Thursday, August 9, 2012

Alarming News For Sellers

Another day in the world of real estate, and another set of statistics about homes being bought and sold, and how recent trends compare with previous months and years. That means another day of little to no information to help those who truly need to sell their home.

In the Chicago area, one of today's news stories is quite alarming for hopeful sellers, even if it is encouraging for buyers and investors with some serious money. Realty Trac Inc. published several statistics for the month of July.

For the 7 county area including and surrounding Chicago (in Illinois only - does not include any of NW Indiana or SE Wisconsin), the service reports that 3,274 homes went to court ordered sale during July. Keep in mind - that is for ONE MONTH. In addition, they report at an additional 3,237 homes became "bank owned". 

Total those up, and it means that within one expanded major metropolitan area, more than 6,500 homes are just sold or NOW available, mostly at discounted prices compared with their earlier value.

If someone is looking to buy or invest in the Chicago area this week, they don't need to look on a realty office web site or search the local Real Estate section to find the true "best deal" on a property. Yet, the web sites and publications featuring area homes for sale continue to show the "regular" listings for sale as if nothing else is going on in the marketplace.

Where is the "argument" to look at these properties instead of the "now" stock of discounted properties? More importantly, WHAT is the argument to look at those properties?

Suppose the typical 3 bedroom home in a western suburb is listed at $250,000 and shows up on a local realty firm's web site with the typical "move-in condition, must see" advertising and not even a photo of the interior. The listing agent is waiting for responses and telling other agents about this home being available.

However, the savvy buyer or investor instead can find out about upcoming court sales and REO homes, most likely at much lower prices. He/she/they could go in and bid $200,000 at an upcoming court sale or offer it to the bank which "owns" it. Part of the "argument" for the $250,000 listed home is that the buyer knows the condition of the property and can get it with due process at a pre-determined time.

Yet, part of the reasoning "against" it is that the buyer at $200,000 could spend, say, $10,000 on improvements, and still save $40,000 over the "regular" listed house.

My theory stands. Part of the problem in today's real estate market is within the advertising and marketing of properties. The "home for sale" ads are too similar. And now they are comparing against other "home for sale" ads, and NOT against the discounted homes now abundant in the market. (Certainly not just the Chicago area.)

Those looking to sell a property, and the agents representing them, need to address the real competition they are up against. Tell potential why this property is a better deal than a discounted home with similar qualities. Something has to give.

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