How-To: Sell Your Home in a Down Market

We spend a lot of time on here with posts directed toward helping home buyers to do their research and make smart decisions, but the housing market is made up of buyers and sellers, so let’s turn our attention toward home sellers.

Just a few short years ago, the home-selling process went something like this:

  1. Put your home on the market in any condition.
  2. Receive multiple offers within a month for 10-20% over asking price.
  3. Profit!

Sadly for you (the home seller), it’s not quite that easy any more. Average days on market for sold homes has gone from the mid-30s at the height of the bubble to the upper 80s today. Meanwhile, thousands of homes continue to sit on the market month after month, as the average time on market for unsold homes has climbed to nearly four months.

If your home is one of those that are sitting on the market unsold, or if you’re thinking about putting your house on the market, don’t just sit on your hands and hope that buyers will want to buy your home. The housing market is a competition, and you need to be proactive to grab the attention of a buyer pool that is much smaller than it was during the bubble.

In order of priority, here are the things you need to focus on and get right when you put your house on the market:

  1. Pricing
  2. Marketing
  3. Cleaning
  4. Extras

The first three are critical, and make up the absolute minimum requirements for what any home seller should do if they really want to sell their home for a fair market price. Unfortunately, many sellers only tackle #2 (i.e. – list it on the MLS), and then wonder why their home isn’t selling.

We will go into each of these points in detail with dedicated posts in the coming weeks, giving sellers the tools they need to appropriately price, market, and clean their homes to attract a buyer.

For today, I’d like to hear from anyone who has recently been successful at selling a home. What tips do you have for sellers that are watching their home sit on the market for months? What should a potential seller do before they list their home?

How-To: Sell Your Home in a Down Market

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About The Tim

Tim Ellis is the founder of Seattle Bubble. His background in engineering and computer / internet technology, a fondness of data-based analysis of problems, and an addiction to spreadsheets all influence his perspective on the Seattle-area real estate market. Tim also hosts the weekly improv comedy sci-fi podcast Dispatches from the Multiverse.

122 comments:

  1. 1

    HI TIM

    It would be a joke if no one has sucessfully sold a home lately, so the comments are blank.

  2. 2
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    I really think cleaning is a big issue, and one sellers didn’t understand very well until the last six months or so. The condition of the average property has really improved a lot.

    I think pricing is less important than it used to be, especially in the upper price ranges. Buyers are now looking at higher priced properties, well over what they can afford, expecting to make a lower offer. I’m not saying pricing is completely unimportant, because you will cut off some buyers. Just that it won’t completely cut you off from the market like it did before.

  3. 3
    DrShort says:

    I sold over a year ago, but my agent had some really good advice. It went something like “spend 1% of your home’s asking price on fixing up the most glaring cosmetic issues.” He also brought in a stager to help move my furniture around and tell me what those glaring cosmetic issues were. It also helped that he refunded almost 1% of the commission to make those cosmetic fixes.

    When you live in a house for 5+ years, you don’t have a good perspective of its flaws anymore. So having someone be honest about that was very helpful so I could fix it.

    Sold in 1 day at full asking price.

  4. 4
    Magnolia44 says:

    Sounds like you are preparing yourself for the turn! Do I sense “The Tim” real estate agent in your future?

    Kary sign this guy up

  5. 5
    mukoh says:

    The Tim would probably actually do well with solid clients who want down and serious market stats and no bs approach.

  6. 6
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    RE: Magnolia44 @ 4 – I’d say this is a down market topic. As noted by Tim, before you just had to put a sign out.

  7. 7
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    Tim wrote: “Average days on market for sold homes has gone from the mid-30s at the height of the bubble to the upper 80s today.”

    One thing I find interesting is the number that sell (get an offer they accept) within 30 days. For April that was over 38%. I think the lowest month I recall was about 33%, and as high as I’ve noticed it is just under 50% That is though 38% of the listings that sell, not 38% of all listings.

  8. 8
    The Tim says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 7 – Interesting. Not too surprising though. Those are the people that already have the 4 things listed above figured out. Or (more likely?) they have a truly good seller’s agent that knows what they’re doing, and they heed the agent’s advice.

  9. 9
    Greg Perry says:

    One of the biggest factors that both agents and sellers alike don’t consider is that as time builds in a declining market, the right price actually moves away from the Seller.

    Here is an old post that I did last June that discusses the issues of trying to catch up with a declining market.
    http://blog.seattlepi.com/realestate/archives/140217.asp

    I also have statistics from a real estate trainer that shows as market time builds, the odds of sale fall. 75% of all homes are sold within the first 30 days of coming onto the market OR after a a 3% or greater price reduction.

    There is a 13% chance of sale if market time is 30-60 days old
    There is an 8% chance if the market time of 60-90 days old.
    There is a 4% chance of sale if market time goes over 90 days.

    This information was recently verified with a market study of company inventory (the 30-60 day range actually had a slightly higher percentage in the live study!).

    Especially in declining markets, sellers must not only be priced sharply, but positioned ahead of the decline. Agents and sellers are often best served having a price reduction strategy in place as the property is going to market.

  10. 10
    Jason Imani says:

    Hi Tim,

    I am an avid reader, first time poster. Here are my thoughts:

    I think the list you have is a good start. I would say that how one markets a property has changed quite a bit, especially connecting your home to people who are online. Here’s what I have been doing for myself and other agents:

    1. Setup a website dedicated to the property, for example: http://www.mi7226.com. It needs to be super simple. In this case because the home is on Mercer Island, I used “MI” and the house #. Which leads to my second point.
    2. Put the website address on EVERYTHING. Create a rider that goes below your for sale sign that shows the address in big letters. The simpler the website address the easier it is to remember if someone is driving by and there are no brochures. The brochures should also have the website address, as well as any other places online and offline that you promote the property.
    3. What to put on the website: All the info that the MLS doesn’t allow for, such as more photos (MLS limit is 15, just in case people don’t know). Put extra about the house (MLS limit is 500 characters). DO NOT put crappy background music, lame videos, or other useless information. Just keep it simple and easy to navigate.
    4. Get good photos. When most people are trying to decide between which homes to visit online, they almost always chose the ones with professional photos…which goes back to your point of making the house look clean.
    5. Pay to market it online at these website, they get the most traffic: Zillow, Trulia, Yahoo & Realtor.com. The broker’s website are limited to MLS data (for the most part).

    Real estate marketing requires top-down AND a bottom-up approaches to connecting with a buyer…You need to market the home to real estate agents (top-down) who may or may not have clients. You also need to market from the bottom-up…which means directly to people, hence why all the effort to create a website, have good photography, etc. As we know, most people use the internet to search first these days.

    Thanks!

  11. 11
    Greg Perry says:

    By DrShort @ 3:

    I sold over a year ago, but my agent had some really good advice. It went something like “spend 1% of your home’s asking price on fixing up the most glaring cosmetic issues.” He also brought in a stager to help move my furniture around and tell me what those glaring cosmetic issues were. It also helped that he refunded almost 1% of the commission to make those cosmetic fixes.

    When you live in a house for 5+ years, you don’t have a good perspective of its flaws anymore. So having someone be honest about that was very helpful so I could fix it.

    Sold in 1 day at full asking price.

    This was good advice. Your agent was on top of it!

  12. 12
    Greg Perry says:

    The 3 things that cause a home to sell in this market, or any other market is this:

    In order:
    1. Price the home at precisely the right price.
    2. Put the home in its BEST possible condition.
    3. Expose (market) the home to attract the attention of agents and buyers. Make the home EASY for the real estate community to show.

    Violate any one of these 3, and the odds of success go down dramatically.

  13. 13
    The Tim says:

    RE: Greg Perry @ 12 – Yup, that’s what I’m trying to get across in the post, and will elaborate on in the later posts in this series. The reason I put marketing above home condition (cleaning) is because you can have the best-looking house in Seattle, but if nobody can find it, you’re not going to find a buyer :^) But, as you said, neglect any of the 3 and you’re setting yourself up for failure.

  14. 14
    Greg Perry says:

    It’s funny. I’ve seen sellers who are members of their own “sales prevention” team. Everything is spit shined and polished, but they impose so many showing restrictions that the buyer’s agent can’t coordinate an appointment.

  15. 15
    David Losh says:

    RE: mukoh @ 5RE: DrShort @ 3RE: Magnolia44 @ 4RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 2

    My company is now cleaning about two properties a week for sale. As mukoh likes to point out my wife and I own http://www.seattlehousecleaning.com My original company name was http://www.aspringcleaning.com

    Cleaning is the single most cost effective thing you can do.

    For ten years I had a painter and carpenter that I referred business to.

    Before the market heated up we had one full time guy and about six rotating casual laborers from Casa Latina working on properties. My thing is to take houses down to the studs and rebuild them for myself. For other people rot work is cost effective, land scraping, painting for dramatic effect, tile and hauling away junk.

    As one agent put it: “any place will sell if it’s clean enough,” so we concentrate on cleaning.

    I also have a blog at http://www.fixerfixer.com that has a post about preparing properties for sale, doing Spring Cleaning, and how to cost effectively do some projects on a home yourself or with the help of a contractor.

  16. 16
    EconE says:

    Floorplans are good to have also….especially for condos.

  17. 17

    I was in a real estate class once upon a time and the instructor explained the keys to selling as the 3 “P” s.

    Price
    Promotion
    Product

    Product is everything from cleaning and staging, to the type of appliances, the number of bedrooms and the location. Some of these you can and should fix, some will only be fixed by lowering the price.

    Lazy agents only want to focus on lowering the price. Lazy sellers only want the agent to promote it more.

    Whenever I have a property that I am having trouble selling I think about which of the three “p” s needs the most improvement.

    In the promotion department I really have to comment about photos. I can’t believe that so few agents hire pro photographers. I don’t for all my listings, but certainly the high end homes get a pro shoot. I saw a house listed for just under $1 million that had red time date stamps from 2007. That’s not helping sell the product. Sellers – It’s probably worth paying for the $300-500 for the photos yourself if your house is clean and well staged. Great online photos make all the difference.

