A Tale of Pricing Riverfront Gulf Access Homes
Sometimes when homes don't sell as fast as expected the homeowner becomes frustrated. The current state of the Bonita Springs real estate market has brought sales to some home sellers while other homes remain unsold. The only thing that is obvious about the current real estate market is that proper pricing is still king when trying to sell your home. If you're a frustrated home owner trying to price your home to sell in today's market here are a few tips and examples about pricing.
While working with a buyer looking at gulf access and riverfront property in Bonita Springs and Estero it became clear after visiting about ten homes which homes were priced competitively for the market and which homes weren't. It doesn't necessarily mean that the homes were mispriced from the get go. Maybe the market just sank around the price and there haven't been price adjustments to remain competitive. For whatever reason the owner and maybe their agent never realized that the home is now priced out of the market and it just makes the other homes look more attractive as a better deal. Homes priced poorly will, in essence, help the neighbor sell his home first.
If you're a Bonita Springs home owner and you've had your home on the market for a while with less than stellar results you might want to update your figures and take another stab getting your home sold.
For starters, you do need to listen to feedback that your real estate agent gets for you from the buyers agents that have shown your home. If it's not clean enough, clean it. If it smells, fix it. If it needs the walls toned down, paint it. The point is it's an unbiased person that has seen your home and the homes that compete with your home and they're offering a free review of why the buyers didn't buy. The trick is that you might have to be thick skinned and not be defensive when you are told the truth.
The feedback might include the results of where the buyer did purchase. If you're losing the lion's share of buyers to a specific Bonita Springs community or area, then that's now your biggest competition and you need to pay attention to what is going on in that neighborhood, too. Sometimes buyers just go to the next community down the road because the same floor plan is available there at a significant savings in price. Be aware that sometimes the buyer that last went through your home never purchased anywhere. It wouldn't hurt to know that, too.
Recently, I gave feedback to the listing agent of a $1.3M gulf access home I showed. The home was cute enough and had seen a little updating since being built in the late 60's. I shared with the listing agent that my buyers no longer had interest in the home because they had found two homes that were priced just under $1M with an equally beautiful view and the homes were considerably newer, offered more detail and had been built with newer building codes. One home was built in 2006 and the other in 1999. There was even a riverfront comparable sale of less than a month ago at $880,000 in Serrano of Bonita Springs that ran circles around it in upgrades and price. The agent seemed surprised and may have had no idea how far off their price was. As a courtesy, I actually offered the addresses of the other gulf access homes so that the agent could make appointments to preview the homes with the sellers so they would see first hand what their competition looks like.
It's OK to visit the competition to make sure you're home is priced competitively. Open houses aren't just for buyer's they're for sellers, too. If you see a home in your Bonita Springs Community that is being held open stop in and take a look. Your agent can even make an appointment for you to see the home.
The next thing I'd suggest that you do is get a fresh comparative market analysis for the property and figure out the current absorption rate. The CMA will utilized the most recent sales criteria to help you figure out how to price your home for the current market, not what the market indicated three months, six months or a year ago when it was first listed. The absorption rate is something you'll want to stay on top of, too. I wonder if the sellers of the gulf access homes we looked at knew that their absorption rate is about 3.5 years. That's a long time to be paying taxes, insurance, mortgage, utilities and maintenance on a home that is not selling. It may be in the owner's best interest to price more effectively to sell faster and keep the long term holding costs down. Plus, if the seller needs to be living in Memphis in six months, he should know that that may not happen unless the pricing is more aggressive.
Finally, know that most of what your agent will use for a CMA and absorption rate will be used in part by a property appraiser when it comes time to appraise your home. If you or your agent can't find recent sales that support your list price, the appraiser probably won't either. This could mean your home won't appraise for its contracted sale price and if it doesn't appraise, the bank won't lend on that sale price. You might have to kiss that buyer goodbye or renegotiate a new sale price.
Remember, your Bonita Springs home is only worth what a buyer is willing to pay and the price that an appraiser verifies its value be. Finding the fine line and walking it like a tight rope isn't as hard as you think. It certainly has to be easier than writing checks to float a home that's not selling.