Selling real estate can be a tough job, and it's much tougher when our clients don't listen to the advice we offer. Whether you're going to be buying or selling a home in the near future, please educate yourself on these suggestions we find ourselves making weekly!
For Home Buyers
The market is probably stronger than you think. Despite constant news headlines, social media articles, and blogs like this one, many Charleston South Carolina home buyers don't realize just how strong our market is. Especially if they're coming from another part of the state or country, it takes some time (and perhaps missed opportunities) before they're brought up to speed. Brand new listings might require a full priced offer depending on the area or neighborhood. It's important to have realistic expectations so that you're able to secure that top pick of homes rather than miss out on multiple homes simply because you aren't willing to pay a fair price. (Check out our Charleston real estate market statistics to compare areas and median prices!)
When you find the right home, we need to act quickly. Buyers used to have the luxury of waiting a day or two after seeing a home before writing an offer. However, the best priced listings are going under contract quickly. Depending on the area, sometimes new listings only last 1-7 days.
Get pre-approved with a lender before we go look at homes. Not only is a pre-approval letter required when it's time to make an offer, but it's also important for peace of mind in the earlier stages. I've shown quite a few homes to clients who seemed to have their finances in order - but ended up having to lower their price point after seeing beautiful homes that they absolutely loved but couldn't afford to buy. Believe me when I say it's very difficult to see and expect $500,000 homes and then lower your standards to $400,000 homes. The upgrades, the finishes, and the neighborhoods are very different for these price points. Talk with a lender before we start seeing homes so that you don't fall in love with a home and later discover that you can't purchase it.
For Home Sellers
We want your home to sell for top dollar. When we create a CMA (Comparative Market Analysis) to determine the value of your home, we try to find a realistic and objective number. Sometimes sellers assume that since the market is so strong, we can add ten or fifteen thousand dollars to a listing just to see if it sells. However, even in the strongest of markets, overpriced listings don't sell. And when a listing doesn't sell, we don't get paid (and neither do you).
Buyers can be very critical during showings. Especially in a market like our current one, buyers have trouble swallowing such high prices. It can be hard for them to adjust their expectations when looking at smaller, vinyl siding homes when they've come from a market where they could afford a much nicer home. Sellers can make their home more appealing (and sell for a higher price) if they're willing to clean meticulously, declutter, and do some small projects like painting or yard work based on feedback from their listing agent.
Don't expect a full price offer. As listing agents, we always try to work in some negotiating room for our list price. Although full priced offers are becoming increasingly more common, we can't expect or hold out for a full price unless an offer comes in within just a few days of being listed. Most buyers still expect to be able to negotiate a little on price, regardless of how strong the market is.
If we receive multiple offers, it's not because we underpriced your home. When we're able to present our seller with more than one offer (especially when one is full priced), we know that we did our job to the best of our ability. However, sometimes sellers interpret this triumph as a missed opportunity - they assume we should have listed the home for a higher price. A home with multiple or full price offers still has to appraise for the contract price. Remember that appraisers look at comps going 5 months back, meaning that appraisal shortfalls are common in an upwards market. Although we want you to get the highest price possible for your home, we don't want to run the risk of appraisal problems that can scare away a buyer and make him/her want to withdraw the contract (or renegotiate a totally different price).