  18. 18

    As the owner of Staged By Design (http://www.stagedbydesign.com) I have been pulling statistics on the effect of Home Staging on sales in the Seattle market since October of 2008. I have been viewing online pictures of every home sold in my prime target home demographic (Sales Price of 500k-1.2Million in the following locations: West Seattle, East Side/South, Mercer Island, Bellevue-East of 405, Bellevue-West of 405, Kirkland/Bridle Trails, Queen Anne/Magnolia, North Seattle, and Ballard/Greenlake. All data provided by Northwest Multiple Listing Service and based on online photos)

    I have found that nearly 80% of homes sold in this timeframe/price range were homes that I, and my staff, would consider “Staged” homes wherein the online photos reflected a clear effort to market the home in it’s best light. In selected months, the average Staged homes was on the market 41 days less than non-staged homes, and sold, on average, for around $6,000 more than non-staged homes with regard to original asking price. With over 1000 homes Staged in the past 7 years, I feel that my staff and I are qualified judges as to whether a home is staged or not. However, just to be clear, these stats are based on the groups’ collective opinion.

    With statistics tilted so clearly in one direction, I would say that in my experience (I’m also a Windermere agent) Staging is as importatant as any other factor in successfully selling a home around or above asking price within a better than average DOM timeframe. I would also agree that hitting the market at the right price is as important but trying to measure this from a statistical POV proves difficult.

  19. 19
  20. 20
    Groundhogday says:

    By EconE @ 16:

    Floorplans are good to have also….especially for condos.

    I wish every home had a posted floor plan, even a hand-drawn figure with dimensions would be useful.

  21. 21
    Groundhogday says:

    By Greg Perry @ 9:

    One of the biggest factors that both agents and sellers alike don’t consider is that as time builds in a declining market, the right price actually moves away from the Seller.

    Also known as shooting behind the duck. Using current comps to price a home in a rapidly declining market means you are always overprices as comps are, due to transaction times, a month or two behind the current market. It is just like a novice hunter aiming directly at a moving target, consistently hitting the air where it used to be. I see some sellers shooting behind the duck for years, not figuring out why they can’t get a sale despite numerous price drops.

  22. 22
    Greg Perry says:

    By Groundhogday @ 21:

    By Greg Perry @ 9:

    One of the biggest factors that both agents and sellers alike don’t consider is that as time builds in a declining market, the right price actually moves away from the Seller.

    Also known as shooting behind the duck. Using current comps to price a home in a rapidly declining market means you are always overprices as comps are, due to transaction times, a month or two behind the current market. It is just like a novice hunter aiming directly at a moving target, consistently hitting the air where it used to be. I see some sellers shooting behind the duck for years, not figuring out why they can’t get a sale despite numerous price drops.

    I like that. “Shooting behind the duck.” I’ll add that phrase to the tool box. It paints the right mental picture.

  23. 23
    Monica says:

    We sold within the past year, and sold quickly and easily with no hassles- and got our asking price. Here’s my advice:

    1) find an experienced agent and check out the photos in their listings and also see what they sold. Check out their marketing plan. Interview more than one agent.
    2) once you find an agent you can trust, take their advice: price competitively, hire a professional cleaner, make basic repairs and touch ups.

    Even if the price is competitive, you still need to clean and have it looking good. We didn’t hire a stager, but our agent did it. I agree with the comment that cleaning and staging sells houses. To sell, you have to get a buyer in the door.

  24. 24
    The Tim says:

    RE: Jason Imani @ 10RE: David Losh @ 15RE: Krystal Perkins @ 18

    Heh, what a shock. The agent that sells custom websites as part of their business thinks custom websites are a super-important factor in selling a home. The guy that runs a cleaning service thinks cleaning is super-important. The person that runs a staging company says staging is super-important…

    …just sayin’.

  25. 25
    DanInEdmonds says:

    Hello. Long time lurker, first time poster.

    I have owned, and sold, four houses. The last one was in August of 07, just as the market was starting to turn. Things are obviously much more challenging now, but we were in a very competitive situation even then, with four homes in our cul-de-sac for sale. As far as I know, ours was the only one that sold. It felt like we got out just under the wire. The main thing is we were very aggressive and active in the marketing of our house. We didn’t sit back and expect a realtor to make things happen.

    We used Redfin, which I think gave us a few advantages:
    1. They welcomed our participation in the showing and selling of the house.
    2. They have a great website.
    3. Their rebate to the buyer (out of their buyer’s agent commission) gave us a competitive edge on pricing.

    Here’s what we did:
    1. Had the exterior of the house painted.
    2. My wife and I painted the entire interior, using semi-neutral designer colors (with names like “mocha” and “spun sugar”).
    3. Cleaned that sucker til it sparkled, including having the carpets steam cleaned.
    4. Replaced some outdated light fixtures and bathroom fixtures.
    5. Had the driveway and sidewalk pressure washed.
    6. Rented a storage space and moved a bunch of our crap into it, including extraneous furniture. Fortunately, my wife learned how to stage by watching HGTV.
    7. Made a web page with lots of nice color photos.
    8. Made up nice flyers with color photos. I wrote up an explanation of how Redfin works and put that on the back of the flyers. This explanation emphasized the rebate that the buyer would get from Redfin and showed how this made the price they would actually pay for the house be less than the final “sales” price.
    9. Made sure that there were ALWAYS flyers out at the sign.
    10. Held an open house EVERY SINGLE WEEKEND (both Sat & Sun). I plastered the neighborhood and all nearby busy intersections every weekend with directional “Open House” signs. We showed the house ourselves. I can’t tell you how many snarky realtors came in and told us “You never get a buyer through an open house.” One of the people who came through the open house told his brother and the following weekend the brother came through the open house and subsequently bought it. This is the second house we have sold as the result of an open house.

    I don’t know how much these suggestions will help nowadays, but I can’t think of anything I would do different if I were trying to sell now.

    We are now happy renters and don’t intend to buy again for a couple of years.

  26. 26
    David Losh says:

    Preparing properties for sale is done before the stager.

    In the past five years flippers have come out of the wood work. There are all kinds of people talking about the tricks of the trade. Stagers provide a design element that buyers relate to. I was very resistant to staging and now have a kind of love hate relationship with it.

    In a down market people should be buying value. The sales game of Real Estate is very hard to break. Buyers see pretty pictures on the internet and luxury items in a home then buy the dream. The reality can be $30K of repairs.

    Most agents have very little working knowledge of the product they are selling. I’ve got stories, but there is a fine line between selling the buyer or making the sale easier for the agents. Design is much easier for agents to relate to.

    So here’s what we do and have done for forty years.

    First is the yard. We call it ground zero land scraping. We weed, and get rid of anything that looks out of place. You want a symmetrical picture frame to the property. We cut back bushes in a nice orderly way and leave the flowers to last.

    We then clean the exterior with a solution of bleach and that orange cleanser mixed proportionally. Power washing is only for extreme cases and has to be done completely in an area. The exterior should look cared for rather than redone.

    If it needs painting paint it. Some times trim some times the whole thing, but it needs to be done in high quality. A cheap paint job devalues a property.

    Once inside the whole house gets cleaned before anything else. Everything, spot cleaning walls, trim, cabinets, garage, basement, everything. Then it becomes a matter again if paint is appropriate. Paint should be done for dramatic effect rather than freshen it up. There are times when it is nice to have a home ready to move into. Again it should be done in high quality finishes or buyers and agents deduct mentally from the price.

    Light fixtures are extremely subjective, people can make that leap on their own as long as the fixtures look appropriate and add value to the home.

    Systems should all be checked, and be in good working order. No one in a down market wants to come into a place and spend money. This includes inspecting for rot and structural defect. You can list it on the Form 17 but it is much cheaper to just fix it.

    The flooring is a very tough call. Bad agents tell sellers to refinish hardwoods. We tell sellers to get the flooring in good repair. You can have floors screened and re coated if they really need it, but most times floor guys for a sale are the cheapest you, or the agent can get. So taking the asset of hard woods and getting a cheap redo again lowers the value.

    Carpet, and vinyl are easy fixes with low impact to the property. I like tile a lot. Tiling tub surrounds or floors, anywhere that a touch of elegance can be added, and done well brings a response that can add value. If need be tub cove, or a surround where some one can use the bathroom comfortably is attractive. Like I said we clean first, then change out what is out of place.

    Lastly we do add accents to the yard and interior. At that point staging may or may not be appropriate.

    We like to charge less than $10K for a complete job.

    Cleaning however, which is the cheapest and easiest thing you can do to make a property salable runs between $160 to $600. We just cleaned an estate sale for $410, no paint, no nothing except having our friends at Chem Dri do the living room carpets.

    Selling a home is about creating desire and calming fear.

  27. 27
    Groundhogday says:

    By David Losh @ 25:

    In a down market people should be buying value.

    As a buyer, I actually look for homes that are worn at the heels, NOT staged, no new paint, NOT cleaned, etc… I can do that stuff myself and the better values will probably be obtained for homes that don’t look so good on the surface but otherwise are sound, good neighborhood, good layout, good architecture, etc… For a seller, obviously, they don’t want me to get a great deal so cleaning up the place and painting dingy rooms is probably a good idea.

  28. 28
    Scotsman says:

    RE: DanInEdmonds @ 25

    Congratulations! It’s always good to hear that hard work, common sense, and a focus on the customer still pays off.

    Snarky realtors? Say it ain’t so! ;-)

  29. 29
    oberon says:

    Here’s a question. Should your opening price be the price you expect it to sell at (let’s assume you’re not delusional about its value), or should you list it higher assuming buyers want to see price reductions and/or make “lowball” offers?

  30. 30
    HMD says:

    Lower price ASAP.

