Gayle Rich-Boxman-Broker with Vernonia Realty, Fulltime Fishhawk Lake Resident!
Lately, I’ve spent hours with potential sellers going over all of their questions about the market in the last year, how sellable their home or lot is and how long it might take to sell. This is not a black and white issue and I like to be really honest with potential sellers to try to steer them in the right direction according to their financial situation and their ultimate goals.
Reasons for selling:
Some people have lost jobs, some are looking at retirement a couple of years down the road and divesting themselves of two properties, while others are looking at just getting out from under spending extra dollars every month for a 2nd property that they may not be using as much as they would like. We all can understand this, especially in times when you are looking around you and seeing others losing their first homes, jobs or having salaries cut in half with no end in sight. I do tell my “potential sellers” that it seems that those people who have been smart about their money are still being smart about their money, and see deals. Along with that there are (still) low interest rates available as well as much-lower pricing on vacation homes and vacant lots at Fishhawk Lake and other vacation destinations, so they are looking very seriously at buying property right now.
Weighing your options as a seller:
There are many variables to look at when deciding whether or not to sell at this juncture. I’ve had clients who have had major remodels done on property that they bought less than five years ago. On the positive side, that adds value to the home, especially if it is a kitchen, bathroom, roof, etc. These all add a higher percentage of value back into the property. Now, the question arises as to how much the homeowner spent, what they owe on the property as far as an existing loan and adding those together then looking at a potential selling price that is reasonable in this down market and seeing if they can walk away without owing any money or possibly making some kind of profit.
I’ve actually suggested to potential sellers to wait if they possibly can, because they either owe too much, have time to wait before retiring (in hopes that the market will turn around) or they may need to get some updating/remodeling done on the home to make it more presentable in lieu of what’s currently on the market that may present better than their property in comparison.
How is your pricing?
Another variable that must be looked at is pricing it correctly. That, of course involves my expertise as the realtor who specializes in this area. I always try to give a range in pricing, according to properties that have sold recently, any pending, and several listings and let the homeowner ultimately choose. I also know what buyers are most interested in and that can help in pricing or whether or not to sell at this point or wait, because there is a glut of listings at Fishhawk Lake (just like other markets in Portland, the coast, and elsewhere) so a potential buyer has a WHOLE LOT to choose from and your very rustic cabin that is in dire need of updating better be priced really aggressively unless you can sit on it for another 2+ years and hope the market turns around.
Some sellers price on the higher side with the intention of having flexibility in countering an offer made by a buyer. This can work to their advantage or simply price them out of the market for anyone to even bother viewing the home period. I’ve noticed that if you don’t price it properly from the START, you will find yourself STUCK down the road with a home that sits and sits, possibly for years because you got a little too greedy in the beginning. Buyers DO look at pricing, especially right now and since there is a TON of inventory for them to choose from, they will most certainly scrutinize and ask many questions about why the highest priced home is priced that way and if the listing realtor can’t readily answer that question with some compelling reasons why, then that home will automatically be dismissed without an opportunity for the seller to have it shown.
As far as vacant lots, there are GOBS of them available up here and I am getting more and more calls and e-mails about buying something CHEAP and building later or simply camping on it for years. IF you have a lot that you want to get rid of, you better have water/sewer already hooked up, or have lake front or at least water accessibility or have a ROCK BOTTOM price, because EVERYONE who is calling about a lot wants to buy it for very little money because that’s all they have right now. Another great way to get more interest in selling your lot is to have contract terms. This is a terrific selling point and I’ve done several sales on vacant lots here with contract terms, which can be written case-by-case to fit whatever is most comfortable for BOTH parties. Getting a loan on vacant land is pretty close to impossible as well as new construction loans. Also, you have to take into consideration, that our Homeowner’s Association has certain restrictions on building that are in the CC&Rs which you need to be aware of. No manufactured homes, has to be at least 900 sq. ft. concrete foundation, 18 months to build, tree removal for homesite only, etc.