Grand Rapids, MI…
Homeowners in Grand Rapids, MI have witnessed a startling increase in the rates of homes sold through foreclosure sales and short sales. In the early portion of 2007, the percentage of home sales that were ‘crisis sales’ hovered between 14% – 16%.
But by the end of 2008 and into early 2009 the numbers had escalated dramatically to account for over 70% of the homes sold by the members of the Grand Rapids Association of Realtors Board.
Selling a home within this type of environment requires a different approach. Although marketing a home has never been easy, the challenges of the current crisis require a firm resolve and focus to do whatever it takes to succeed.
That is…IF you intend to sell your home. Now, this market is not for everyone. If you have recently purchased a home or don’t have a compelling need to move such as a change in life circumstances or employment, this may NOT be your market.
There are some things which you can do to assist in a more efficient process if you have to sell your home for less than what you owe on the mortgage aka as a Short Sale. Here they are:
Document your financial hardship
You will be required to give a fairly detailed accounting of your financial condition which will include statements from all bank accounts, investment accounts, a credit report, and a letter documenting your situation. Be prepared to submit this documentation and include a letter/statement which authorizes the bank to speak to the appropriate professionals such as your real estate broker if your home is listed.
Set the Stage…
Just because your home is being sold under less than ideal circumstances does not mean that it should be portrayed this way in your marketing efforts. The goal of a short sale should be to sell your home. Remember that your home will be competing with potentially hundreds or thousands of homes. Unless a home buyer falls in love with your home, you won’t have the chance of negotiating a short sale. It should also be noted that home buyers are often wary of the long drawn out process that the negotiation of a short sale requires so make it worth their while to wait!
Price to Compete!
One of the most interesting points during my listing presentation is when I show home owners a map of just how many homes are listed or have sold within their community. Most people are more than a little surprised.
There’s a lot of activity happening in the real estate market right now and you owe it to yourself to have an accurate understanding of your neighborhood market. Run the other way if an agent shows up at your door to take your listing in hand without documenting in detail WHY and HOW he/she has arrived at a pricing strategy and number.
Proper pricing and subsequent adjustments are critical if you are to succeed. A market rife with foreclosures makes for a ‘moving target’ when it comes to determining the right price. Be prepared to make adjustments quickly to reflect market realities. Emotional attachment about why this should not apply to your particular home will not serve you well when you’re dealing with buyers who are primarily looking at the bottom line.
On the other hand…a good deal cannot be hidden! We’re seeing homes priced competitively getting several bids and sometimes selling above the listing price. These homeowners took the time to understand their market and to respond accordingly. My counsel if you’re determined to Sell Your Home…is to take note.