Study The Market Cycle: Homes in general may take longer to sell these days because of pricing, perceived seller value and a more cautious pool of buyers. But that doesn’t mean sellers are any less motivated to move on with their lives. At one time, we thought little of homes sitting on the market for 90 days or more. These days, we seek buying opportunities if a home has been on the market over 60 days-- and are seeing some heavy price discounting from our buyers if days on market goes over 90 days.
Check Tax Records and other Sources: Is there more debt on the home than what it is worth? Has a Notice of Default been filed that would indicate a looming foreclosure? If so, and if this is a home of interest for our buyer, we submit an offer contingent upon the successful negotiation of a short sale (where the lender sells the property for less than what is owed). In this case, either we or professional negotiators deal with the lender(s) to reach the best possible price for our buyer.
Did Owners Pay Cash or Have They Owned Their Home for Longer than 10 Years? These sellers may be in a position to sell at a discount or may be motivated to do so due to life transitions or other investment opportunities. They may also be open to owner-financing for all or part of the home mortgage. Become knowledgeable about installment sales and other creative financing strategies.
Are You Open to Remodeling? Homes sold in as-is condition are more likely than others to sell at a substantial discount. Owners, especially when the home has been on the market for some time, are often overwhelmed with the thought of remodeling and updating–and fearful that their decor choices will not suit potential buyers. In many markets, older or outdated homes are sometimes sold at land value.
Foreclosure Sales: The f-word (foreclosure) is occurring even in the luxury home market. Highly leveraged homes purchased in the last few years are more frequently ending up on the courthouse steps. Foreclosure purchases, which require cash and carry no disclosures or guarantees, offer both great potential for profit–and big dangers for the uninformed. Bidding should be non-emotional and it is best to have a professional bidding for you–but only after thorough-as-possible research has been done regarding the home’s condition, its history and resale potential. Cracked slabs, structural defects and boundary line encroachments are unwelcome surprises.
Check Out The Realtor: If the property you want is listed, have your agent check the other real estate agent’s listing history, or better yet, you if you if you have access to MLS. If that agent tends to have listings on the market for a long time, you may wish to lower your offer. On the other hand, if the agent prices properties aggressively and has short “days on market,” you may consider coming in near to, at, or over list price. You will likely find those listings already priced at or below market to attract multiple offers.