    Laminate flooring, particle board crown, pressure wash, moss removal, new 20$ home depot mail box post with custom reflectors/numbers,, new address numbers on house, cheap quick quality caulking (“energy efficient” “green”) paint, prune, mow and blow, few native plants and flowers in pots, beds and baskets

    Craigslist

    SAY: “Now is a once-in-a-lifetime chance – prices are the lowest they’ve been in 10… 20…. 30…. years, prices will never be lower, don’t miss this chance to get the best deal ever, low interest rates! first-time buyer credit! The economy is getting better! Just ask the government, interwebs and media! ARM… resets? what………no… no..no… don’t worry… sub prime is over! We’re on the road to recovery! Sales are up! Inventory is down! shadow what? Unemployment… nah… Will negotiate… please.. help…

    Hope the overwhelming, never-ending and ever-increasing onslaught of information, regarding why not to buy, doesn’t reach the buyer until after the sale has closed.

  31. 31
    Scotsman says:

    RE: oberon @ 29

    I’m sure the Realtors will offer conflicting (even among themselves) advice, but here’s my more general experience and advice for selling in a down market. I’m a bit of a car and boat nut, and find myself buying and selling these relatively large ticket items on a consistent basis. Again, this is for a declining or down market.

    Do your research and identify the prices at which similar items are selling, not listed, but selling. Evaluate the condition of your item relative to what you’ve seen sell recently, then try to identify a realistic price. I then ask myself if I’m willing to accept that price, or even lower. A lower price for a known item brings more interest. Then knock off about another 5% or round it down to the nearest break point. For example, it’s stupid to price at $715k when $699K is really close, but “sounds” like a lot less, and puts you below a logical break point in a price/search function. Remember, in a declining market prices are falling as you clean, type, list, etc. You’ve got to be slightly ahead of the curve when your item hits the market.

    The counter-balance to pricing low is to stick to your guns, and hesitate to negotiate down, at least until you’ve gotten some response and feedback on the item/price relationship. After all, you priced aggressively to start. I figure if I show something to three serious qualified buyers and nothing happens, it’s overpriced, and I need to be more accommodating. A low price brings more buyers out, and that’s the first goal. When they get there, you want them to perceive a good value, not a misleading come on. When a buyer shows up, perceives the item as a good value, sees you- the seller- as honest and realistic, they’re comfortable with you and the situation and sale practically makes its self. If they show up, think you’re unrealistic, trying to rip them off, and dishonest, it’s a long road back to a successful conclusion. YMMV.

  32. 32
    Ray Pepper says:

    RE: The Tim @ 24

    What a CLASSIC comment Tim…YOUR BEST EVER! May I add this:

    #1 Price it to be the BEST DEAL on the block or it WILL NOT SELL!

    # 2 Never pay more then 500 to LIST! Pass the savings onto the Buyer. (If your gonna waste money at least give it to the Buyer as an incentive!) also place it on Craigs List its FREE! Renew your ad every friday morning!

    # 3 If I have to tell you # 3 your home will Not sell anyway..I will though….Clean it up! I will not get into specifics because its COMMON SENSE and has been rehashed on 1000’s of websites.

    All you need is 1 buyer! Get it out there priced to sell and please friends…don’t place it in your local newspapers. Save that 200-600.00 and again PASS IT ON TO THE BUYER!

    Here a little vid I always liked. Its old but will always be true about selling real estate!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hOrKLs0QJkA

  33. 33
    Jason Imani says:

    RE: The Tim @ 24

    I think all three of those suggestions, speak to something larger, which you mentioned…the market is different, and as a result you have to work harder to sell your home.

    The further suggestions by everyone all speak to that larger issue as well. Everything from the street to the inside of the home, in some way contributes to the buyer’s perception…as well as price.

    You mentioned several fundamentals, many of which are so frequently and painfully overlooked by many. Maybe I misunderstood the question, you asked to look beyond those and offer suggestions of what has been effective. And given my background in web development, I like to believe that perception extends beyond the physical connection, but to how a buyer finds your home, and what makes a person decide to then physically go see the home. Hence, why I am so internet-centric.

    I NEVER advocated you need a custom website (and then shamelessly plug myself). I just want that part to be clear… I do, however, believe one should consider some sort of website as part of your marketing mix, since so many people search online these days.

    Additionally, I think the easy part is finding ways to make your house look pretty…the hard part is having a plan, which I interpreted as the question you were asking. Getting hung-up on details like cleaning, painting, etc only further enforces the attitude of the last 5-10 years that all I need to do is “built it and people will come” or in this case clean it up a bit and people will then magically find it and think its so good that they must go see it. Take a step back, and first decide what is your plan to connect and attract potential buyers? Who are my buyers, where do they go and how can I reach them….basic marketing question that you didn’t need to think about a few years ago.

    And I do appreciate you blog very much, even if I am agent…not all agents buy into the “sun always needs to shine” attitude. I like to believe that (like you) data is more important than hype.

    Thanks!

  34. 34
    Jonness says:

    “Selling a home is about creating desire and calming fear.”

    As a prospective buyer,. I think the above statement is composed of simple brilliance. There are two extremes at work here, and they are pulling at each other and gnawing away at the buyer. If you can’t hook me with desire, my fear will annihilate your existance, and I will forget you ever were. This is especially true in a declining market where even a fair amount of uninformed buyers understand that prices will be lower next year. Many RE agents will argue the point until they’r’e blue in the face, but they are living in bias. They make their living off of turning houses. Buyers OTOH are aware that a measly 10% reduction in price can cost them 5 to 10 years of savings. Sellers have to create enough desire to mitigate this fact.

    As a prospective buyer, the more time that goes on, the pickier I get, and the more I expect for my money. I snub my nose at houses priced where I would have drooled a year ago. I have memories of seeing houses sell last year that I had considered buying but reluctantly passed on. Many RE agents were claiming I better buy now because in a year any savings from future depreciation would be eaten up by higher interest rates. LOL! Now I look at the people who bought those places and think of them as idiots. Yet, they are no different from me. It’s just that they had slightly less fear and slightly more desire than I did. I got lucky.

    I’m seeing some crazy stuff in Pierce County. One place I looked at yesterday sold for $700k at the bubble peak. It is now listed for $280K. I’m considering picking up a better place though. It’s 3600 sq ft, tastefully remodeled, and has a large indoor swimming pool. I’m not sure it’s worth the $380K though because I know I can get a lot more for my money next year. But I love the beautiful original hardwood floors, remodeled granite kitchen, corner tub, and numerous high-dollar upgrades. OTOH, why not wait, save up an additional $50K in downpayment, and get another $100K off the house price next year? It’s a great time to be alive!

    At first there was universal denial this was coming to WA. T’hen there was reluctant acceptance. And now there is a universal delusion of a bottom forming. What is missing? The simple knowledge that without being able to borrow money, people cannot purchase houses priced way above historical ratios to their incomes. You don’t have to be smart to see it. You simply need to leave your emotions in the art studio and make important decisions using logic.

  35. 35
    TheHulk says:

    RE: Jason Imani @ 33

    Man, you can create a zillion “personal” websites catered to each buyer for a prospective home. Nothing will work if he buyer comes over and just doesnt like the house.

    I have been going to open houses for over a year now mainly to guage what a realistic price for the house should be. Majority times, I have seen that the houses having the most professionally taken photographs and staged have in fact dissapointed me. Yes, the photographs do look great and if nothing else ensures a second look on the website and drags in prospective buyers.

    As a potential buyer, I always feel better about places that I leave with the impression – “That place looks so much better in person” and in fact makes the place more appealing to me. Anyways thats just me talking about my own experience.

    Generic advice for sellers: /Warning, this is from a person who has never owned/has had to sell a house…

    1. Take a real good look at the current market. Do this research on your own and DO NOT trust your realtor. For all you know he might agree to everything you are saying just because he wants your account. Interview your realtors (if at all). Heck, for all you know in this price-is-everything market, redfin might give you the edge you need.

    2. At least make sure the place is clean. It doesnt need to be spotless (unless you have moved out).

    3. Make sure you hear about ALL offers (regardless of how low they might be). If nothing it will give you a feel for the market. You might also want to take up an offer that is in fact 3% lower, but the buyers are willing to put 20% down simply because financing will be smoother.

    4. If you have tons of equity built up and need to sell your place, there has never been a better time for it. Dont be too greedy with your percieved house value. You can undercut most of the competition and in fact sell your house rather than listing it too high and watching it languish for 6 months.

  36. 36
    Tom says:

    Definitely, price is the main concern for BUYER..
    I work for microsoft, and since layoff, I know at least 3 persons that plan to buy house decide to delay them until the price is coming down..
    For Realtor to push that it’s time to buy, that’s just bias.. yes, if it is priced appropriately..
    again, Price is the main corcern.. I have seen sellers listing in the market with bubble price, thinking the house is worth that much..
    I can tell it won’t sell… plain and simple… Price appropriately..

  37. 37
    Cheap South says:

    My wife still e-mails me Redfin listings that crack me up, where she adds comments like:

    “Couldn’t have they done the dishes before taking the kitchen pictures?”

    “Really? The leopard skin comforter is the theme for the bedroom?”

    “What’s with the laundry basket on the sofa?”

    “Is that TV on an ironing board??”

    And on, and on. It’s hysterical how clueless people are. And we are not talking “staging” here; we are talking just common sense basics.

    We sold back in late 2001 (econobox townhome in Bothell); painted the inside, steam cleaned carpet, got rid of all clutter, and by the time my agent came in to take the pictures, my giant confederate flag rug, and Britney Spears life size poster were gone (I personally thought they gave the place a touch of class). Anyway, listed on a Monday, got $1K under listing offer on Wednesday.

  38. 38
    David Losh says:

    RE: Tom @ 36RE: Groundhogday @ 27

    It’s Location, Price, and Condition. My focus is on condition.

    I like big timbers, Square D electrical with lots of circuits, sewer stacks that are tight, copper plumbing, tons of concrete, high ceilings in the basement, and a private setting.

    There are some years when construction practices were the best. There are some builders that turn out an excellent product. I think Real Estate agents should know the difference.

