With Price Reductions and Competition from Foreclosures and REO Properties, How Can a Homeowner Sell their Home Quickly in Today’s Market?

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Many homeowners wonder how to sell their home in today’s real estate market when competing with foreclosures and REO properties. With some Market Times as high as 10 months, and an uncertain market direction, what are the two main points that homesellers need to know? Hillary Caston, Laguna Beach Realtor with The Coastal Property Experts, gives her tips after helping one of her clients sell their home in less than 2 weeks.

Many homeowners wonder how to sell their home in today’s real estate market when competing with foreclosures and REO properties.

According to a recent report from the California Association of Realtors, the average market time for a home is 4.5 months. Homes priced at $1 million and greater, which are most of the homes for sale in Laguna Beach with its median sales price of $960,000, have average market times of 10.1 months.

Ten months is a long time to wait for your home sell, especially when industry experts are unsure if prices will increase or decrease over the next few months.

Many homeowners recognize the opportunities presented with today’s favorable real estate prices and low interest rates. They want to sell their existing home in order to move up, move down, or move into an area that once seemed only a dream. Homes in Laguna Beach may have seemed untouchable in the past, but are becoming very affordable.

For sellers hoping to take advantage of the positives in this real estate market, Hillary Caston of The Coastal Property Experts offers these tips:

  •     Make your home look its best. Clean it top to bottom. Add a few colorful items like rugs, towels or candles. My clients get the benefit of a professional designer, but it’s not always necessary to spend a lot of money.
  •     De-clutter the home’s key areas. You may be used to that counter full of small appliances; however, clear it off when it comes time to sell. If you have large furniture in a small space, be relentless in making the area as bare as possible.
  •     Pack up personal mementos and pictures. You have to pack anyhow. Let prospective borrowers envision their family in the home rather than being distracted by yours.
  •     Price your home to sell! No matter how well you follow the first 3 steps, an overpriced home will sit on the market and get “stale”.

This last point of pricing your home well was key for one of Caston’s recent clients:

…I can't thank you enough for all of your efforts in successfully getting our home sold… we had tried to sell our house for 2 years…You were like a breath of fresh air, we were so tired of hearing [from other realtors] that hopefully someone would "fall in love" with our home. You were "real" upfront and honest about the current market along with what we needed to do in order to "get our house sold." After following your direction, the house sold in two weeks!..." - Liz and Jay Monaco

“It’s just a shame when a realtor takes the easy route of signing a listing contract, placing a For Sale sign in the yard, knowing that the home is not priced right or ready to show. It’s like showing up to a formal wedding in torn up jeans and nobody has the guts to tell you that you need to get cleaned up! Doing this would be a disservice to my clients. They hire me for my expertise and knowledge; rarely for me to simply agree with a misconception that they may have. ”

When asked if she has ever lost a client because of her “no B.S. straight shooter approach”, Caston said that sellers have gone with other realtors; however, she has had some come back to her when the home didn’t sell after the listing contract expired with the other agent.

Sometimes, the bigger challenge is to convince them to continue on the path of selling the home after her team goes in and makes it beautiful!

“I make them promise me up front that they won’t fall in love with their house all over again!” jokes Caston.

But in all seriousness, price reductions in this current market are pretty common. It has been reported that the top 50 cities saw price decreases from 7% - 26%. Laguna Beach was not on that list; however, according to information taken from the MLS (Multiple Listing Service), 193 of the 395 Active homes for sale have had price reductions since they hit the market.

This is sometimes referred to as “following the market down” if the property was not well-priced to begin with. Other reasons could include property challenges, or higher priced homes that often have longer market times.

According to Caston, sellers need to keep two major ideas in mind: Price your home for today’s market, and make the extra effort to make it shine. This will give your home its best chance to sell in this, and any real estate market.

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