Comox Valley real estate gems are sometimes hard to find. Let’s see why. So far this year the Comox Valley real estate market remains a buyer’s market. Oddly, however, many buyers are non committal, and some sellers are not armed with the information they need to effectively sell their homes. Over the past week there were 50 new listings, 61 price reductions, and 32 sales in the Comox Valley. The total number of active listings today stands at 1394. Waterfront homes near town have the potential to be gems.
So why are home buyers hesitant to buy? One can only guess the number of reasons. I have heard this phenomena blamed on everything from the weather to the forecasts of doom and gloom to come in Canada’s housing market. How accurately have these types of forecasts been in the past? How well can we forecast the weather? The accuracies of these two types of forecast are often similar. Of course, when forecasts vary as widely as they current do, someone will be right. But how do we know who is right before hand? We generally don’t.
Perhaps Comox Valley home buyers should base their decisions on more factual and tangible things. Fact 1: interest rates are as low as they have been in the past 60 years. Fact 2: there is a good selection of homes on the market. Fact 3: the Comox Valley continues to be a desirable area in which to live, work and play. Beyond these basic facts, personal circumstances are also important. People who are thinking of buying will, of course, have a reason to do so. For most of us finances play a part so getting financially pre-approved makes sense. If you have a reason to buy and the money to buy, would it not make sense to take advantage of the currently favorable market conditions in the Comox Valley?
Selling in the Comox Valley today has different considerations. If you are a home seller, get to know the current market. A competent Comox Valley real estate agent that you can trust can help you do this. While there are a number of elements that must be considered when developing a strategy and plan to sell your home, location, preparation, presentation and price are some of the most basic ones. As well, each home will generally have some unique considerations. Ask the agent to explain the market to you as well as the strategy and plan to sell your home within the context of the current market. If the agent cannot or does not do this, how effective do you think they will be?
Let’s turn briefly to the topic of selecting a real estate agent. Comox Valley realtors come and go. Some agents have considerable life experience and some do not. Some agents are well educated, trained, and experienced in marketing and some are not. Some agents fully understand the difference between a client and customer and some do not. Some Comox Valley estate agents understand the difference between being a professional agent and a sales person and some do not. The bottom line is that all real estate agents are not the same. Nor all agents motivated by the same things. Some, unfortunately, are motivated purely by making money and getting as many listings as they can to do so. I met a few of these when I was a real estate client. How will you choose your agent? Will you interview several? Will you simply choose the first one that comes along? Will you choose one that is your “friend”? What is often said about mixing business and friends? Does the professional competence and the integrity of the agent matter to you? Why does any of this matter? When everything goes right in a real estate transaction, the differences may not be as obvious as when they go wrong.
Now let’s turn back to your prized Crown Isle upscale home. As a seller, consider your location. The location of your home is where it is and unless is it a mobile home it cannot be changed, but understanding the advantages and disadvantages of its location will help you develop a strategy and plan to sell it. There are advantages and disadvantages to every location. For example, last week 28 of the 32 homes that sold in the Comox Valley were sold in urban areas. This makes sense since most of the people in our valley live in urban areas. Location circumstances are also important. For example, if your home is a $600,000 home located in the middle of an area of $200,000 homes, the market value of your home will not generally be the same as it would be when located in the middle of homes of comparable size, features and price. A number of different things have a bearing on pricing strategies. Would you not want to know what these are for your circumstances?
Preparing your home to sell and then presenting it effectively are important considerations, especially when there is a lot of competition. This should be done through the eyes of the home buyer and not through your eyes as the home seller.
Price is almost always an important consideration. Market price is generally the best metric towards which to turn to determine your asking price and with which to adjust your asking price over time. Market price is based on the current market and it changes with the market. This concept is not understood as well as it should be. I have worked with buyers who believe that selling prices should be well less than list prices in a buyer’s market. List prices should not be used as a metric. Some sellers list at or near market prices while others choose to list well above market prices for a variety of reasons such as: I have too much in my home to sell at that price; I paid more for my home than that (bought in a different market): It cost me more to build than that (the purchase price of a new home may not reflect the market price of the home); I just want to test the market, etc. While some of these “reasons” can be understood, they generally carry no weight with a buyer when asking prices are well above market prices. Consider, for example, two similar homes in similar locations and in similar condition with a market value of $450,000. One is priced at $440,000 and the other is priced at $525,000. Which one do you think buyers will believe represents the best value?
There are, of course, many other things to consider when selling your home in today’s Comox Valley real estate market. Contact Brett Cairns of RE/MAX Ocean Pacific Realty and he will be pleased to discuss these with you along with a strategy and plan to sell your home in this buyer’s market.
by Brett Cairns