Be prepared to pay more than the asking price!

I saw it again this week – an extremely disappointed client (Bill) who missed out on a great buy.  It was a bank owned house with a listing price just over $97,000.  Bill made a full price cash offer and was sure he’d own his dream cabin soon.  But the bank received three other offers and came back to each buyer asking for his “highest and best” offer price.  We had no idea what the other offers were and Bill was immediately frustrated because “he’d given them exactly what they’d asked for”.  I visited with him about his “disappointment price” (we’ll save that for another blog) and he did raise his offer, but not enough to secure his purchase.

Curious, I did some research on bank owned sales.  In the first 6 months of 2011 there were 159 homes sold in Valley County.  Of the homes sold, 66 (41 percent) were bank owned.  Of the 66 bank owned homes, 19 (29 percent) sold for more than the asking price.  THAT IS A SIGNIFICANT PERCENTAGE.!

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Second Homes

Did you know that 75 percent of the homes in Valley County are second homes?  There are lots of good points about that statistic. 

  1. People like to be here and choose this area for their recreation and relaxation.  They smile a lot.
  2. Emergency services and schools are strained less by part-time residents.
  3. Second homeowners are unable to take advantage of the Primary Homeowner’s Tax Exemption.  This is a tremendous help with our limited Valley County tax base — and we thank you!
  4. Part-time residents bring energy, ideas, and life to our small communities.  They tend to be wonderful neighbors.
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Have you met Mrs. G??

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Most communities have someTHING special.  Well, Cascade has someONE special in Mrs. G, The Pie Lady.  She makes some mean, State Fair Prize winning beauties that bring hundreds of dollars at worthy fund raising auctions.  Even KTVB honored her this spring.  … Continue reading

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Can You Find These Cascade Landmarks?

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When you visit Cascade, do a little exploring!    Can you find these landmarks?  

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Market Comparison 2006 to 2011

Personally, I don’t trust numbers much.  Averages can be so easily distorted by one exceptionally large or small sale.  But market trends are more trustworthy.  Here is a Market Comparison Chart showing the SOLDS since 2006 for Valley County. 

The downward trend is apparent.  Home values have slipped over 50 percent since the peak. Appraisers tell us that home values have declined at around 1.5 percent a month.  And bare land has been even harder hit with a 70 to 75 percent drop in prices. 

It’s not my nature to be negative.  If I consider the big picture I can see the truth —  the real esate market saw a very unhealthy high in 2005 and 2006.  The correction started in the last half of 2007 and now we are seeing a very unhealthy low.  Eventually, hopefully sooner than later, the pendulum will settle at a healthy middle.  At least at that point we’ll have some stability and be able to operate in our new normal.

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Seller Tips List

Just a few suggestions and reminders to help you maximize your selling price and minimize the time on the market………….

1)  Curb Appeal is Real
What does your buyer see from his car?  Make it inviting and tempting.
Your lawn should be trimmed, sidewalks swept, front door clean, and windows shining.
Add some color with flowers and freshen the mulch.
Check the driveway for oil spills.
2)  At the Front Door
Clean the porch and repair the screen
Put a coat of fresh paint/varnish on the door and trim
Repair the door locks and key access
3)  Make it Light and Bright
Clean the windows and open the curtains.  Buyers love lots of light.
Turn on the interior and exterior lighting as a welcome sign.
Light the fireplace
Bake cookies or bread
4)  Create Space.
Clear the clutter from halls and stairways
Store surplus furniture
Clear the kitchen counters and stove top
Clear closets of unnecessary clothing and organize
Remove empty boxes and containers
Let your buyer SEE the value of that roomy basement, attic, or garage
5)  Add Sparkle
Clean and freshen the bathrooms (don’t forget the mirrors)
Clean the greasy dirt from doors and knobs
Clean the baseboards and around the heating vents
Clean the fronts of your appliances
Clean the washer and dryer
Clean the carpets, drapes and window blinds
Fresh paint will pay dividends in the form of a quicker sale or even a higher price.
6)  Let Your Buyer Focus on the Positive by Removing the Little Negatives
Fix leaky faucets and toilets
Tighten loose doorknobs, cabinet pulls, and wobbly hinges
Repair seals around tubs and basins
Replace defective light bulbs
Oil squeaking doors
Repair wall dings and touch up the paint
7)  Take a Walk
Resist the temptation to “help” the realtor show your home.  She knows her buyer and the degree of detail he appreciates – and the degree that frustrates him.  Your buyer needs to be able to look freely.  If you’re in the room he won’t express his negative impressions and the realtor won’t have a chance to respond with something positive.
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Foreclosure. Short Sale. REO. Say WHAT ????

In this distressed market we’ve had to become familiar with new terms and new ways of doing business.  Maybe I can help take away some of the mystery.  Keep in mind that these are  Karolyn’s Simplified Versions……

FORECLOSURE When an owner is behind in mortgage payments the lender can begin Foreclosure.  From the day formal notice is served, the owner has 120 days to bring his payments current or the property is sold to the highest bidder at a public sale. The highest bidder is almost always the lender because he has more invested in the property than a private party is willing to pay.

SHORT SALE When an owner needs/wants to sell and he owes more than his property is worth, the owner can try to negotiate with the bank to accept less than full payback for his loan.  Keep in mind that the owner may or may not be in Foreclosure during this process.  There are lots of ins and outs with Short Sales that will be covered in future posts.

REOThese properties are Bank Owned.  They have been repossessed and the seller is now the bank.  The properties are traditionally low priced because the banks are anxious to get them off their books.  The banks have their own time frames, forms, and procedures.

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Auction? or Auction?

The term “auction” can be very confusing in real estate because it is used for two different types of public sales.  

First, there is the type of auction we all think about – you know, the one with the fast-talking auctioneer who has several properties to sell in one afternoon.  Usually those auctions are organized by a bank who owns several properties.  There is a lot of advertising and hype in hopes of creating bidding excitement. 

Second is the auction that is held as a result of ForeclosureYou may have heard the term “Sale on the Courthouse Steps”.  At the end of the 120 day foreclosure period a representative, at an appointed place (courthouse, title company), calls out for bids on the property.  Almost always the highest bidder is the lender because he has more invested in the property than other bidders will pay.  And also because there is some risk involved in buying a property with no contingencies or title insurance.  So, the bank takes the property and it becomes an REO to sell another day.

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Your Front Door Says It All

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Your front door says it all.  Take a look at these photos and tell me what you expect to see inside………………..

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Sparkle is the Key

You need to put the sparkle on your property.  A little elbow grease goes a long way.  Let your buyer feel she could be walking into a house that’s been prepared for company.

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