As I was driving through town yesterday I passed this pile of twigs stacked by the side of the road.  It made me laugh because a stack of wind blown branches to most is a burden, something to be dealt with which involves a trailer and scratched forearms.  But these industrious folks decided that instead of trashing or composting the skinny limbs they would re-brand the lot from trash to treasure.  “Free Firewood”!  A bit optimistic don’t you think?  But in their minds someone might love it and then we wouldn’t have to deal with it.  And so it is with real estate.

Sales are up significantly this year but this doesn’t mean that every home out there is in any danger of selling anytime soon.  Many sellers over the last few years assumed that just by listing their beloved home their would be a buyer ready willing and able to take over the old homestead for top dollar.  When a seller says, “We like it, don’t see anything wrong with it.  So we think it should sell for at least as much as the Jones got for theirs.” I start thinking that this could take awhile.  Especially when their idea of updated is the new linoleum installed when Jr. graduated from high school.

When demand is high, the best homes get the most attention.  But what constitutes “best”?  In my mind, a marketable home ranks high in three categories; price, condition of the house and cleanliness.

  • Condition of the house has a lot of components which include: regular maintenance, tasteful and modern finishes, neat landscaping, etc.  Good condition is something that cannot be pulled together in an afternoon.
  • Cleanliness needs to be overdone.  It’s not fun to have your house show ready every day but you don’t want your house to be nicknamed “the dirty one” or “the smelly one” by potential buyers.  I don’t think I have ever had a buyer pick the “smelly one”.
  • Price is very subjective from a sellers standpoint but buyers seem to get it.  From a buyers perspective it is all about how one home compares to another and how they all stack up.  If the condition or cleanliness don’t stack up buyers will be looking for a lower price.  Price seems to solve all objections, the trick is figuring out the mix.

This is where many sellers don’t get it.  They have a pile of sticks (figuratively) and they want the same price as a neatly stacked load of cordwood.

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