    Cleaning is not the most important, the property is what it is. Presenting them well is a big part of the the Real Estate business for both buyers and sellers.

    Location, Price, and Condition determines the value of the property.

  39. 39
    Racket says:

    ” The simple knowledge that without being able to borrow money, people cannot purchase houses priced way above historical ratios to their incomes. You don’t have to be smart to see it. You simply need to leave your emotions in the art studio and make important decisions using logic.
    Reply – Quote”

    People are getting financing, and are used to paying much more of their income towards their mortgage.

    The days of one income being able to get most people a decent house are virtually over.

  40. 40
    Scott Weitz says:

    Tim @ 24-

    Nice call! Hilarious.

    As an attorney, I believe the best thing you can do to sell you house is to hire an attorney, get rid all all your stupid nick nacks hanging on the wall…..and be the lowest price in neighborhood by 5%.

  41. 41
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    By Ray Pepper @ 32:

    RE: The Tim @ 24

    What a CLASSIC comment Tim…YOUR BEST EVER! May I add this:

    #1 Price it to be the BEST DEAL on the block or it WILL NOT SELL!

    # 2 Never pay more then 500 to LIST! Pass the savings onto the Buyer. (If your gonna waste money at least give it to the Buyer as an incentive!) also place it on Craigs List its FREE! Renew your ad every friday morning! A

    This is supposed to be real tips, not fantasy tips.

    I recently had a listing where I was trying to price the house $20,000 under another listing of a virtually identical house a block away. Between the client signing the listing and my entering it in the system, the other property was reduced by $25,000. I left mine where it was, and mine went pending much faster (although it sold later due to an extended pending period).

    As to using a limited service broker, this is the result of my searches the last time you made a similar claim:

    http://blog.seattlepi.com/realestate/archives/167816.asp

    Anyway the results were not that impressive, to say the least. In fairness though it was just a snapshot and I’ll need to update that search from time to time for it to have more value.

    And Craigslist? LOL. My wife actually enters our listings there, but I think it’s a compete waste of time. I don’t stop her though because each client only needs one buyer, and there’s a 0.000000001% chance that buyer will come through Craigslist.

  42. 42
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    By David Losh @ 38:

    RE: Tom @ 36RE: Groundhogday @ 27 – There are some years when construction practices were the best. There are some builders that turn out an excellent product. I think Real Estate agents should know the difference.

    Not that I disagree, but how does this help a seller? Do you think there are enough buyers and/or buyers agents that distinguish these things that you need to price accordingly? Other than price I don’t know what a seller can do about their builder or quality of construction (short of maybe residing the house).

  43. 43
    Amy A. says:

    We just sold our house. We sold it in a week. We’re moving next week.

    We did these things:
    1. Priced it at about 35K under whatever everything else in our neighborhood was selling for (because they’re super crazy, sorry). We got full price. Theirs has been sitting for about two months.
    2. Did paint touch-ups, repaired every damaged wall, nicked door, etc.
    3. Removed all our junk, had the place professionally cleaned.
    4. Our agent staged it very, very nicely (wish I would’ve been living here in the meantime!)
    5. Our agent had professional photos taken and put up on a lovely website.
    6. Professional landscaping

    I’m happy. We bought before the bubble and aggressively paid off in the meantime, so we have a nice downpayment for our next place.

  44. 44
    David Losh says:

    RE: The Tim @ 24

    I would like for you to make the site relevant.

    You have had those opportunities over the years by attracting people like Krystal Perkins of Staged by Design. She is very correct in her statistics. People buy a dream all the time.

    She gave you good inforamtion that is a benefit. I had posted to my blog the day before about staging. It’s now kind of an issue because you do have to price well to sell. The expense of staging is getting to be a topic for discussion.

    Rather than encourage discussion you chose to stifle it.

    I’m just sayin…

  45. 45
    Greg Perry says:

    Sellers have to understand this law of negotiation, intimately. (The buyers certainly do). It goes like this:

    “Time is the enemy of the Seller.”

    This is true of real estate and everything else that is sold on an open market. There were very good ideas and principles shared on this post.

  46. 46
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    We had an interesting presentation at our last office meeting. It’s a company that “stages” your house for free by moving someone into it to live there. That person pays them, and is required to keep the place spotless and vacate for showings on a moments notice, and vacate entirely within as little as 48 hours notice. The idea is to have a listing that isn’t vacant, while not having any staging expense. Also, it avoids some insurance issues related to vacant listings.

    I see a lot of potential pitfalls, but I’d sort of toyed with a similar idea myself. I was thinking more of it for an opportunity from the house sitter side. Associate yourself with an agent or firm and just move from listing to listing as they sell. My thinking was more that it would be a way for someone to get free rent,. and once the agent (or firm) went through one transaction with them most of the concerns would disappear. If someone had no kids and no pets, this would be a very cheap way to live, and you’ve be simultaneously providing a valuable service to sellers.

  47. 47
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    By The Tim @ 24:

    RE: Jason Imani @ 10RE: David Losh @ 15RE: Krystal Perkins @ 18

    Heh, what a shock. The agent that sells custom websites as part of their business thinks custom websites are a super-important factor in selling a home. The guy that runs a cleaning service thinks cleaning is super-important. The person that runs a staging company says staging is super-important…

    …just sayin’.

    Since David drug this up, I’d add I think two of the three are right. ;-)

  48. 48
    The Tim says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 47 – I wasn’t saying they were necessarily wrong. Just that the self-promotion was amusingly transparent.

  49. 49
    David Losh says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 42

    The agent should know the difference. By your logic a custom built should sell for the same price as a tract house.

    My complaint for years has been the price, price, price, selling of property. It’s no longer location, or condition, it’s just price.

    I also see the proud buyers after the sale. They need to have the property “fixed.”

    In today’s market place, after a buyer gives all thier cash to the bank, to make the bank feel better about making a loan on a decliniing asset, a buyer should know what the added costs are of buying crap at a good price.

    To the listing agent it is irrelevant, but a property sells to a buyer.

  50. 50
    Jason Imani says:

    RE: TheHulk @ 35

    Hulk you are correct to believe fancy websites, good photography, and clean and staged home alone will not magically sell a home. If that were the case everyone would be doing it. It does, however, alter a potential buyers perception from online to the offline experience. Ultimately, you need to meet those expectations once the person comes to the house.

    What I’m trying to advocate is that you need to work harder and do more to attract buyers these days. The easy part is updating your home to make it look nice. Just watch HGTV or the sort…none of these shows talk about marketing outreach, target markets, buyer demographics, or any other basic marketing principles because most people are still stuck in the market from 5 years ago. Their solution…I will just up it up on the MLS. Putting it up on the MLS should not be your entire marketing plan. The hard part is having a plan to sell your home, not update it.

    Updating your home and what you update should be based on what your plan is. Are you targeting developers or investors. They won’t care what a lovely shade of Bermuda Brown the wall is. Are you targeting 1st time home buyers…they are more willing to have some updates to the house, but are often willing to do it themselves. Or are you targeting a family, maybe they don’t want mess around with updating it.

    Part of selling your home in a down market is developing a marketing plan. Everything else should then support this plan.

  51. 51
    mukoh says:

    LOL.
    As far as discount brokers a friend of mine owner of a branch John L. Scott told me this story an JLS agent sold a house listed by discount broker. The funny thing is the house went for $20k below the market, the listing agent was there for his $500 fee for filling out the forms and could not care less.

  52. 52
    The Tim says:

    RE: mukoh @ 51 – I certainly wouldn’t dispute your story, but I also am sure there are plenty of examples of “full service” agents that just show up for their 3% fee and “could not care less.” I think attention to detail and genuine concern for a client’s best interest have more to do with an agent’s character than their business model.

  53. 53
    Ray Pepper says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 41

    Kary one day you will realize to disagree with me is futile. I’m always right! I stand by my statements:

    Never pay more then 500 to List. Pass all savings onto buyers from the ridiculous listing fees which is throwing money out the window. ALWAYS ALWAYS use CraigsList. Its FREE and takes less then 5 minutes to post Friday morning. I’ve had 2 clients already this year who have found their homes on CraigsList. Your numerical statement of odds is inaccurate. Never place your home in the newspaper. Again, pass savings onto consumer.

    Be the BEST deal on the block!

    Do a commonsense cleaning of property and grounds.

    Kary watch this video again. Maybe you missed the hidden message the 1st time.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hOrKLs0QJkA

  54. 54
    mukoh says:

    By David Losh @ 49:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 42

    My complaint for years has been the price, price, price, selling of property. It’s no longer location, or condition, it’s just price.

    That is what you said in post 49

    Before that you said this

    By David Losh @ 38:

    RE: Tom @ 36RE: Groundhogday @ 27

    Location, Price, and Condition determines the value of the property.

    Just curious so is it price? Is it location? Condiion? Two posts two hours apart and totally different. Khmmmm

  55. 55
    mukoh says:

    By The Tim @ 52:

    RE: mukoh @ 51 – I certainly wouldn’t dispute your story, but I also am sure there are plenty of examples of “full service” agents that just show up for their 3% fee and “could not care less.” I think attention to detail and genuine concern for a client’s best interest have more to do with an agent’s character than their business model.

    Tim I agree. However in my situation I would only sell my house with a full time real agent. Its not the money its the service.

    Ray did however sell a house not far from me $500k recently. He did call it a GEM as well.

  56. 56

    RE: Jason Imani @ 50

    Jason is absolutely right. Whether it’s a down market or an up market, attention needs to be paid to how to draw attention to the property, to distinguish it from all the other houses out there. Marketing it correctly is essential. Making sure it is clean and clutter free and as pretty as possible couldn’t hurt. And if selling it fairly quickly is a priority, pricing it for less than the comparables would help.
    While I personally am drawn to projects and opportunities(cheap houses with good bones), I think the majority of buyers are not like me, and fall for a nicely staged home. Clean the house, mow the lawn, put up some pretty pictures, paint the walls, plant flowers,and lower the price.

