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7 Tips for Staging Your Home

by Scott Darling

Visit houselogic.com for more articles like this.

Copyright 2011 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

7 Tips For Improving Your Credit

by Scott Darling

Visit houselogic.com for more articles like this.

Copyright 2011 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

Selling Your Chester County Home In a Down Market

by Scott Darling

Yes, there are still qualified buyers out there, but the supply of Chester County homes for sale is far greater than the demand for them, and today’s buyers can afford to be very selective. Your house may have excellent curb appeal and be beautifully staged, but if you really want to sell in this market, you must be realistic, flexible, and creative when it comes to pricing, availability, flexibility, and motivating the buyer to purchase your property.

PRICING: A few years ago, you probably could have sold your home for what you think it is worth today--or even more--but that is most likely no longer the case. Of course, the thought of taking a loss is a bitter pill for you to swallow, but if that’s what the recent sales in your neighborhood indicate, you may have no choice. It is important that you and your Realtor, after reviewing comparables, be objective and set a realistic price that will draw buyers. Keep in mind that the buyer is looking for the best possible deal and will avoid even looking at an overpriced house.

AVAILABILTY/FLEXIBILITY:

  • Exposure and showings. Since so many potential buyers go first to the internet to scout out homes, make sure that your Realtor has your listing on his website. Also make certain that your Chester County home is always available (and ready to tour) for showings. A Realtor’s lockbox is a good way to ensure unrestricted entry for agents.

  • Closing dates: Again, you need to be as accommodating as possible. Many buyers want a closing date as quickly as possible, and it is helpful if you are prepared to at least consider such a request.

  • Negotiating terms of the contract: If you have a solid offer from a qualified buyer, resist the temptation to quibble over relatively unimportant matters. If refusing to leave the drapes or an appliance is going to kill the deal, you may well regret your inflexibility later.
  • Timeliness: In the current market conditions, you no longer have the freedom to take a few days to think about an offer made on your Chester County home. Buyers will expect a response (preferably one with few, if any, counters) within 24 hours. Waiting longer than that too often results in a withdrawal of the offer.

INCENTIVES: Today’s sellers are turning more and more to finding ways to create interest in their property and motivate hesitant buyers. Since builders of new homes offer such incentives, it is becoming commonplace for other sellers to do the same. Examples of incentives include:

  • Paying points will reduce the buyer’s upfront cost and appeals to the cash-conscious.
  • Buying down the interest rate: Offering to pay discount points to lower the buyer’s interest rate will make your home more affordable, and thus more appealing.
  • Paying for some or all closing costs: By doing this you are once again decreasing the amount of upfront cash needed by a buyer. You can specify the amount you will contribute or the items you will cover.
  • Offering upgrades: Rather than replacing the carpet or appliances ahead of the sale, you can allow the buyer to choose colors, designs, etc., and decorate in their own taste. Other upgrades can apply to bathroom fixtures or landscaping.
  • Providing a home warranty: If you are competing with newer properties, a home warranty will give the buyer some insurance against costly repairs during the first year or two. Such an offering is relatively inexpensive but is appealing to a concerned consumer.

Note: if you do offer incentives of any kind, make sure that they are included in your real estate listing.

2011 Chester County Real Estate Market Forecast

by Scott Darling

The 2011 real estate market forecast depends on who you talk to. There are conflicting signs but most experts predict a slow growth in sales nationwide. Real estate guru Barbara Corcoran has this to say about buying a home in 2011:

“Of course people are nervous about buying with so many mixed signals, but my advice would be: Do not wait. If there's one thing I learned about this real estate is that it's very slow to unwind and usually takes years to do it. But once it decides to turn around, those prices move up very quickly, and you'll just be joining every Tom, Dick and Harry bidding on the same house. If you have an inclination to move, you'll get no better time than now, with cheap money, cheap prices and an embarrassment of riches to choose from. Why wouldn't you buy now if you were so inclined? The only thing you need is a little courage.”

Let’s compare December 2010 to 2009 to real estate statistics to see what improvement has taken place in our local market.

Downingtown Area School District saw a 24% decrease in the average sales price in December 2010, compared to December 2009 to $333,258.  Pending listings have decreased by 28%, while sold listings have decreased by 10%.  There was a 14% decrease in active listings, while market times increased by 75 days.

Downingtown

Active
Listings

Pending
Listings

Sold
Listings

Average
Sales Price

Average
DOM

Dec 2010

31

18

37

$333,258

143

Dec 2009

36

25

41

$436,972

68

In the West Chester Area School District, there was an increased in Sold listings  of 13% when compared to December 2009.  And pending sales decreased by 4% in December 2010 when compared to December 2009.  Average sales price decreased by 15% to $345,613 and active listings decreased by 10% from December 2009.  Market times have decreased by 5 days.

West Chester

Active
Listings

Pending
Listings

Sold
Listings

Average
Sales Price

Average
DOM

Dec 2010

60

47

69

$345,613

92

Dec 2009

67

49

60

$404,775

97

Active listing have decreased by 38% in the Coatesville Area School District in December 2010 when compared to December 2009.  The average sales price decreased by 4% to $198,739 and sold listings decreased by 8%.  The number of pending home sales decreased by 9% when compared to December 2009, while homes were on the market on average 87 days more than in December 2009.

Coatesville

Active
Listings

Pending
Listings

Sold
Listings

Average
Sales Price

Average
DOM

Dec 2010

45

32

36

$198,739

138

Dec 2009

72

35

39

$207,528

51

A word of caution...markets within a school district can be very different from neighborhood to neighborhood. For the latest Chester County PA real estate market conditions in your neighborhood, please call me at 610-564-SCOT or visit ChesterCountyHomeSource.com.

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Photo of Scott Darling Real Estate
Scott Darling
RE/MAX Action Associates
403 W. Lincoln Highway #101
Exton PA 19341
(610) 594-SCOT
610-363-2001
Fax: (610) 363-5275