Catching up & venting (learning curve)

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-24-1997
Catching up & venting (learning curve)
6
Wed, 03-12-2014 - 10:52pm

I know I haven't posted in a while. Been dealing with my new career in real estate (mostly buyers).  I'm doing fine & learning lots.  I will say this much.  Thank goodness I had 13 years in retail dealing with the public and consumers.  Real estate itself is fine and I'm sure the stuff I deal with from both buyers and sellers is a New York thing.  Maybe Los Angeles too (who knows).  From buyers, the theme is "I live in New York City and paying X dollars in rent.  My rent is going up and I want to move to the suburbs where I can buy something and still pay the same amount I was paying in rent."  And they add "I want a 2 bedroom condo apartment that's move in ready, lots of space & very cheap."  Do these buyers know housing in the NYC suburbs is just as expensive as the city.  Yes, you can live about 1 hour north or east of the city and housing will be much cheaper.  But none of these buyers want to live an hour fronm New York City.  (too rural, too expensive for public transportation, too expensive on gas, etc.)  Since Mahopac is on this Board, I humbly apologize and where she is it's not rural.  However, to a New York City resident, they will disagree 100%.  FYI - I've been in eastern Washington State & that IS rural.

From sellers, their issue is they think their house or condo apartment is worth much more than what it is.  I see so many listings with price reductions, it's not even funny. The exception to this and what is selling for premium prices are all the luxury homes.  Also, getting sellers to list with me is difficult, because these homeowners want experienced agents.  Their problem is the experienced agents esp. those working at large companies only want homes worth $500,000.+.  Anything under $500,000. goes to new agents or experienced agents with small or independent firms.  The other problem is many homes under $500,000. have issues.  Either it needs work, the rooms are small or the homes are too clustered together and no space between the neighbors.  Welcome to New York City's suburbs and I hear from buyers expecting homes they see on HGTV.  I will admit if you travel an hour or so outside of New York City, yes the homes have more square footage, the rooms are larger and there is space between the neighbors.  Within 1/2 hr. of the city - forget about it.

So in a nutshell, I'm basically paying my dues starting at the bottom.  Haven't sold anything yet, but I'm moving in the right direction.  I am enjoying the flexibility in my schedule and the joy of running my own business.  Also looking forward to my husband retiring from teaching at the end of June.

Kathy

Avatar for nora_mcl
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-30-2011
Thu, 03-13-2014 - 10:05am

Hi Kathy-meanwhile, here we sit. Waiting for enough snow to melt to be able to list our home. I think the last BIG thing is to sand & refinish the hardwood floors-& then to give the walls one last good scrub down. Most other jobs have been done-we just need Spring to rear its lovely little head & stay. Yesterday was so discouraging-but I guess not unusual.

We've been looking (on-line)at different communities & trying to decide which one has the most to appeal to us. Of course, we need to an offer before we can buy-but we do have a good idea of its value.

I know everything will come together-but "Patience" is not one of my virtues, usually.

Nora

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Thu, 03-13-2014 - 12:04pm

That's kind of funny, but not when you actually have to deal with these unrealistic people.  I am going to have to sell my house this summer to pay off my exH--that was the agreement in the divorce as my son will be going to college in Sept.  My house needs work so I don't expect to get a lot for it, and I'll probably just move to an apt. for now.  The worst part will be having to clean out the house from all the stuff I've acquired in 25 yrs.  I'll have to get a dumpster.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-24-1997
Thu, 03-13-2014 - 9:48pm

I sttrongly STRONGLY urge you to spend some money on repairs.  I've learned early and well if you fix the repairs, your house will sell for so much more.  I would pay for a home inspector first and find out exactly which repairs should have priority.  For a seller, the worst case is for the buyers to hire their home inspector and then if the house they want to purchase needs work, the next step is talking to their agent and lowering their offer price - a lot.  Ex. if the amount of repairs = $5,000. the buyers will reduce their price by $20,000. or more.  What agents tell sellers is "unless it's a financial hardship, get the repairs done."  I've seen homes that need work selling for $300,000. in a neighborhood of homes that normally sell for $400,000.+ and the amount of work needed is only $20 - 30,000.

