and view it in its prime, as plant life begins to sprout again around it. It adds a certain beauty and appeal to the search process and allows visitors to truly see the property without the hindrances of deep snow. Many begin their home search in the spring time, with the expectation of closing and moving over the summer months while their children are on summer vacation.

If you are thinking a listing a property in the near future, take a couple things into consideration. The current average number of days on market has slightly lengthened and property value has slightly decreased. This means your home will take slightly longer than normal to sell and may sell for a slightly lower price than expected (closer to 2007 prices). 

Prudent Realtors will bring you a Comparative Market Analysis on your home to help guide you to price your property at a reasonable value. The Comparative Market Analysis takes recent sales data of similar homes in the area and compares them with the listing property to help determine a fair market value and develop a price that will make the property sell the quickest and for the most value. It will take some recently sold properties, some recently expired properties and some currently active properties that have similar characteristics or features and base the price upon these. Sold properties usually indicate pricing that was somewhat reasonable. Expired properties usually indicate inflated pricing or major problems with the property, although sometimes it is an unwillingness of a seller to budge on pricing or conditions or poor marketing done by the Realtor.

Unfortunately, difficult financial times are often associated with less than reputable business practices. In real estate this can translate to what we call "buying a listing". Essentially the Realtor presents the seller with an overly optimistic sales price for the home, doubtful that it will actually sell for this price in the hopes that he or she can "buy" the listing by suggesting the seller will receive a higher sale price. They expect to talk the seller down every couple of weeks to lower and lower pricing.

Why would they do this? Sometimes homeowners have inflated perceptions of their home value, but mostly, it is done by unscruptulous Realtors who are desperate for listings.  The best way to protect yourself? Find a Realtor you can trust, and review all the materials they bring to you. If they suggest a certain price, ask them for proof to back this up.

Interview at least 3 Realtors and get their Comparative Market Analysis. Look at the criteria they are using to determine the value of your home. Are all three using the same comparable material, and where do they differ? Are they using current data (from the last 2 months)? Are they using reasonable comparable properties to your home? Are they taking into consideration the solds, expireds and active listings? If you are unsure, ask.

One high pricing may seem like a dream come true, but after weeks on the market, you may be singing a different tune. Protect yourself up front and ensure you are pricing the property properly. Listing too high will scare away potential buyers or limit them from even searching or viewing your property. Staleness will creep in, and as your price drops, fewer and fewer viewers will be attracted. Get the price right the first time and save yourself the hassle.

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