Pricing Your Home – To Sell!


Pricing Your Home – To Sell!

One of the most difficult, and controversial, steps to selling your home is determining the price to list and sell it at.  People are often confused about the process of establishing a price of your home.  First of all, it is important to remember that the seller determines the listing price of the home, but it is the buyer who ultimately determines the selling price.

The process of determining what to list a property for should be a joint decision between the seller and the listing agent.  Above all, it is important to look at the facts that are supporting a particular price.  All to often, when giving a listing presentation to Mr. & Mrs. Seller they will point out that the house down the street is listed at $40,000 more than what I am presenting-  and that may be true.  But it is important to remember that you have to compare apples to apples.  The house down the street may be larger, newer, have more upgrades, etc.  Not only that, but the house down the street listed for $40,000 more hasn’t sold either, so it is important to keep those things in mind.

Agents use what is called a Comparative Market Analysis to determine a listing price for a  home.  The CMA is truthfully a combination of science and art.  The science involves the use of MLS (Multiple Listing Data) available to real estate agents.  The agents identify homes in the geographical area that are similar in size, age, condition etc, that are currently listed and ones that have sold in a relatively recent timeframe.  It is important that the agents have a good understanding of the market and use that knowledge to effectively weigh the facts in determining a listing price.  For example:  It would be misleading to use the listing price of a home down the street if it is overpriced.  It is far better to use the recently sold price of homes in determining the listing price of your home.  Even then, the sold price of a home needs to be recent, especially in a difficult market such as now.

An agent will normally give a range of what they believe the house should list for and sell for.  For example:  An agent may give a range of $249,900 to $255,900.  I can not emphasize enough how important it is at that point that the seller(s) and agent have a conversation about how those numbers were obtained.  Nothing is in stone.  The rule of thumb in real estate is that if it isn’t illegal, immoral, or unethical, it is negotiable!

Seller(s) will many times respond that they want to get more for their house, and that is most likely true.  It may depend on what they want, but more often, it is based on what they owe on their mortgage.  In any event, listing a home higher than the market will tolerate is the kiss of death in real estate.

Listing a house higher than the market just to make more money is a bad, bad, bad idea.  Let me just say that everyone probably puts a little wiggle room in the listing price, and that is OK, but if that wiggle room is too much you may as well take it off the market.  If you list you home too high the people who can afford your home will not be looking at it, they are looking at homes that they can afford.  And the people who can afford a home at the price you listed yours for, are also looking at other homes that are priced correctly and will be comparing your home to those priced correctly, and the over priced home will not get a second glance.  To compound the problem, it is not in the sellers interest to have a home on the market for an extended period of time.  Buyers become nervous that “something is wrong” with the house.  This is not as true in today’s market because of the slump, but it still does have some merit.  My advice is that if you are going to list your house, list it to sell.

I recently received an email from someone in another part of the country who decided they were going to sell their house and the agents whom they contacted could not come up with a listing price.  The seller admitted that there was a lot of work that needed to be done to the house, but he wanted to sell it.  He did not indicate what work needed to be done but his words, “a lot” tells me something.  Chances are the agents don’t know what  needs to be done either.

To that I would say, if you want to sell your house, fix it up as much as possible.  Buyers today have too many homes to choose from to buy one that they are going to have to start work on, especially if they are not sure what all needs to be done.  If you don’t want to fix it up, then you are going to have to knock that price down low to attract a buyer.

All to often, sellers will have a couple of real estate agents provide them with a listing presentation and the sellers simply select the agent that provides the highest estimate of listing the house.  Then six months down the road they are frustrated why their house has not sold.  The highest listing price may not be the price that it will sell for.  Talk to the agent to determine how they arrived at that price and what is their approach to market the house.

If you are thinking of selling your home, or buying a  home, talk to a REALTORÒ in your area.  Only real estate agents who are members of the National Association of REALTORSÒ and who subscribe to the NAR’s strict code of ethics can identify themselves as REALTORS®.  They have the facts you need on the market conditions in your area.