Kathy

Avatar for nora_mcl
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-30-2011
Fri, 03-14-2014 - 9:13am

Hi "Music"-I feel your pain. We've been here for 31 years-we've already filled one dumpster-& know that another will have to be filled. We are looking to go about 300km from here, so while the house can't sell stripped to its bare bones-we have to weigh whether something is worth paying to move that far. And all the little jobs that were put off while our energy went to keep Adam going are now getting done-it's frustrating because the house is looking so good, I hate leaving it behind!

We have to wait a bit longer to clean the outside of the windows (darn birds-we feed them & they reward us by hanging around long enough to-ahem-'excrete' on the windows)& like I said, we are renting a sander to refinish the floors.

I remember going through a house last Fall that was so dark I'd never have considered it-so that is something I will keep in mind. We've already begun replacing dim bulbs with bright ones-fortunately we have big windows, nothing like seeing why they tell us something is important!

Good Luck-We'll be going through the same thing about the same time.

Nora

Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Fri, 03-14-2014 - 10:46am

Liz, I really agree with Kathy on this one.  And it is not just about selling for a better price, it's selling AT ALL.  People are approved to borrow a certain amount of money to buy a house.  When they go to buy the house, the bank appraises the house, too.  Banks, especially these days, will only loan what the house is worth AS IS, not what it's worth PLUS what it will take to repair the house.  So, now you need to find a buyer that has repair money already in his pocket, to throw at a house they've JUST spent a bundle on, AND is willing to buy a house that needs work, and do the work before they can move in.  That is going to really restrict your pool of available buyers.  And with the glut of homes on the market, unless your home is absolutly georgous otherwise, or is in a high-demand, great part of town, that makes it worth the added expense, work and aggravation, it's not going to sell.

Plus, I remember you saying you have animals in your attic.  Urine and feces up there are a health hazard, and that will open a whole 'nother can of worms to repel a potential buyer.  To say nothing of the health risk to YOU.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-24-1997
Fri, 03-14-2014 - 9:17pm

Looks like spring is selling season for this Board.  OK my tips for you ladies:

1. Hire a LICENSED home inspector and make sure there's no hidden issues with your house (plumbing, electric, roof, water heater, gas, underground, mold, etc.)

2.  Clutter (as little furniture as possible should be on display, no personal pictures, trophies, knicknacks, newspapers, etc.)  Make sure your closets are clutter free too and take out 1/2 the clothes in your closets.

3.  Kitchen & Bathrooms - NOTHING ON THE COUNTERS!!!  OK - 1 toaster, 1 coffee maker, 1 drainboard for the kitchen. Bathrooms - limit toothbrushes, toothpaste, personal stuff.

4.  Pets - NO PET SMELLS!!

5.  Ask your realtor agent for a list of homes that have sold in your neighborhood, how many days on the market, what the ORIGINAL list price was and the sold price.  Also a list of currently active homes.  Please look at the photos and see how they compare to yours.  

6.  Please visit all the homes currently selling.  After all, this is your competition.  You better know what you're competing with.

7.  Make sure your agent  uses the MAXIMUM # of photos for your listing. I've seen too many listings with 0 - 5 photos.  Our MLS allows 30 photos and these agents use 0 - 5??  Buyers will NEVER bother to take time to see a home if they can't look at the pictures 1st.

8.  As for the major websites (Zillow, Trulia, etc.), yes I'm on there.  Agents pay a fee to Zillow, Trulia, etc. to advertise ourselves to get leads and promote our listings.  I have zip codes 10804, 10805, 10607 & 10701 & it's costing me plenty per month.  Waiting for my contract to end with Zillow.  The listings associated with my picture are not mine, but Zillow puts the agents pictures next to the listings because we pay Zillow for the service.  The truth is buyers click on these websites & contact agents like me to get more information about the listings.  Most of these buyers are in the early stages and are not pre-approved yet.  From my little experience, some of these buyers are investors & looking for cheap housing.  I am working with some buyers that are pre-approved and looking to spend money on decent quality housing.

9.  Please have your agent use the electronic lockbox.  This is much more secure than the old fashioned combo lockboxes.  With the combo lockboxes, I've been to homes where the previous agent never moved the combo numbers when showing the home and between showings, anybody could have opened the lockbox, and used the keys to get inside your house while you were at work.  For the electronic lockboxes, agents have a card issued by their MLS with a microchip that they enter into the lockbox with their individual code.  This way, nobody else can access the lockboxes.

10.  If I think of anymore, I'll post it here.

Kathy