Hey! Let’s take a break and find out: What’s going on in real estate these days? Listen in as Windermere real estate pros Holly Tastad-Pozel, Sue Dahlgren, Linda Mallory and Jody Hinton chat about local trends and tips:
Just in from Sue: There’s good news for Boise’s real estate market, it may be up! The Ada County Association of Realtors says they’ve seen increases over the last three months including a record month in March.
March numbers saw a 48% increase in house sales. The biggest jump in ten years. That number was followed up by a 13% increase in April, and May numbers look promising as well. “We see that the strong performance in pending sales is going to continue in May,” Ada County Association of Realtors Executive director Marc Lebowitz said.
Realtors say first time home buyers are making a big push. They’re taking advantage of the eight thousand dollar tax credit from the federal government. Low interstate rates are also spurring the growth.
ALL: Green material such as low/no VOC paints and finishes, re-purposed furnishings, recyclable materials in staging, is in.
Sue: We are continuing to see kitchens and baths as the main focus for re-model or update consideration when preparing property for sale.
Jody: It doesn’t cost a seller a dime to de-clutter and de-personalize.
Linda: Clean and pre-pack, put away personal photos and items. Holly: You are going to move anyway, get whatever you can packed up and moved out so potential buyers can see how they will live in the space.
Linda: In a recent publication, staging experts have quoted statistics that show staged homes sell on an average of nine days (!) vs. 164 days for unstaged homes, and typically sell for a 7 percent premium.
Jody: It is important to remember sellers have control over three things: Price, terms under which they are willing to sell and the condition of their property. In today’s market a seller MUST address and take control of all three of these if they want to be successful.
Sue: So, now more than ever, staging is a critical part of the selling process.
Holly: You only have one chance to make a first impression and you only have about five seconds to do it in. Don’t leave the buyer to do their own math to determine the cost of repairs for deferred maintenance. Their numbers are bound to be much higher than what a seller will expect.
Jody: Selling your home without staging is like going to a job interview in your pajamas. Stage your home so it will be memorable for all of the RIGHT reasons!
Jody: I was contacted by a seller to complete a market analysis on a great little home in the north end. I gave them a price and they decided to try and sell the home themselves. After six months they called me to list it. I listed the property for the same price, cleaned and staged it, took new photos and received a near full price offer in four days. Price and location were not an issue — it all came down to staging and the proper exposure to the market!
Jody: I listed a home in the north end last October for some friends of mine who wanted to buy a bigger house. They had identified and made an offer on the home they wanted to buy, contingent on the sale of their home. The seller didn’t bite — they weren’t as confident as I was that they could sell their house. So we knew we had to sell their house first and hope that the new house would still be available. I knew that if my friends’ house was priced right and staged, that it would go quickly.
There was a lot at stake. We carefully priced the property based on recent SOLD comparables and had the house staged. Staging included a good cleaning from top to bottom, painting, rearranging and bringing in furniture that better fit the available space, hanging mirrors and artwork to show off the house, changing some color schemes and purchasing new bedding.
Total cost was $800.
We had an extremely well-attended open house and sold the property in four days for full price WITH a full price back-up offer! This was just after the stock market plummeted last October and nothing was selling. The owners also got a killer deal on their new home.
Do the work and it will pay off!
ALL: We’ve all pulled up in front of a house with a prospective buyer, only to have them balk at going in. It’s just not that appealing, and no amount of persuasion is going to get them to change their mind at that point.
Holly: You have to grab them from the street, so they will be interested in seeing the rest.
Empty vs. furnished:
Sue: We all agree we would much rather show a nicely furnished home. However, an empty house is more appealing to a buyer than a house that shows like a frat house, or worse.
Jody: At least with an empty house, we know about what to expect when we walk in.
Price per square foot:
Sue: It is a great way to measure value when comparing apples to apples, for example: new developed subdivisions where every other floor plan is the same, lot sizes are similar and construction materials are identical.
Jody: With costs per square foot there is also an economy of scale — as homes get larger, cost per square foot will get smaller. But the nature of real estate is that all properties are unique. Cost per square foot cannot be a stand-alone measure of value, so more often than not it is a poor indicator.