  57. 57
    Ray Pepper says:

    RE: mukoh @ 55

    “full time REAL AGENT”
    “its not the money its the service”

    Are you kidding me? Whats YOUR situation?

    Its always about the money unless the Agent you will use is a relative and you want to give them a HUGE gift of a lifetime.
    Full time ——REAL AGENT—-?? Please explain and be ready for an assault of Epic Proportions.

  58. 58
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    RE: Ray Pepper @ 53 – The goal is to sell the property, not just list it. Listing it is easy.

  59. 59
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    By Jason Imani @ 50:

    RE: TheHulk @ 35

    Hulk you are correct to believe fancy websites, good photography, and clean and staged home alone will not magically sell a home. If that were the case everyone would be doing it. It does, however, alter a potential buyers perception from online to the offline experience. Ultimately, you need to meet those expectations once the person comes to the house.

    We almost always use professional photographers, but once I took a picture of a kitchen with a basic digital camera that was 100% better than real life. Undoubtedly buyers were disappointed when they actually saw the place, and it did take a long time to sell.

    Sometimes creating too much of a positive impression actually backfires. I usually mention that when agents overstate the bedroom count or square footage. But it could also apply to pictures. You don’t want people to be disappointed when they see the property.

  60. 60
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    RE: Ray Pepper @ 57 – Gift of a lifetime? What about $500 for entering a listing in the NWMLS? Talk about a gift. ;-)

    (Well in fairness, it’s not a gift. It’s probably just compensation at the rate of $3,000 an hour.)

  61. 61

    RE: The Tim @ 52

    Well said Tim.
    A John L Scott broker is never going to say that listing with a discount broker is a good thing to do. They’ll make sure that you hear the horror stories about how uncaring, impersonal, and incompetent discount brokers are.

    A Ray Pepper is never going to say that listing with a full service broker is a good thing to do. He’ll make sure you hear about how expensive they are and how the business model is dead, and how all they do is mindless paperwork.

    The truth is probably somewhere in between. There are agents for both full service and discount brokerages who are attentive to detail and truly working for their clients best interest, and there are agents for both full service and discount brokerages who are lying, stupid, and incompetent.

  62. 62

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 59
    That’s so true, Kary.
    I’ve gone into so many homes that looked so much worse in person than in those photographs, and I could see the disappointment on my client’s faces.
    But those bank owned homes are just the opposite. Some of them are actually pretty nice, but you could never tell from the photograph.

  63. 63
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 61 – I actually like the fact that there are limited service brokers, because choice is a good thing. But price shouldn’t be the only factor on which the decision is made, as Ray seems to think. And some limited service brokers are a complete joke. I came across one that limited the number of photos they would upload to four, and didn’t even offer a lockbox as a rental option. Lockboxes only cost about $100, and a seller would probably be willing to rent on for about that same amount, but they didn’t even offer it.

  64. 64
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 62 – And the bank owned ones can often be fixed up with only paint and carpet. Sometimes only interior paint.

  65. 65
    dancingeek says:

    RE: The Tim @ 48 – You could look at it as self-promotion, or you could look at it as them believing that what they do provides a beneficial service to sellers. Just like I’m sure you believe that the Sound Housing Quarterly provides a beneficial service to both buyers and sellers.

  66. 66
    Groundhogday says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 41:

    And Craigslist? LOL. My wife actually enters our listings there, but I think it’s a compete waste of time. I don’t stop her though because each client only needs one buyer, and there’s a 0.000000001% chance that buyer will come through Craigslist.

    I can’t fathom why Realtors clog up Craigslist with MLS homes. I check craigslist regularly for OWNER listed homes. For MLS listed homes, I check the MLS… Duh?! Is there anyone smart enough to check Craiglist who doesn’t know how to check the MLS online?

  67. 67
    Groundhogday says:

    By Jason Imani @ 50:

    RE: TheHulk @ 35

    Part of selling your home in a down market is developing a marketing plan. Everything else should then support this plan.

    Agree completely. Too often I see low end houses that have been “updated” for a higher price point. But I would much rather purchase at a lower price point and update it myself to meet my family’s needs. Great bar and mirror in the newly finished basement… but we don’t drink or party. New pedestal sinks in the bathrooms, but we really need the cabinet space in a vanity. Etc… And surprisingly often, these updated homes for fundamental reasons will never be highly desirable (marginal neighborhood, busy street, bland architecture). Do sellers really think they will sell these homes to an upper income family because there is granite in the bathrooms?

  68. 68
    Ray Pepper says:

    Kary and Ira you guys are too funny……….If I wasn’t so sore from my Boeing League basketball injury last night I would begin my lecture but instead I offer this.

    We are not for everyone. I would estimate 98% of the population in Washington State though. Kary I agree 500.00 is ALOT to list thats why we offer the 100.00 plan for 6 months. You both would be fine with the 100 dollar plan. We find most need the 500.00 plan because they need assitance when they get an offer, inspection, and close. Not to mention they want a sign post and lock box. Price shop us. I do it every week. There is no better deal.

    We also gladly accept 1-3% if the seller wants us to do Open Houses but lets just say our customers are just too educated to EVER pay that.

    I think you are referring to MLS4Owners or some other outfit in limiting pictures or times on the market. They are a great company but they don’t want the Buyers. We want the Buyers!! We were made for buyers!! We offer the listing packages as a convenience plus nearly 70% of all sellers become BUYERS!

    I like the 3000 an hour remark Kary. You are right it takes me less then 10 minutes to input a listing. My agents tend to take an hour though. But, its the assitance that the seller needs that we charge for. Not to mention the CMA and driving time for the pictures. So for 500.00 I say the seller is still getting the BEST deal in the industry.

  69. 69
    Ray Pepper says:

    RE: dancingeek @ 65

    Wow everyone slamming everyone today! Even Tim gets ripped! Must be the BBQ smoke in the air! BRING IT ON!

  70. 70

    By The Tim @ 24:

    RE: Jason Imani @ 10RE: David Losh @ 15RE: Krystal Perkins @ 18

    Heh, what a shock. The agent that sells custom websites as part of their business thinks custom websites are a super-important factor in selling a home. The guy that runs a cleaning service thinks cleaning is super-important. The person that runs a staging company says staging is super-important…

    …just sayin’.

    Point taken, probably didn’t need to plug my website in this forum. My argument is that we have reviewed about 700 sold homes’ photos in the past 7 months and pulled their days on market and sales price via the MLS. I absolutely do value peoples personal experience, but like you, tend to base my opinions on numbers that are supported on a broader scale, and can show trending over time. Would a statistician say that our methods are perfect? Probably not. But I think we’re pretty close, and we don’t see much change month to month.

  71. 71
    mukoh says:

    RE: Ray Pepper @ 57 – Ray, to me of EPIC proportions is how much I get for my house not how much I pay for the agent. If I am getting $500k yet paying $500 + 3% SOC is not exactly better then paying 4% total and getting $520k. The agent that I use on multiple deals over and over negotiates like a bull dog, and he gets all the business.
    The GEM that you sold not far from me for $500k was about $40k underpriced BTW.
    Thats why I personally would never use a discounted service. If I wanted a discount I would pay a $395 flat list just to get in the MLS, if I was in the mood to spend 20-40 hours dealing with agents, buyers, and etc…, myself. My time is worth more then that.

  72. 72
    mukoh says:

    Ray and furthermore I compare agents to accountants, lawyers. If a corporate lawyer charges $100 for the same service that another SUCCESSFULL lawyer is at $300. Then who is offering a better service? A guy who can get $300 or the beggar at $100? Same thing with accountants my accountant gets paid probably double the regular accountants about $280 an hour or so, yet my amended return for a corporation just brought me back $2800 from a 2007 return. H&R block couldn’t do that.

  73. 73
    The Tim says:

    RE: David Losh @ 44, Krystal Perkins @ 70 – Tone is difficult to convey on the internet, but I was not intending to be derisive or to stifle conversation. My comment was merely intended to be a lighthearted quip.

  74. 74
    jaime says:

    We listed our south juanita condo in April and followed all the guidelines mentioned. We listed on a Monday and the following Monday had an offer on the table for full asking price.

    Now that we’ve been out shopping for a home under $400K (Finn Hill mostly) we see that quality homes priced well do move quickly. I’ve also learned alot about maintaining homes! We are trying to find that gem we can live with and in for at least 10 years. Unless of course Boeing moves than the game changes completely.

  75. 75
    Ray Pepper says:

    Well MUKOH I must call you out on that BS. We have not sold any house for 500k. I checked back 3 years. Care to give an MLS #? Care to give us any information? Do you want to know why you can’t?

    BECAUSE IT DOESN’T EXIST!

    Who is your agent that you use on multiple deals? Give me his/her name so I can pull their stats and see how many homes they sold you. I suspect 1.

    You are very dishonest to say it mildly. Give us some proof. I say you have lied to the masses.

    tim……….I say its time you whack this mole. (Who is most likely an Agent in disguise)

  76. 76
    Soon2bBuyer says:

    Speaking from the point of view of a potential buyer, I would value cleaning more than marketing or staging. While I agree good marketing brings out potential buyers, it doesn’t take much more than a MLS listing because many buyers nowadays are already doing their search on the internet rather than relying solely on their realtor.

    Staging, frankly speaking, tends to make me wary of the property. I’ve seen enough HGTV to be able to look past the “stage”, if you know what I mean. I know that sellers use staging to attempt to get a higher price and this of course, means “less value” for me. Can’t help but to have this nagging feeling that this house is “overpriced” when I walk into a staged home. Just my humble opinion, may not apply to all buyers.

    I also can’t help but to notice that many sellers tend to overlook the pricing element when they couldn’t sell. Many will consider spending money on staging or additional % to realtors. Some will even change the realtor but nope, can’t change the price. None of these efforts has any impact on me, the buyer. What’s the logic in this?

