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Pemeliza suggested that sellers might be better off staying put and locking in a low interest rate now, rather than reduce their list price.  Shadash added that sellers should look closer at the other houses for sale, and price competitively (I’m paraphrasing).

Should sellers wait?

And wait for what, exactly?

If you are waiting for prices to magically come back to peak levels or higher, make yourself comfortable.  If you are enjoying the home, and won’t move unless you get your close-to-peak price, no problem, but any market rebound is out of your hands.  Do what pemeliza suggested, lock in a low rate, and shorter term and pay off the mortgage sooner.

If you want to do something to improve your chances of getting top dollar, fix up the house.

If you want/need to sell in the next 2-3 years, here are my thoughts:

1.  You may not be that far off on price. 

For those who are keeping their list price high because they’re heavily-encumbered and are hoping to get enough to get out, good luck – because you need a ‘lucky sale’, which are becoming more unlikely.  Now that the law has changed and you can sell with no recourse, consider a short sale.  Yes, your credit gets dinged, but if homeownership is too much of a financial burden now, waiting isn’t going to change it.

For sellers on the market longer than two weeks – your listing is now stale in the eyes of the buyers, and they will expect a healthy discount from now on.

The summer season is almost over.  Drop your price 5-10%, and it should be enough to generate offers – if not, keep dropping until it does.  At least you’ll be ahead of the other active listings, who are paralyzed with the shock that they haven’t sold and August is two weeks away – or ignoring the calendar altogether.  Get a jump on them.

2.  If you can’t, or won’t lower your price, then do home improvements.

The biggest problem with waiting is that your house looks more dated every year.  Are you keeping up?  Buyers will want discounts for work they need to do, so you might as well get some of it done now.  Do your best to convert to the newer granite/stainless/travertine look.  If your house is so old that it is functionally obsolescent, just clean it up and concentrate on pricing.

3.  The new-home tracts are where the buyers cut their teeth on the latest designs. 

Yes, in the last video, the only Plan 3 available is on the worst lot in the tract, and they probably have people in line for future releases.  But buyers will consider those as competition, so the more you can look like them, the better.  If you don’t want to spend big money on home improvements, at least consider installing new flooring/paint, ditching the old furniture, and removing all clutter.  Spruce up the front-yard landscaping too.

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We were looking around La Costa Valley/Oaks over the weekend, and it appears that a glut of mcmansions is forming.  But the problems were obvious – every house either had a funky floor plan, or looked dated even though it may have only been 10-12 years old.  The houses purchased new without upgrades, and haven’t been improved since, look like fixers to the buyers.

Those sellers can wait, but they’ll need to upgrade sooner or later, if they want top dollar.

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