As always, if I can help you with any of your real estate needs, or to answer any questions you may have, please don’t hesitate to contact me by text or phone call at 615 417-8182 or email me at



HUD Program Offers REO Homes for $100 Down!!

HUD Program Offers REO Homes for $100 Down!!

The HUD (Housing and Urban Development) Department has rolled out a program to put REO (real estate owned) foreclosed homes back into the hands of owner-occupant buyers.  The program is being rolled out in select states and will last until October, 2012.  Tennessee is one of the states in which this program is being offered!

The program allows buyers to purchase a HUD-owned home for $100 down.  In addition, the buyer can increase the mortgage amount to fund repairs and renovations.  Both the mortgage and the money needed for renovation can be funded with a single government insured loan.  To sweeten the pot even more, HUD will cover up to 3% of the closing costs in most states.

The buyer must be an owner-occupant, utilize financing insured through an FHA approved loan, standard FHA underwriting guidelines apply, and the sale must be for the full amount of the current list price, which is many times less than the market price.  This program is an unbelievable opportunity for anyone looking to buy a home in this market, especially with interest rates hovering around 4%.

If you are thinking of buying, or selling, I urge you to contact a REALTOR who can give you up to the minute facts concerning your market.

As always, if I can help you with any of your real estate needs, or to answer any questions you may have regarding real estate, please don’t hesitate to text or call me at 615 417-8182 or email me at


Home prices up in half of major US cities!

Home prices rose in August in half of major U.S. cities measured by a private survey, a sign that prices are stabilizing in some hard-hit portions of the country.

The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller index showed Tuesday that prices increased in August from July in 10 of the 20 cities tracked. That marked the fifth straight month that at least half of the cities in the survey showed monthly gains.

The biggest price increases were in Washington, Chicago and Detroit. The greatest declines were in Atlanta and Los Angeles.

The August data provides a “modest glimmer of hope” that some areas may have bottomed out and could be turning around, said David M. Blitzer, chairman of S&P’s index committee. He noted that cities in the Midwest — Chicago, Detroit and Minneapolis — have shown some strength since May.

“We certainly believe the bulk of the decline in housing is behind us and indeed, one might even say that ‘housing’ is more likely to improve from here,” said Dan Greenhaus, chief global strategist for BTIG.

Home prices have stabilized in coastal cities over the past six months, helped by a rush of spring buyers and investors. But this year, home prices in many cities, including Cleveland, Detroit, Las Vegas, Phoenix and Tampa, have reached their lowest points since the housing bust more than four years ago.

Many people are reluctant to purchase a home more than two years after the recession officially ended. Even the lowest mortgage rates in history haven’t been enough to lift sales.

Some can’t qualify for loans or meet higher down payment requirements. Many with good credit and stable jobs are holding off because they fear that home prices will keep falling

Remember, real estate is a local matter.  If you are thinking of buying or selling real estate, I encourage you to contact a REALTOR in your area who can give you the facts you need.

As always, if I can help you with any of your real estate needs, or to answer any questions you may have, please don’t hesitate to contact me by text or phone call at 615 417-8182 or email me at


Reposted in part from MSNBC

Ten Reasons To Buy A Home Today!

Ten Reasons To Buy A Home Today!

Enough with the doom and gloom about homeownership!  Brett Arends, of the Wall Street Journal, recently wrote an article about homeownership and contradicting an article full of doom and gloom published by Time Magazine.  In the Time article, published September 6, the cover declared, “Owning A Home May No Longer Make Economic Sense.”  Hogwash!  (That is my comment, not Brett’s or Time’s)

The same magazine that is now purporting that homeownership may no longer be worth while, ran a cover story at the height of the real estate boom “Home Sweet Home.”  Yes, the real estate market has tumbled, and it may tumble a little bit more before it returns to the strength it had before, but buying a house – a home – is not an on again, off again venture.  It is a long term strategy of having a home, being involved in a community, and yes, enjoying home ownership, which, in time, will add to your net worth, unlike renting.