  77. 77
    Ray Pepper says:

    Was it MLS # 28015353. Listed at 529,950 1/25/2008 and sold 3/24/08 for 510k. Thats the closest I could find from Eric Simons. A 20 year veteran of Real Estate. Did you know we have an Agent who has been selling properties for 35+ years. I suspect not! Does it matter? No wayyyyyyyyyyy! Don’t expect you are getting the best in service and education because YOU choose to pay more.

    Anyway I suspect we got these sellers out of their home just in time! My comps come in now at about 475k on that house.

    BTW 395.00 flat fee is a rip off from many of those sites. I say you pay 100.00 and get the same product or 500.00 for full agent support.

  78. 78
    home free says:

    Enjoying all of the “lighthearted quip” while drinking my latte. Keep it going…..

  79. 79
    Ray Pepper says:

    home free I took the day off solely for your amusement and of course educating the masses!

    Mukoh…………I’m waiting… MLS#’s? Names? Proof? Anything?

  80. 80

    By The Tim @ 73:

    RE: David Losh @ 44, Krystal Perkins @ 70 – Tone is difficult to convey on the internet, but I was not intending to be derisive or to stifle conversation. My comment was merely intended to be a lighthearted quip.

    No offense taken here Tim. And David, I read your blog entry and found it interesting. Maybe the basis for a new discussion topic on Seattlebubble?

  81. 81
    Michelle says:

    We met, got married, and had an extra house we didn’t need. Not thriled about renting it. So, put it on the market right before Thanksgiving (crazy timing, I know, but it was just sitting there eating mortgage payments, so we went for it).

    We used a flat listing service to allow us to keep the price lower. Researched our competition carefully to choose a price. Cleaned, cleaned, cleaned. Painted a few hideous rooms, tidied the yard, repaired little details. Emptied out everything but a few key pieces of furniture and a nice set of dishes. Then stayed out if it after that, to keep it clean. Took very nice photos. Spent a lot of time on a flyer, and nice web-based ads for craigslist etc.

    Things were slow, but a few people were out there looking. In March, we were just about to drop the price to reflect the continued market loss, and got an offer for extactly what we were going to lower it to. 30 days closing, no repairs needed. Phew! So four months, not bad, especially with the holidays and crazy snow and flooding we had in there. I think it also helped that the buyer’s agent needed to buy groceries- I think she would have talked them into buying a cardboard box if she had to! :)

    I think as you and others have mentioned, you just have to be competitive in your pricing, get it impeccably clean and in good repair, and do a good job with your marketing materials. Or find someone to help you with any or all three if you’re not able to do a good job of it yourself.

  82. 82
    Groundhogday says:

    Here is what you don’t do: reject a low-ball offer in a huff.

    We just put in a low-ball offer (25% off list). Time on market: 3.5 months. Offers: None. Asking price to rent ratio: 220 (VERY similar house two doors down is currently rented, so we have an accurate estimate of potential rent). Vacant house next door with identical floor plan and price for sale 1.5 years now (though neighbors house has dropped by 25% from initial listing). Foreclosure across the street is going onto the market next week.

    Should be fun to watch this puppy twist in the wind!

  83. 83
    Scotsman says:

    RE: Ray Pepper @ 79 – You or some similar model will win in the end- a flat fee or fee plus hourly. 6% is dead, especially when an agent isn’t getting results. With the tools available today the seller or consulting service can put it all together for much less.

  84. 84
    David Losh says:

    RE: The Tim @ 73

    It’s all about volume.

  85. 85
    David Losh says:

    RE: mukoh @ 54

    You make absolutely no sense.

    Value is three elements of Location, Price, and Condition.

    I object to people saying Location, Location, Location, because it could be an over priced tear down.

    So I also object to selling on price, price, price, or condition, condition, condition.

    So what?

  86. 86

    “I think it also helped that the buyer’s agent needed to buy groceries- I think she would have talked them into buying a cardboard box if she had to! :)”

    “what an adorable, rustic cardboard cottage. It’s a green building, it’s recycled and recycleable. Isn’t it just darling?”

  87. 87
    Ray Pepper says:

    RE: David Losh @ 85

    #83–Scotsman…Agree 100%. Time is most definitely on our side. People will not let this 6% insanity continue .

    David, Mukoh is a fraud and got caught by posting FRAUDULENT information. Don’t waste your time. He/She will change their name on the Bubble and quietly disappear.

    I’m still waiting Mukoh. Give me the address we sold that is close to where you live for 500k. Give me the address of your friend who is an astonishing Agent. I want to look at his/her stats. Show me something that supports your BS.

    You remind me of Brian caught and exposed!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CHnl1KTUbFA&NR=1

  88. 88
    David Losh says:

    RE: dancingeek @ 65

    It’s true we all have those things we swear by. I started as a painter, then home inspector, rot work contractor, specialty contractor, then whole house preparing for sale, before settling on cleaning.

    In terms of bang for the buck cleaning is by far the most noticable impact. We just worked on a house today that is totally staged, repaint, new kitchen, but the agent wants it cleaned professionally and had the owner contact us.

    I could go on and on, because no one has prepared more properties for sale than we have. I have worked for and with Real Estate agents since i was a kid. It is the most excitement you can have.

    One of my first mentors used to say it should be a law that every one sell Real Estate for at least two years. You see the raw essence of human nature in every Real Estate transaction.

  89. 89
    Jonness says:

    “People are getting financing, and are used to paying much more of their income towards their mortgage.

    The days of one income being able to get most people a decent house are virtually over. ”

    That’s what the Japanese thought at this point in their bubble collapse. But that’s not how the function works. The people currently borrowing money to buy houses are making extremely poor decisions and will suffer future consequences. What’s going to happen when the affect of artificial govt. stimulus wears off? This country cannot live on borrowed money forever. We’ve lost 1/5 of our manufacturing-base since 2001. All the funny money in the economy covered that fact up these last years, but now that banks require good credit and a job before they’ll lend, the truth is emerging.

    We’re seeing a Spring housing bounce that’s being influenced by govt. stimulus. But it’s important to keep in mind that the fundamental problems that kicked off this recession have not yet been addressed. Borrowing money to temporarily stimulate a dead horse’s heart can only go so far for so long. Eventually, you have to pay the money back, and that kicks off a whole new round of pain.

  90. 90
    Jonness says:

    “The days of one income being able to get most people a decent house are virtually over.”

    What I’m trying to say is I agree with you that our standard of living will most likely be permanently lowered barring a great round of U.S. innovation. But the number of loans available nowhere near match the loans available in the bubble years, and house prices have a lot further to fall. FHA and first time buyer stimulus is not touching the entire market. And even in the part that’s currently being touched, the numbers are dismal. People are making a big deal out of pendings because we’ve seen a big increase. But it’s important to keep in mind we always see a Spring increase, and the increase is from a much lower bottom than is typical. There is much more pain ahead of us. A lowered standard of living is likely, but so is continued downward pressure on Seattle house prices. We’re seeing a massive 25% off sale with free govt. loans. But these suckers aren’t going to be happy when we have the next fire sale.

  91. 91
    Alan says:

    “The days of one income being able to get most people a decent house are virtually over.”

    I think this is the new “buy now or be priced out forever.”

    Median household income is around $85k. That includes two income families.

    Maybe you mean the days of anything but two high incomes being able to get a decent house are virtually over,

  92. 92
    Scotsman says:

    You’re all alarmists. I’m pretty sure we can borrow our way out of this on all levels- federal, state, and local. As soon as the credit starts flowing again, we’ll be good. Under the new plan you won’t even need a job to get a loan. Consumption will ramp up like crazy! Trust me. Buy now or be priced out forever.

  93. 93
    Racket says:

    :Maybe you mean the days of anything but two high incomes being able to get a decent house are virtually over, :

    No, those days appear to be coming back.

    My Wife, and my income will allow us to buy a really nice house, one that was way out of our reach 2 years ago. We make the same as we did 2 years ago as well.

  94. 94
    BillE says:

    From a potential buyer…
    -Get rid of clutter and personal junk.
    -Price it right.
    -Paint the interior with neutral colors. The bright blue, pink, orange, whatever, in the kids rooms isn’t for everyone.
    -A little basic cleanup goes a long way. Clean the dog’s paw prints off the sliding door and mow the grass.
    -Price it right.
    -Basic repairs go a long way too. Fix the broken downspout and fix the garage door so it will stay open (this one is common for some reason). Maybe get that closet door back on the tracks too so I can open and close it.
    -Take your stupid posters down. You hiding something behind that giant Dale Earnhardt picture? What about the other 5 posters in each room?
    -Price it right!

    Yeah, I could change/fix a lot of those things myself, but it makes the house look messy.

  95. 95
    PublicEnemy#1 says:

    My last home just closed on the 4th of May. Listed it the first week of March to get a jump on the Spring selling season where I live(d).

    Here’s what I did:

    1.) Website (designed and maintained by use with relevant domain name)
    2.) Photos taken by us, MANY of them so we could pick the perfect shots
    3.) Color LASER flyers (so the ink didn’t run and photos looked like photos)
    4.) MLS listing through MLS Only Broker ($400.00)
    5.) 3% Buyer’s Agent Commission offered
    6.) Available to show anytime with minimal notice (e.g. Kept the place CLEAN!)
    7.) No clutter, no junk, neutral paint, made the rooms look HUGE!

    We handled negotiations ourselves, set up appointments ourselves and had one open house. We priced the home, which was NOT cookie cutter (built in 1930) $15K under the only other comparable LISTING in the neighborhood (which has been on the market since April 2008 and was $30K overpriced). We based our price on recent comps and condition (ours had brand new custom kitchen (no granite!), refinished oak hardwood floors throughout and brand new bathrooms and knew that if we could get someone in the door of our place, compared to theirs, ours would seem like a bargain.

    Received an offer 10 days after listing.

