As we work towards maintaining a balance in this blog between informing, entertaining and at the very least amusing those following, I thought this one would be great to write in hopes of doing all three. I reached out to our agents in hopes of finding what it was that their buyers and sellers talked about or thought that ultimately we were able to prove wasn’t exactly true.
First and foremost, ALL of our agents cited various myths around credit. Our Realtors have an innate ability to put their clients at ease, and as soon as that level of comfort is reached, financial angst and concern about their credit seems to top their “myth list.”
Buyers – especially first time buyers feel that they need to wait to establish perfect credit. One agent added:
“You don’t have to have perfect credit – there are lenders who can work with a variety of credit scores, histories and scenarios. If you have encountered difficulties, it may not take the years you imagine to get your score up. Our lenders have tools that can analyze your credit and tell you exact amounts and creditors to pay to get your score up quickest. Lots of people think simply paying things off will boost their score and this isn’t always the case. “
Great advice. The credit scoring model is a complicated beast. Clearing balances and closing long standing cards with good credit history is just one example of how well intentioned future buyers sabotage their own score. Pick up the phone and have a conversation and Heather can help point you in the right direction and bypass this well known myth.
Next I spoke specifically, with Sherry Avant. Sherry is the penultimate “people person.” Clients feel like they have known her for years within minutes of exchanging the first, “How are y’all?” This SC native has worked hard to debunk a few of the myths we’re talking about today.
When speaking to a client a few days ago we heard a well established misnomer. The future seller was highly motivated to take advantage of the market but wanted to wait until she was able to repair and renovate in order to get the best price for her home. Sherry explains:
“While wanting to put your house in order makes perfect sense, you want to schedule a walkthru with an agent before diving in with anything that may be costly or time consuming. Often it comes down to making sure that whatever is done will appeal to a wide audience AND do the math to know you’ll be getting out most of what you’re putting in financially. Often we sit with a seller and review, ultimately determining that it makes more sense to price the current kitchen into our listing, rather than spend money and possibly alienate a buyer based on taste.”
Very few renovations or remodels give back what’s put in. A 2016 Cost Vs Value report shows that in our region, the only renovation done that equals or betters money spent is insulation work. A new front door comes close, but in general ask one of our specialists before pulling out that Home Depot card. They’ll point you in the right direction and determine what work makes sense before putting the sign in the front yard.
Finally I heard from Dale Loftis. Dale is a long time realtor and as such has probably heard and dispelled every myth we’ll debunk hundreds if not thousands of times in his career.
Dale was happy to provide us with some insight into pricing. Clients have a number of resources to gain some understanding on how to price their home for sale – or try and figure out how much they should offer on one for sale. Dale explains:
“Our clients are more knowledgeable today then they might have been years ago. Tax values, online estimates (Zillow, Trulia, Realtor) all help give people some ideas around pricing. The truth is that the true price of a home is simply what today’s market is willing to pay to buy it – Today.”
Assessed value, online estimates, old appraisals or even comparable properties for sale – but have not yet sold – are not true indicators of price. Dale is a great example of someone that can work with you to evaluate a price that will meet your goal of moving, within the time frame you want to move. It is part art, part economics and part knowing your market – but when we watch Dale do it, it’s all magic!
While having these discussions I reached out to Stephen Cooley himself and with his help, developed these next few myths that needed debunking before we concluded. In no particular order:
- “I can make more money if I sell it myself.” Although this is true in some – read very few – cases, it’s more often the case that a house takes longer to sell without a realtor AND usually at a lower price. Buyers will discount their offer if they see it’s For Sale By Owner, specifically because they know theirs a savings they can share with the seller. On top of that lack of market knowledge, lack of marketing itself, negotiating skills, contract and real estate ability…the list goes on and on. Get an expert.
- “I need 20% down/Large Down Payment.” You’d be amazed at the programs still out there. Yes, save for your home purchase if you can. That being said, USDA, FHA, negotiating closing costs into the deal, even grants and home buyer programs are still solutions that can assist you if you have the means of accessing them. We do. Just ask.
- “I want to bump my price up to leave room for negotiation.” According to the Charlotte Multiple Listing Service or CMLS, homes sold so far in 2016 have done so at 97.4% of list price. That’s pretty darn near asking price. Homes that sell well do so because they were priced right in the first place. There will always be exceptions – some selling over, some under – but in general trust our agents to guide you to a price that will help your listing stand out for being exactly where it needs to be.
- “I want to wait for the market to shift (buyer’s market/seller’s market).” Timing the real estate market is like timing the stock market. I’m sure there are people out there doing it perfectly, but I haven’t met them. Time on the market is what matters. Your buyer or your perfect house could be out there today. Right now. There are a lot of things that show go into determining when to sell or buy, but timing the market is probably not one of them. It changes daily and is a fickle beast.
- “We can get more, our house is special because…” Confession time. I’m quoting myself on this one. We had an amazing backyard oasis in the last home we sold. It was in the perfect neighborhood for raising kids. My wife’s taste in decorating was impeccable. We absolutely should have been able to get 5 – 10% higher than most homes like ours. Yeah, well…not so much. My house wasn’t special – my home was. What I mean by that is that all the memories and emotions built into the home was what made it special – and we were taking those with us. Can’t price into a sale what you’re taking with you. Every home is special to those selling it and will become special to those buying it in time. But we can’t price that in. Amenities, location, square footage, upgrades, etc. That’s what matters. But don’t worry, the valuable stuff that makes you think there’s more value there – those are the things you take with you when you leave.
For those counting myths, I think we’re probably only at 8. But that’s for a reason…we want you to fill in the final myth for us! So what have you thought, heard or believed in the past related to a real estate transaction ultimately proved to be less than true? Drop us a comment and let us know.