Make no mistake, the housing market has taken a beating.  As a licensed real estate agent I am painfully aware of the market, but I am also confident of its triumphant return.  Just as you want to buy stocks low and sell high, real estate is no different.  Home prices are low, interest rates are historically low – now is the time to buy.

The article by Brett, and recapped here from information from the National Association of REALTORS, gives ten good, solid reasons why buying a home is still a good idea.

1. Good deals.  Every one knows that home prices have dropped dramatically in the last few years.  Remember that real estate is a local matter, so be careful when you listen to news reports that are talking about national statistics.  On the national level home prices have dropped around 30%.  The city of New York dropped about 20% while Arizona has reported a drop of about 50% since the market burst.  Williams County, Tennessee, where I live and work,  last month had a 16.9% increase in home sales – it all depends on where you live.

Jeremy Grantham, Fund Manager at GMO, who predicted the bust with incredible accuracy, said two years ago that the housing prices in the nation needed to fall another 17% to reach fair value in relation to household incomes.  Case-Shiller has indicated that the home prices have now fallen about 18%, indicating that we may have hit bottom and are ready to stabilize and  start climbing.

2. Interest Rates are at incredible low levels.  A 30-year fixed interest rate last week was at 3.9%.  The following week the rates increased to 4.1%, still a remarkably low interest rate.  If inflation picks up, as it undoubtedly will, you will most likely not see these interest rates again – and if by some chance you do, you can always refinance.  The chances of interest rates being this low again in our life time is somewhere between slim and no chance.

3. You’ll save on taxes.  You can deduct the mortgage interest and real estate taxes from your income taxes, and you’ll get a tax break on capital gains, if any, when you sell.  Many people will find that these tax breaks mean owning  a home costs them less, often a lot less, than renting.

4. It will be yours.  There is a lot to be said about owning a home and being able to paint it the color you want, or knocking out a wall and making the master bedroom larger if you choose.  Seldom can you have that kind of flexibility when you rent.

5. You’ll get a better home at these prices.  In many parts of the country it can be really hard to find a good rental.  And if you do, you can be sure the price of a rental will climb dramatically when the real estate market starts to improve.

6. Owning a home offers some inflation protection.  Studies suggest that over the long term, housing has tended to beat inflation by a couple of percentage points a year.

7. Home ownership is risk capital.  Your home should not be viewed as the stock market, but rather a long term investment.  If the economy starts booming again, as it will, real estate prices will head up too, giving you more equity in your home.

8 Home ownership is forced savings.  Every time you make a mortgage payment, the equity in your home goes up.  If you can add an extra $50 or $100 a  month, you can not only add money to your equity, but can actually pay off your mortgage much faster.

9. There is a large inventory of homes on the market.  In most parts of the country, there are a large number of homes available giving you more to choose from when buying a home.  The National Association of REALTORS reported the current inventory of homes on the market at 4 million.  That is higher than average, but less than was available last year at this time.

10. Sooner or later the market will clear and demand and supply will meet.  Then the prices will start going up again.  The question is whether you want to buy a home then, when the prices are going up, or  now, while they are down.

If you are thinking of buying or selling your home, contact a REALTOR who can give you the facts about your market conditions to help you make informed decisions.  Selling your home in this market may take some extra knowledge of what to do and how to make it happen.  A REALTOR has the tools to help you work through the process.

As always, if I can help you with any of your real estate needs, or to answer any questions you may have, please don’t hesitate to text or call me at 615 417-8182 or email me at


Home Buyers/Home Sellers – The Time To Act May Be Now!

Home Buyers/Home Sellers – The Time To Act May Be Now!