    It was not without problems however. The day we listed, the other listing up the street dropped their price to within $100 of ours (which was still about $15K overpriced but gave us pause at the time). When we did sell, the Buyer’s Agent listed the Buyer as putting 80% down and financing 20%. When questioned multiple times on this, we were assured that was the case by the Buyer’s Agent. In the end, that mistake cost the Agent and her Broker 2%. We ended up only paying 1% in commission due to this error because we had a breach of contract and they wanted to reopen negotiations to fix it and I knew how badly the Buyer had already emotionally moved in so I made the Agent pay for her error. It was a rookie mistake and this Agent had been in RE since the late 1980’s and had been President of the local Women’s RE Agent group so you would think she would know how to fill in a boilerplate contract.

    Sellers need to size up their competition if they want to sell. We had been in the home up the street that was languishing on the market and knew why it wasn’t selling. The sellers were not making the home available to show and were attempting to prequalify buyers prior to showing it. I personally had talked to the sellers of that home the prior season when they told me they didn’t think Buyer X was serious about buying, Buyer Y didn’t need such a large home and Buyer Z could wait until the open house four weeks from now to view the home.

    If you want to sell, you have to be serious about selling. I should note that the sellers were using the same MLS Only Broker that we did, but their photos and description on the MLS were awful and they were not making it convenient to show. The home was originally listed close to $40K overpriced and had only experienced a $10K drop until the time we listed ours, and then experienced another $15K drop. Since we sold, the sellers of this home have now gone with a full service agent and priced it $5K below our listing price. It still needs another $10K drop if they truly want to sell it, IMHO. The Buyer’s Agent in our transaction tried to set up an appointment to view that home on three separate occasions and was told to wait until the Open House in late March.

    What helped us tremendously were a few pieces of inside knowledge. The website stats were VERY helpful for us. I was able to view traffic and when we received our offer, I could tell from the stats that the Buyer had emotionally moved into the home. The Buyer had put a link to our website on Facebook, on her College Alumni page, in Yahoo emails, and was accessing it from her work at least 6 times a day.

    This inside knowledge allowed us to push back on a lot of the concessions she was asking for in terms of Seller Paid Closing Costs, Inspection repairs, etc. The Buyer had already proclaimed to all of the people she worked with and knew through her professional associations (she is a college professor), that this was her new home so we used that knowledge to our advantage, despite the Buyer’s market conditions.

    We ended up giving her a $360.00 home warranty and then the Agents got their flat fee and 1% commission, respectively.

    Overall, we are thrilled we were able to sell when we did as we do believe this is a Springtime dead cat bounce and come the Fall, people who didn’t sell this Spring will be wishing they did.

    Sell now or be priced in forever!

  96. 96
    Ray Pepper says:

    RE: PublicEnemy#1 @ 95

    EXC EXC job public enemy!

    Now educate everyone you know on what you did and how you did it.

    Its time for you now to EDUCATE THE MASSES. They need to save their money now more then ever.

  97. 97
    waitingforseattletocool says:

    The single biggest turn-off for me whenever I have been looking for a home were odors, mostly pet odors, no matter how clean or tidy the house may be.

    You want to encourage people to linger in your house, let them imagine how they are going to live in the house.

    Pet odors make me want to run for the exit.

  98. 98
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    RE: waitingforseattletocool @ 97 – There’s one property in Kent that has been lingering on the market. I’d driven by it a few times and finally went in after it had been on the market for months. It’s hard to even stand inside the place because of the odors (pet and other?), but it’s priced as if it’s a normal house in good condition.

  99. 99
    Ray Pepper says:

    RE: waitingforseattletocool @ 97

    My biggest turn-off will ALWAYS be barking dogs next door. I can get rid of odors. Yes, they are a big turn-off but nightmare neighbors with no respect for anyone else causes nothing but headaches.

    Whats up with people who leave their barking dogs in the yard? I always grew up with one dog. We have one now (Sam the magical mystery dog). When the dog barks you bring it in…???? What is so hard to understand? Do these homeowners get some sort of arousal by listening to their dog bark at night when they are in bed? Does it put them to sleep? Then I could understand it.

    If you have acreage and your using it for grounds patrol I will understand that but in the city? I also hate crapped out broken down vehicles, RV, boats, car parts, and those old metal sheds that are always white or beige and have dents all over them.

  100. 100
    waitingforseattletocool says:

    RE: Ray Pepper @ 99

    My agent once made an appointment for us to see a house.

    When we got there, there was the owner’s barking dog on the porch. Didn’t even get out of the car.

    I like pets, but in general, get them off the property when you are trying to show your house.

  101. 101
    Alan says:

    RE: PublicEnemy#1 @ 95

    You are my hero, Public Enemy#1.

  102. 102
    mukoh says:

    RE: Ray Pepper @ 75 – Ray you don’t even know your own listings? 29030615 Rings a bell to me for some reason.

    QUOTE
    Exceptional **One Owner** 5 bed 3 bath home in desirable neighborhood. Hardwoods, granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, and vaulted ceilings enhance this turn-key GEM. Yard contained by invisible fence system and surrounded by an abundance of trees. Meticulous landscaping and beautiful pond makes this home a MUST SEE!.
    $595k.

    Maybe you just need to look back a few days to pull it up not 3 years. LOL

    My agent deals with investment groups in the area. You don’t need his Lag. I use his Lag to access MLS same way you do. Believe me I get information on deals, and NONE of the purchases in the last 12 months are even in the MLS accept one. So chill out.

    What I was making a point on your service its the same as when I got LASIK. I paid $4k instead of some hack shop for $800. I don’t trust a guy who discounts his service by 75% in a transaction that is as serious as real estate. Thats how much you value your service and it shows WELL. You don’t even know your own listings.

  103. 103
    mukoh says:

    Oh Ray Ray, sorry I don’t read here every single day. :) Was lagging behind your FRAUDULENT exposure posts.

    I do however find concerns about someone who with only a few listings and just a few deals doesn’t know that a $500k+ is pending.

  104. 104
    mukoh says:

    By Ray Pepper @ 77:

    Was it MLS # 28015353. Listed at 529,950 1/25/2008 and sold 3/24/08 for 510k. Thats the closest I could find from Eric Simons. A 20 year veteran of Real Estate. Did you know we have an Agent who has been selling properties for 35+ years. I suspect not! Does it matter? No wayyyyyyyyyyy! Don’t expect you are getting the best in service and education because YOU choose to pay more.

    Anyway I suspect we got these sellers out of their home just in time! My comps come in now at about 475k on that house.

    BTW 395.00 flat fee is a rip off from many of those sites. I say you pay 100.00 and get the same product or 500.00 for full agent support.

    BTW Eric who is a VETERAN of the business plugging away at your office has had no deals since November? And no listings? That sure rings like a veteran.
    I would just not trust someone who hasn’t been in the business actively doing anything for 6+ months for some reason. Its just me.

  105. 105
    David Losh says:

    RE: mukoh @ 104

    You were the gentleman sitting to my left at the meet up.

  106. 106
    Jonness says:

    “Overall, we are thrilled we were able to sell when we did as we do believe this is a Springtime dead cat bounce and come the Fall, people who didn’t sell this Spring will be wishing they did.”

    Smart thinking. I looked at homes in Pierce County again today. Although I see activity and things selling, I’m shocked at some of the low prices. Tacoma is following Vegas to the graveyard. Not long ago, if a house in Pierce was priced at 2005 prices, it looked like a screaming deal. Now I’m seeing some desirable places several hundred grand below 2005 prices, and I’m snubbing my nose at them.

    I can’t understand why people are calling a bottom to this market. From what I’m seeing on the ground, the sky is falling. Yes, more people are buying than in the dead of winter, but they’re mostly bargain hunters. I don’t know the state of the market in King County, but Pierce County is starting to look like a graveyard. It has “further collapse” written all over it. It reminds me of Las Vegas a year to a year and a half ago. Seattle can’t be far behind.

    Note to Ray Pepper: When you’re pioneering the future, criticism is the best form of flattery. It let’s you know you’re shaking the old gaurd’s feathers.

  107. 107
    David Losh says:

    RE: mukoh @ 51

    The house was listed for $625K with no results. Ray listed it at $595K and it sold. How is that $20K under priced? BTW that is about what they saved on the commission.

    Again, none of your comments make any sense.

  108. 108
    Ray Pepper says:

    Mukoh AWAKENS FROM THE DEAD…

    Ahhh Where to start. Well as you know I cannot discuss the PENDING listed. You said 500k it sold for in your area. Its Pending and was listed at 595k..Correct? Why do you say it sold for 500k? Its totally incorrect and you will see what it finally sold for in about a month. You will be shocked! I know why…………………………………. Because you are a fool!

    Thanks Jonness. Agreed!

    You are a complete SHAM Mukoh! But, I still love you!

    BTW Eric had to not sell for actually about 2 years due to “personal matters” and has asked other Agents to handle his listings. He will be back in August full-time. I assure you he is the 2nd best Agent you could ever find just behind yours truly.

    Mukoh, I only have 15 or 20 listings but remember 500 Realty wants the Buyers. We were made for the Buyers just like Red Fin. Our seller programs are made for the convenience of the seller. We tell everyone if you do not use 500 Realty for selling then at least use MLS4Owners. They only want the sellers! We want the Buyers! I have 11 ACTIVE deals currently with Buyers and most on short sales and 3 on new construction. It’s far and away above the normal for any Agent. I assure you.

    Trusting someone who discounts his service by 75%? Remember Mukoh 500 Realty does NOT get paid from its commissions. Thats not our model. The Agents get all that money and still get paid nearly 100.00 an hour. We get paid through Lead Generation. Stick around and maybe you will learn how the new Era of real estate companies make money! You just may become a customer………

    Lastly, do you know its a violation of NWMLS to have an Agent offer you his Lag#? Your friend could very well lose his privileges to the NWMLS and get the boot!. Anyone who would give a MUKOH his Lag # is not long for being licensed anyway. Complete incompetence.

    Sorry……I’m just cranky for sitting through 2.5 hours of Terminator 4. It was horrible. Why couldn’t they have stopped after the 3rd?

  109. 109
    mukoh says:

    RE: Ray Pepper @ 108 – Fool? K. Thats always fun to shoot around Ray. I just closed on $1.2m multi family deal for myself. I guess fools do foolish things. $100k a unit, is ok for me. I guess being smart was for others.

