History is being made everyday in our present real estate market environment. Some say that we are in the worst real estate downturn since the Great Depression. Recall that just three short years ago we could not find enough homes for sale to meet the frenzied demand. Everybody wanted to own not just one, but two, three or four homes. Things changed suddenly. Now, the mortgage credit crunch and high number of homes for sale certainly makes things look grim; however, one thing is for certain: homes are still selling everyday. In fact, in the Las Vegas area we sold 306 homes for over $1,000,000 in the past 12 months. That’s well over $300,000,000 worth of real estate. In this same timeframe I have sold a home for $1,047 per square foot, a record for Las Vegas, had a home sell in as little as three days time and started 2008 with my best first half of the year ever!
The Wall Street Journal’s recent wealth report shows the rich may have made the perfect getaway. Their weighting of real estate in their investment portfolios plunged from 24% in 2006 to 14% in 2007, just in time to beat the steady retreat in real estate prices. They aren’t just talking about homes in this report, think commercial real estate investments, real estate investment trusts (REITs) and other investment properties. Interestingly, the report noted that most of these sales were made to lock in profits rather than as a reaction to falling prices. Most of these funds were moved into cash and fixed income. An additional report also shows that the number of millionaires in America continues to grow with their ranks doubling in the past decade.
How to Sell a House, When You Have to Sell It Now!
If you can’t wait for the present real estate market to turn around and you absolutely have to sell your home, these seven surefire tips will help you get the job done quickly:
- Don’t Wait. It’s taking longer and longer to sell homes. Don’t hesitate. Get your home on the market now! With prices still declining in most markets it pays to take action now.
- Fix It Up and Clean It Up. There’s nothing like making a positive first impression. Don’t spend a lot of money on big-ticket items that you won’t see a return on, concentrate on the basics like paint, carpet and minor repairs. If you were selling your car, would you wash it and wax it first?
- Price It Cheaply. Don’t fight the market by trying to price your home at last year’s bubble level. Set a realistic salable price to create immediate excitement. Forget what you think the house should be worth. Instead set your price 5% below the most recent comparables. You’ll be the next one smiling on your way to the bank.
- Hire a Top Real Estate Agent. Get the best, most aggressive selling agent in your market. The seasoned experts have been through down markets before and know what it takes to sell. Remember 20% of the Realtors are making 80% of the sales.
- Promote, Promote, Promote. Don’t rely solely on your real estate agent to do all the work. Pony up for extras if you insist on untraditional promotions. Tell all your friends and relatives about your home. Put it in the church bulletin. Make sure your Realtor has a strong web presence.
- Play the Banker. The tight credit market has made obtaining financing very difficult even for credit worthy borrowers. Consider holding the mortgage on any free and clear real estate or if you won’t need all your cash out of the sale. Worst case? Your borrower defaults and you take the property back and sell it again.
- Take the Offer. If any qualified buyer comes along with any reasonable offer, be prepared to accept it. Sometimes your first offer is your best (and only) offer. You don’t want to lose out on a deal over a few thousand dollars. Negotiate, of course, but recognize the buyer has a lot more clout than you do.