It appears that the stars are aligned for the housing market to make its comeback.  No one can say exactly when it will happen, but the facts are pointing to a recovery.  I know, right now you are saying that you read in the paper that the housing market still has a ways to fall before it rebounds.  Remember, real estate is a local matter – on the national average, experts are predicting that  the value of homes may fall a couple more percentage points.  But the facts for the middle Tennessee market indicates that the market has bottomed out and may beginning its climb upward.

Recent statistics support this claim.  The inventory for homes on the market is down and the sales of houses has climbed for the last four months in the Greater Nashville area.  Interest rates remain extremely low.  The interest rate was at 3.9%, but last week climbed to 4.1% – still a fantastic interest rate.

I do believe that there is a large number of folks that want to sell their home, but have decided against it until the price of homes came back up.  Now is the time to keep a close eye on the market to determine when would be the right time for sellers to market their home, especially if the home you are trying to sell is sitting empty.

Buyers need to be mindful of the repercussions of waiting.  For example: Right now if you were to purchase a home for $250,000 at 4% interest, 30 year fixed, your monthly P&I (principle and interests) payments would be $1,193.54.  For the purpose of this article, I am not figuring in taxes or insurance and have not included any down  payment.

If a buyer waits until the interest rates climb to 5%, which is still a great rate and the price of the home you are buying goes up 1%, which will happen as the inventory decreases, your monthly payments will go up to $1,355.47.

That increase of $161.93 a month may not sound like a lot when you are buying a home, but it can be enough to knock you out of the market or necessitate that you buy less of a house than you wanted.  In addition, over the life of that loan it would cost you an additional $58,294.80.

Coldwell Banker Barnes has a Power Point Home Buyers Guide Presentation.  It walks you through the steps that you go through during the home buying process.  It also addresses issues that can help you if you have less than a stellar credit rating.  If you are interested in receiving this presentation, please email me at and I will send it to you.  There is no cost or obligation for this presentation.

Whether you are looking to buy your first home or your tenth home, or if you are looking to sell your home, I suggest that you talk to a REALTOR who can give you the facts on the market conditions in your area to help you make an informed decision.

As always, if I can help with any of your real estate needs, please don’t hesitate to text or call me at 615 417-8182 or email me at

Roland Low                                                                        

For-Sale Housing Inventories Shrink to New Lows

For-Sale Housing Inventories Shrink to New Lows

Nationwide, 2.19 million homes were listed for sale at the end of September, a drop of 20 percent compared to a year earlier, and marking the lowest level on record since began tracking housing inventory data in 2007.

All 146 markets that tracks saw housing inventory fall year-over-year, except for Denver and El Paso, Texas. Listings were down by 49 percent in Miami, 48 percent in Phoenix, and 46 percent in Orlando, Fla.

But while reduced inventories usually help lift prices, in the current real estate market, housing prices are staying flat or declining. That’s because demand remains soft, housing experts say.

Real estate professionals told The Wall Street Journal that inventories are shrinking because some home sellers have decided to take their homes off the market instead of trying to sell at a steep discount. Banks are also moving more slowly at repossessing foreclosures, which has reduced the supply of foreclosed properties on the market — albeit a temporary decrease, many experts note.

“The inventory is low, so it’s hard for buyers to find their dream home,” Joan Downing, a  real estate professional in the Detroit area of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., told The Wall Street Journal. “That’s been our challenge more than anything: finding the inventory for the clients. Nobody’s complaining about the pricing or the interest rates.”

The low inventory may mean this is a good time for you to sell, and it certainly means a good time to buy.  To find out the facts of the real estate market in your area, contact a REALTOR who can point you in the right direction.

As always, if I can help with any of your real estate needs, or to answer any questions you may have, please don’t hesitate to text or call me at 615 417-8182 or email me at

Roland Low                                                                 

Source: “Slim Pickings Are Latest Headache for Home Sales,” The Wall Street Journal (Oct. 17, 2011) and REALTOR Magazine.