    Ray you are not in the same arena for me to become your customer. You have no bank contacts no leads from lenders, no notes to sell. Enjoy the weather I heard tomorrow is going to be sunny too.

    The new Era is great. I was not knocking your model, just pointing out a point of view discount vs. full service.
    Your model has been used and abused by multiple shops, nothing new. I like it as it gives a balance at least vs. some Windermere only 6% BS.

    The agent BTW is JLS and typically i get 4% listing, and 2% acquisition. However I get full service and deals that never even made it to the mother of all listing services for overpriced properties.

    T4 sucked? Geez was going to see it. Thanks for the tip.

  110. 110
    Justin Case says:

    I sold my house in February/March 09. The price took a few haircuts between listing and sale and I still got an offer way below list. It was on the market for 9-10 months before I got an offer.

    What helped:
    1) great agent who actively promoted the house to other agents, so they’d be aware of the property to show their buyers.
    2) staging. house had an unusual floor plan and staging helped the rooms make sense to the buyers.
    3) lowering the price regularly – after x days on market, lower the price. if it doesn’t sell, lower it again in x more months.
    4) fresh paint and replaced half the carpets (left the basement ones alone)
    5) started fixing stuff, re-painting and increasing curb appeal many months before I planned to list.

    what I could have done better:
    1) started with a lower price to begin with
    2) it should have been cleaner at listing. there were a few things I let slide that I should have scrubbed before the listing.

    advice to sellers:

    rent the rug doctor if you have carpet. I had cats and lived there 5 years, so the carpet in the basement probably smelled musty or had pet odor. deep cleaning helped a lot- I hadn’t noticed the mustiness before.

    listen to your agent. if you’ve done the right work in selecting an agent , you shouldn’t have any major philosophical disagreements with her. you’re paying for her help and advice, so take it. When she says “price is too high’, lower it.

    It’s still your house until it closes. check on it, keep the lawn mowed, or hire someone else to do it. Go shovel the snow if it’s listed over winter.

    Keep your (former) neighbors in the loop. They want your house occupied as much as you do. Maybe they know a potential buyer, or can at least shovel your sidewalk if it snows.

  111. 111
    what goes up must come down says:

    Ray I think you have a right to be cranky Mukoh is a real tool.

  112. 112
    PublicEnemy#1 says:

    On the subject of agents…..

    FWIW, I did consider listing with an agent while I was determining how much work it would be to handle everything myself. I called up three different agents as follows (not in order indicated):

    1.) Original Buyer’s Agent that I used when I purchased.
    2.) Local Agent/Broker who sends postcards out, has Boy Scouts put flags along sidewalks of neighborhood on 4th of July, etc.
    3.) Agent who recently sold a home down the street in one weekend with one open house.\

    The agent I had originally used when purchasing the home was clueless about selling it. She wanted me to tell her what price I thought I should list it for. She had no marketing plan, nothing.

    The agent who considers the neighborhood to be her special area of expertise, etc. lied to me about homes she was involved in selling in the neighborhood. When I asked her about photos, websites, marketing etc. she told me no one had ever asked her for a marketing plan before. I then queried her about the photos and she said she had a small digital camera she used to take photos. I explained I wanted a number of photos that detailed the home’s features and I would want the right day to take the exterior shots, etc. and she suggested I take them myself and send them to her because, as she put it, “You probably would take better photos than me”. Her marketing plan consisted of an open house and regular price reductions every month. I asked her about additional exposure and she told me she got a free article in the local RE section of the newspaper every few months to feature a home and she would be able to put my home in that section two weeks after the listing started.

    The third agent I called, explained how I knew her, and asked to set up an appointment. She told me she would need to call me back (this was her cell phone) and she never did. I gave her my number, she repeated it and, presumably, it was in her cell phone listings of calls received.

    Now, for me, if someone wants to take a 3% selling commission, I expect them to do some work for it.

    None of these three wanted to put as much time into the sale as I felt was necessary to make it happen quickly and none of them had a professional marketing plan to give to me to prove they were capable of marketing the home.

    Which is why I eventually paid my $300 to get it on the MLS and took care of the rest of it myself. The reduction of the 3% commission was really an icing on the cake deal for me as I was willing to pay 3% to have an Agent bring me a buyer. I just used the Agent’s major mistake on the contract to lower my transaction costs. The Buyer’s Agent was really detrimental to the Buyer throughout the transaction, IMHO. When the Inspection Report came back, the Agent handed me an UNSIGNED addendum listing repairs requested. I asserted that none of them were MATERIAL DEFECTS affecting the ability of the LENDER to FUND the loan and suggested that if she really wanted to submit them she needed to have her client SIGN the list and submit it, but by doing so she would risk having to either retract them prior to the end of the Inspection period or expect the contract to be terminated as a result of us not agreeing to them.

    Again, knowing the Buyer was emotionally moved in gave me tremendous leverage. The list was never officially submitted and the only Addendum we received was concerning the removal of the Inspection Contingency.

  113. 113
    Greg Perry says:

    RE: mukoh @ 109RE: Ray Pepper @ 108

    FWIW, guys, I would be very careful about discussing details of properties, histories and possibly prejudicial information about other associates on public forum.

  114. 114
    Ray Pepper says:

    RE: Greg Perry @ 113 – Greg you are correct. Thats why I pointed that out in # 108. Mukoh pointed to the fact that the home SOLD for 500k 40k below market value because of using 500 Realty. Its pending in the MLS and he states he has access to the MLS. Its very untrue and an outright LIE to say the least.

    Anyway, Mukoh I will offer you a deal of a lifetime. In the beginning we had many bashers but as time marched on they became fans and customers. We are kind of like Donnie Darko and Rocky Horror Picture Show with many customers supporting us on our mesage. We do offer a very STRONG alternative and a very powerful message that plays on Comcast (CNBC-see below) in various zones. My offer to you is a brand new 500 Realty Shirt. The new batch should be in soon. They are very form fitting and I assure you it will make you LOOK far more educated then you sound here.

    Mukoh, remember 500 Realty is made up of investors. We are like you. Two of our Agents are at the auctions every week. I only got my license to save 3% when I sold and get 3% when I bought. If there was a 500 Realty 15 years ago I would have NEVER gotten my real estate license. NEVER! But, now that were here I promised 10 years of service and they have me for 7 more. I most likely will wrap up my final few years at the Scottsdale office in AZ but for now I’m still here to be your target!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3_Z3LucrHOg

  115. 115
    Racket says:

    “What I was making a point on your service its the same as when I got LASIK. I paid $4k instead of some hack shop for $800. I don’t trust a guy who discounts his service by 75% in a transaction that is as serious as real estate. Thats how much you value your service and it shows WELL. You don’t even know your own listings. ”

    Full service agents will eventually go the way of the travel agent.

    IMO most just seem to get in the way.,

  116. 116
    Racket says:

    I probably should put a price qualifier in there. They do really present a value in the $600k+ market.

  117. 117
    NASCAR says:

    How would you approach the marketing for a $2m property on Mercer Island? It’s an architect designed modernist house that is spotless, great location, newly remodelled and photographs well. It looks like a staged property. There are no comparable houses nearby if the architectural look is important to you – it’s definitely not cookie cutter.

    Does a realtor sign and a open house help sell this kind of property? I am skeptical of the usual glossy mailers they use to promote Mercer Island ‘luxury’ houses , and also undecided on the benefits of a full service realtor versus using Redfin (beyond the $60k in fees).

    There are specialty realtors who do ‘modern architecture’ only but I don’t see what value they add. Wouldn’t most buyers in this price range be looking online anyway? Once a buyer sees a photo they will know if they like it or not. This is the approach we used when we bought – our agent was too busy driving clients around and my wife found all the interesting properties on the MLS.

    I did get a chuckle out of the comments on NASCAR posters, barking dogs and broken down cars in the yard – will definitely add those to our list.

    I guess the best answer is to hold off a couple of years, which is what we will probably do, but thought I would throw the question out there anyway.

  118. 118
    what goes up must come down says:

    PE#1 it is nice when some interjects reality into the debate. I agree with Racket things come and they go, remember at one time broom sticks where made by hand.

  119. 119
    PublicEnemy#1 says:

    As an aside, one thing I learned during the transaction was that the Agency provided boilerplate contract that the Buyer’s Agent used was in the process of being updated, according to the Agent’s Broker, to give the Buyer fewer “escape clauses”. They were changing the Inspection Contingency to only allow Termination of the Contract in the event a MATERIAL DEFECT was found. He told me, and this is strictly hearsay by a Broker in A STATE OTHER THAN WASHINGTON, that Sellers and their Agents were complaining that the Inspection contingencies were being used to re-negotiate the price of a home after the fact, with Buyers threatening to walk without a further price reduction based on the Inspection report, whether the Inspection uncovered any material defects or not (The example the Broker gave me was that an A/C unit deemed to be “at the end of its useful life” by the Inspector, who may or may not be an A/C technician, is used to negotiate the price down by thousands of dollars when the A/C unit is still functioning and was functioning at the time the original Purchase Agreement was submitted).

    Be careful out there!

  120. 120
    Racket says:

    Well It’s nice for the inspector to point this out so you know what you are getting into, but I agree, sometimes these suggestions seem to cross a line.

  121. 121
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    You’ll always have that sort of thing on inspections. Some of it is just Inspector CYA, such as mentioning asbestos in popcorn ceilings and the possibility of mold where there’s any discoloration.

    And sometimes a seemingly minor deal will turn into a big one because of the buyer. The one that always comes to mind was a place where there had been a minor rodent infestation in the attic, and the buyer insisted that all the insulation be removed and replaced. The market was such at the time that the seller didn’t hesitate at all, where in other markets that could have killed the deal.

  122. 122

    […] few weeks ago we kicked off a new series: How-To: Sell Your Home in a Down Market with an overview of the important factors that home sellers must address if they want to succeed in […]

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