Story from HeraldNet.com, November 26, 2006
Summer, the prime time for selling a home, was approaching and Jeanne and Eric Mehan wanted to sell fast.
In the rush to sell before fall, the Woodinville couple acted on some bad advice.
Put it on the market, full of clutter, not cleaned, at top price, even if it’s not ready, advised their real estate agent. Let’s market your home to a flipper, someone who wants to buy it, fix it and resell. Let’s see if we get a nibble and you can work on it in the meantime, the agent told them.
Wow, that was some bad advice. Weren’t the flippers mostly gone by fall?
The agent took marketing photos of the laundry room with the toilet seat up and dirty clothes piled on the floor – with his cell phone camera.
The Mehans’ house got some foot traffic and a few offers for half the $475,000 asking price. Meanwhile, the precious summer season faded. The agent suggested pulling the property off the market and re-listing.
Half of the asking price! Now we’re talking…
“At that point I wanted nothing more to do with him. I fired him,” Jeanne Mehan said.
Now it was fall and the holidays were around the corner. Could they sell their home quickly during a traditionally soft market?
The months before Christmas are often considered a difficult time to sell a home. Potential buyers are hunkered down for the holidays and sellers don’t want to mess with listing a home during those busy months, the thinking goes.
Fewer people are buying single-family homes and condominiums in November, December and January, according to statistics kept by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.
Pending sales were at their highest last year in June, with 8,896 recorded in King, Snohomish, Pierce and Kitsap counties. By December, sales had dipped to almost half of that, with 4,837 recorded.
That doesn’t mean selling is going to be a cakewalk. Houses need to be priced what they’re worth, agents need to market homes aggressively and sellers need to be willing to clean and fix problems, Deptuch said.
Buyers are pickier than ever, she said. Buyers expect the walls to be painted and the carpet to be in good shape. They want homes clean and free of clutter. Buyers want to walk into a home and feel like it could be theirs, she said.
The Mehans moved extra belongings into storage and hired professional cleaners. They painted the house in and out, replaced dated garage doors and put in a new lawn. The house got new light fixtures, doors and carpets.
The result: the couple put their house on the market for $429,999. Within a dozen days they received three offers and a sale is pending.
Don’t you just love a happy ending?
(Debra Smith, HeraldNet.com, 11.26.2006)