Buyers, now’s the time to update your buying strategies

Anyone who is buying – or just checking out – a house in our unique Northeast PA market is likely to find that some of the rules of the “buyers market” game seem to have shifted.

As the latest housing statistics continue to paint an upbeat picture, at least when it comes to bargain-priced properties, the days of multiple bids and ‘offers over asking’ are showing some new appearance. And, if you are – rightfully – considering buying a house in our area before interest rates and prices rise in earnest, it would be useful to take a look at some strategies that work — and some that virtually never do:

1)                  Blanket low-balling – Running around writing up a bunch of low-ball offers is a surefire way to get yourself ignored, or worse, miss out on an otherwise great property. A better approach?  Work with a knowledgeable agent whose expertise in area neighborhoods will allow you to check on the most recent comps, then write a serious offer.

2)                  Dismissing Imperfect Properties – The degree of your success in buying a house in town can depend on starting out with a reality check: only very rarely is a property totally perfect for you and priced absolutely right.

3)                  Highest and Best – Unfortunately, the tempting low prices listed for some local bank-owned homes also means that it’s increasingly common to encounter the dreaded “multiple offer situation.”  If you find yourself there, be prepared to submit your highest and best offer first — you may not have another shot.

This changing market doesn’t mean we are headed into the kind of fever-induced ‘bubble’ we saw in the mid- 2000’s.  But for those seeking a deal and waiting for the bottom of the market before buying a house in town, the market does not seem to be waiting. 2013 is clearly the time to jump in!

 

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How about a few ideas to help our Lake Wallenpaupack homes sellers banish these winter blues?

As fall becomes early winter, the crisp air, festive celebrations and holiday spirit do their job of gladdening local hearts. However, after the eggnog bowl disappears — once January rolls around and the holiday decorations go into cartons — it’s common to feel varying degrees of the ‘winter blues.’

Actually, the experts call that Seasonal Affective Disorder, but since the acronym is ‘SAD,’ I prefer ‘winter blues.’  For anybody who’s been feeling a little down, particularly if you have a local property that’s been on the market without attracting much activity, this is a good time to take a moment to bring back some cheer to your property!

The quickest spirit-elevator is to simply lay out colorful pillows, throws, or little details like punchy candles or tablecloths. Then roll up the shades during the day to let in more light  – and not only when your property is scheduled for a showing (drive-by prospects are put off by a shuttered-looking house).

Feeling trapped indoors?  Consider using that extra indoor time to de-clutter your property — just a little freshening up really does lift spirits. If these short daylight hours are getting you down, see if switching one or two lamps over to “full spectrum” light bulbs has an effect.  They mimic natural light; for some people, they affect mood in the same way that natural sunlight does. You can also experiment with a sunlamp specifically designed to help those with more pronounced seasonal sensitivity.

Finally, if the winter blues threaten (and a Caribbean vacation is out of the question), why not simply embrace the season?   Bundle up, get outside, and connect with nature, especially on those glorious windless local days when the sun is shining.

But what to do when it’s cold, dark, and damp? I know that days like that remind me to be grateful for clothes that keep me warm, a warm bed to sleep in, and a safe property to house the family. They also make me really appreciate the warm ones!

Have a local property question?  I’m standing by all winter long with answers. Call anytime!

 

A FSBO perspective; A Lake Wallenpaupack realtors’ opinion

FSBO: “For Sale By Owner!” — it can seem like a good idea when you first mull over the prospects for selling your house.  A  FSBO listing promises to allow a homeowner to sell without even consulting local real estate agents and depending on a home’s final sale price, the commission presumably saved looks to be substantial, wouldn’t you think?

While certainly the idea of doing it yourself does sound attractive, understand that statistics prove it’s not only more efficient to work with a real estate agent — it also frequently nets sellers more at the bottom line. And, there are logical reasons why it works out that way. They are the same reasons why – according to only one in ten homes are successfully sold as FSBOs.

First off, while it may seem easy to arbitrarily pick a price and just “see what happens”, without a timely professional assessment of your local market, it’s pretty unlikely to be ‘right priced’. Serious buyers are smart and do lots of online homework now and will certainly make current market comparisons to see whether a FSBO is a fair bargain being offered by a serious seller.  If the answer is wrong, buyers move on.

I guarantee you, realtors’ are more than a convenience; we are risk managers who relieve you  from the paperwork tangle can be decisive in preventing technical logjams. There are other technical issues, too: experienced buyers know that a FSBO-seller also has a lower likelihood of being familiar with protective disclosures or even area ordinances that can affect a sale.Busy real estate offices use today’s electronic signature platforms, scanners, printers and faxes to rapidly churn out legally binding documents that keep you moving forward toward closing day while vigilantly keeping you on legal target.

Then there’s the negotiation process. More than just working out a price, your agent can deal with all the details a prospective buyer sometimes throws into the mix. By sparing you the emotional cost every time you are asked to handle repairs or any number of other details, the odds rise that a transaction will stay on track and on time.

So, long story short,  there’s really no need to reinvent the wheel. A simple solution: call me for a pressure-free consultation.  I’d be delighted to come by to go over your options. 

Let’s consider the pros & cons with listing your home during the winter months

Winter morning

Selling your home in Winter

If you are an Northeast PA homeowner struggling with the decision about whether listing your home for sale during the winter months is good or bad, there are arguments for either choice.
Let’s start with the “pros”:
One of the best things I like about listing your home for sale in the winter months is that the holidays work to your advantage. Nothing says “home” better than a house that is well (and tastefully!) decorated for the holidays. By making sure the decorations accent the house rather than overpower it, you still funnel attention where it belongs: on your house!
Another plus that comes with listing your home in town during the winter months is the logistical reasons that keep the proportion of non-serious “shoppers” from occupying your time. I find that the majority of those who are looking for homes during the winter months are disproportionally intent on actually buying a home.
On the other hand, some of those same logistical forces serve as counterarguments against listing your home during the winter. They are the same reasons many real estate agents tell their clients to wait until the spring to list. It’s true that there are fewer daylight hours for home viewings…not to mention spates of bad weather, and the greater chance that holiday travel will interfere with both buyer and seller schedules.
All in all, I think the arguments cancel each other out: I don’t advise you to allow the time of year to prevent you from listing your home in any season. If you are otherwise ready to sell your home this month or next, I say — make the most of the season! Who knows – it has happened more than once that the right buyer is out there right now. I have marketing plans for area homes that work every month of the year — if you are ready to sell, I’d be delighted to help you launch your sale this holiday season!