Real estate is local and while it is good to know what is going on nationally and even regionally, what really matters if you are thinking about selling your home and/or buying one, is what is going on in your city and your neighborhood and even for your home style. Local expertise is invaluable in helping you explore your options and knowing what to expect with respect to the numbers, timing and process. Here is the data your local real estate expert should be able to provide you:
• What type of market is it? You should know how many homes are active, pending (under contract) and sold in the last three months. This data will indicate the market supply and demand and whether it is a seller, buyer or balanced market and therefore who has the negotiation advantage and the correct pricing and offer strategy. This information is available for your city, neighborhood and home style (1-story, 2-story, tri-level, split-level, etc.)
• How quickly are homes selling? This is especially important if you are planning to sell your current home and buy a new home — there are different timing and financing strategies depending on the availability of home inventory and the average time that homes are on the market. It is also very helpful knowledge if you have a target move date because then you can determine the optimal time for market preparation and listing, home touring and submittal of offers.
• How close to list price are homes selling and what is their price per value? If all of the comparable homes are selling at or above list price, then you know that buyers will be searching for homes priced at or below their maximum purchase price. This is very different from a market where homes are selling at a 5-10 percent discount, so both sellers and buyers should adjust their strategy appropriately. Market time is also critical in both situations — knowing how to deal with multiple offers, single offers or no offers can make a big impact on the final sales price of a home.