I spent much of this week with my head blissfully in the sand. While others fretted about stock market losses and the failed housing market, I just kind of failed to tune in.
Crazy words, I know. I am hardly apathetic and I tend to be pretty well informed. But this week, as the sky fell around me, my life just went on.
That is not to say I won’t be impacted. Like most people, I lost a lot of money on paper. I don’t know how much and I probably will not open my brokerage statement this month. Or next month… My nest-egg got smaller and my borrowing ability shrank with the tightening credit market.
But in my small world here in Metro Detroit, I am still seeing houses sold. Selling houses in Metro Detroit is actually my BIG world, something I do every single day, all day. I went about my business and added to the “sold” statistics for 2008, which, by the way, are up over 2007 YTD.
Really, keeping about our business is what most of us should be doing instead of freaking out. Your home might be worth less. If you weren’t planning on moving soon and you don’t need to refinance then you won’t feel the bite imminently. You might even see a future reduction on your property taxes.
Fundamentals for Today’s Oakand County Home Seller
This is a market ONLY for serious, committed sellers. That means your house is priced right and marketed exceptionally. Priced right means it will be perceived by buyers to be a better deal than the other things they see in that price range. I have not talked to a buyer in the last 2 years that is not focused on the deal. They all have different ways of articulating it, but in the end, at a minimum they want to do what they can to make sure they are making a decent investment when they buy. At a mximum, they want to feel like they got a bloody steal.
This week I heard of buyers who were dropping their intended offers by as much as $100,000 in response to global economic issues. If you are a seller you need to be prepared to hear things like:
- Your house is not worth what you paid for it
- Your house is not worth what the taxman has told you it is worth
- Your house is not worth ANY refi appraisal you had in the last decade
- Your house is not worth more than all the other houses in the neighborhood
- Your house is not worth what it was worth 6 months ago.
That last one is important. Most of our listings this summer were sold in 60 days or less, so I have lots of proof that correct pricing and exceptional marketing works. In some segments of the Metro Detroit market, the average days on market is close to 3 years. In many of those cases, the sellers are not responding to the changes in the market and by leaving their home prices too high, they are making their homes nearly Sale Proof.
Chasing a market down does not work. You have to be slightly ahead of the market to get the deal.
If you are selling a Meto Detroit home, you can’t be an ostrich. Sorry. You have to pull your head out of the sand and either get your house off the market or do what it takes to get it sold. There ARE buyers out there and you can count yourself amongst this year’s sold statistics if you follow the right path.
Coming next: Observations about today’s buyers.