Thursday, July 23, 2009


By James Sarles

Believe it or not according to many top economists around the world there are signs that the world economy may be emerging from the worst recession in five decades. As I have always stated whatever happens to our neighbors across the pond is always a great predictor of our future in Freeport since we are so closely tied to the US. The US housing slump, now in its fourth year is stabilizing according to experts.

From the local perspective our housing market is very slow as I’m sure everyone is aware. The number of real estate transactions is down almost 30% and prices for homes actually sold are down almost 15%. That is not great news, but if you are selling your home this does not mean that you can’t or won’t sell your house… but it does mean that you have to be smart and deal with the reality of this tough market. There are houses selling and it appears that interest in real estate is coming alive again as the Freeport market is showing some signs of recovery. So if you are a seller in this market and you want to be one of the sellers whose house does sell, you have your work cut out for you because it’s a buyers market. Buyers have a lot of options in Freeport so it is very important to make sure your house is ready for sale.

Think of a potential buyer as going on a date with your house and it’s your job to get your house ready for the first date. What does it take to sell a home in a buyers’ market – a fresh coat of paint or a kitchen overhaul? Lowering the asking price or offering incentives? From cosmetic to strategic, smart sellers can take advantage of a few simple tips to get the most out of their properties to help sell your house. Here are a few strategies to securing a “sold” sign:

Boost Curb Appeal. Though they may be obvious, cosmetic upgrades like painting and planting can truly go a long way to forming a fantastic first impression of a home. And be sure to clean, clean, clean!

Make Big Fixes Where Possible. If budget allows, invest in bigger improvements. Focus on “make or break” rooms like bathrooms and kitchens, because nothing says “uninviting” like an unattractive cooking space. If budget is limited think about smaller home improvements in these areas which could help close the deal..

Transparency is Golden. Getting a preliminary professional home inspection and sharing it with potential buyers may help them understand a home’s condition and reinforce that everything is being done in a trustworthy and responsible manner. Make sure to be clear about recent improvements that have been made, and provide estimates on other optional upgrades – especially ones that can be included as part of the agreement.

Go the Extra Mile. Have the home pre-inspected and follow up by making necessary repairs. Allow potential buyers to see the report and receipts for the work. Do whatever you can to make your house stand out. You usually only have a few minutes to make the first impression so make it count !
Be Realistic with price. Selling in a buyer’s market takes skill and strategy. In Freeport, increased inventory has given buyers the opportunity to be selective in the home they want and the price they are willing to pay. Properly priced homes are selling and a good agent will help determine what that price should be. Also understand that it normally takes a bit longer to sell a home in buyer’s market than in a seller’s market. Sellers often take great pride in their homes, but it is important to set a priced based solely on factors like location, condition and size.

A house in a exclusive area may be appealing to some buyers, while others will want to be closer to schools and shopping. What is the physical condition of the home? Is it a fixer-upper? Does it make a good first impression (or have “curb appeal”)? Will it appeal to a growing family, or is it better suited for empty nesters? These are all things that need to be considered when pricing a home.

These are a few tips to help you sellers get prepared for this buyers market. So even though things may be looking pretty dismal in Freeport right now hang in there because I believe that we are on our road to recovery and your house can and will sell. Good Luck to all you sellers. Until Next week.

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