Location vs Price + Condition
The Iowa City real estate market is hot. You’ll know that if you follow my Market Reports. Homes that are priced right and show well are selling fast. This week I walked into a house with a client that based on its location should have an offer in a couple of days. Will my buyer be the one bringing an offer? Nope. He knows it’s about $10,000 overpriced, (based on a very good comps from down the street). It also needed about $5000 worth of work done on it to bring it into the 21st Century… What is the moral of this little story? A hot market doesn’t mean you can list a house in any condition and still expect top dollar – Regardless of location. Location is helpful when it comes to selling a home, but location alone does not sell homes!
Location as One Piece of the Puzzle in Iowa City
Location is a very important factor for many buyers in Iowa City. The University of Iowa and the UI Hospitals are the biggest employers in the area. There is a high demand for homes within easy driving distance, on the bus line or within walking distance of the UI and UI Hospitals. There aren’t enough houses for everyone and especially in spring we see lots of buyers all looking at the same neighborhoods. If you look at my last Market Update for Iowa City you’ll see that a big percentage of the homes on the market are under contract. This is great for those sellers with accepted offers on their houses. How about those who are still waiting for that elusive offer? Regardless of the good location there are plenty of those houses on the market too. Why is that? Could it be that price and condition aren’t in line with buyer expectations? Or maybe a poor marketing strategy is the problem?
What can you do to make sure your house gets a quick offer?
#1 Preparing Your House in Iowa City for Sale
There are many aspects to preparing your house for sale before putting it on the market. There’s general deferred maintenance, de-cluttering to ensure that buyers aren’t distracted and can see the full potential of the house. There’s also the question of fresh paint or a new carpet, these are both items that it’s always good to talk to your agent about to make sure you get a good return on your investment. As a rule of thumb, painting is almost always a good idea. It’s not that expensive and makes the house look “like new.” It’s especially recommended if you have a lot of bold color choices in your house – You’ll almost always get a good return on investment for painting your house.
The jury’s out on replacing the carpet. I prefer to give that kind of advice after seeing the carpet. The return on investment is more difficult to measure and when I list homes I’m not at all for clients spending money without some return in it for them!
#2 Pricing Your Home Right for the Market
In my example in the first paragraph I talk about a house being $10,000 over-priced. How do I know that? Basing the price on the last comparative sale can’t be right in a rising market, can it? That’s correct. I didn’t do that though. I looked at the last sales, (there were two of them), factored in the condition of those properties to this one and drew my conclusions from there. Pricing a House Right is looking at a lot of data, combined with the local experience of a real estate agent who knows the market. I just happen to have seen a lot of similar houses and know what a buyer can expect to get at that price point. This property didn’t fit the bill.
When it comes to pricing your house, that’s what you need. An agent to advise you on what you can realistically expect to get for your house. As homeowners we get attached to our houses. We see value where a regular buyer might not. That’s the value of a real estate agent who is unbiased and bases the opinion on data and market conditions. Of course you should choose your agent wisely. We do live in a society where people are all too ready to tell you what they think you want to hear. You get that in any service industry and real estate is no exception. My sons would verify if you asked them, I’m more of a “tough love” kind of gal. I’ll tell you what you need to hear when it comes time to pricing your home. Anything less is a disservice to you and probably won’t get your home sold!
#3 Selling Your Home Faster With a GREAT Marketing Plan
A GREAT Marketing Plan is what I call the “magic sauce” that gets a home sold. The only caveat is that the best marketing plan in the world will be of no use at all if you skip or try to bypass steps 1 and 2. Well prepared and well priced homes will always sell. The question becomes how long it will take the “right” buyer to find it. Statistics show that houses that get offers quickly usually also sell for a higher price. Does your house jump out in the crowd of homes on the Internet? Buyers hop from website to website. They look at homes on Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com and many, many more sites looking for that “perfect” home. Will they find yours? Does yours jump out? Will you get the quick offer and with it the best price for your home? I could spend my time writing a long list of the ways I make sure your house stands out in the crowded world of houses online. Instead I’ll provide links to a couple of recent listings that got accepted offers within 48 hours of going on the market…
Ready to talk about getting your house or condo in Iowa City sold? Give me a call at 319-400-0268 – A common sense approach to real estate means you’ll get good advice on getting your home sold in the Iowa City area. I’ll give you the facts and help you figure out a strategy on how to get from listing to SOLD with the minimum amount of stress and lots of attention to detail.