Profile picture for marispel

To Reduce or Add Incentives

We are building a home in FL, which will be ready in about 8 months. We put our current house (Canton, GA) on the market in October and have had 1 showing. The realtor that showed it said that it showed very, very well but the buyers decided on new construction.

Our neighborhood is large with older homes selling in the mid 200's and the average in the mid 300's. Newer homes are 400k. We built this house 5 years ago - added a 3rd car garage, finished out the basement ($50k) and have a beautiful patio ($20).

Our house is next to the top priced house currently for sale (469k) and it is worth it. My question is - we have 8 months until the other house is ready. We were qualified to carry 2 mortgages. As much as I don't want to do that, I also don't want to give away our house.

Should we throw in an incentive....We have a fabulous media room with THX certified audio/video equipment (112" screen, 7 speakers, etc) - Would that entice people to LOOK at our house? Should we lower the price instead? Should we just be patient & wait?

Everyone that looks at the house says to us "Your house is awesome, it will sell" but we just don't have the traffic. We are listed on MLS (broker listed - flat fee), paying a buyer's commission (3.1%). We have a website (www.house4sale-canton.com), but still not getting any showings. I contacted agents in the neighborhood and they too are slow.

Hmm...what to do...
  • November 07 2007 - US
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Answers (32)

Your home is awesome. The landscaping is very attractive and the home's interior is beautiful. Looks like you are in the same boat as the rest of us---slow market. It's a mystery to us??? Probably like everywhere else--too much supply and too little demand. But you can't wait it out for too long. I'm so sorry and wish you the best. We feel your pain.
  • November 07 2007
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Profile picture for Alan May
I don't really think that incentives will work, when you've only had 1 showing. Incentives only work, once you've got an interested party. A lack of showings indicates one of two things

a) Priced too high
or
b) Not that many buyers looking in your price range.

your house is beautiful, tastefully decorated, and shows well... at this point, I'd say "sit tight"... and be patient (I know, easy for me to say...). If you get really anxious.. and want to try to generate more showings.. the obvious price reduction is to get you under $450,000 so that people searching for $400-$450K homes will find you... right now you're really only showing to the $450-$500 crowd, and clearly they're not coming.

It's early though, to be worried about only 1 showing in a slow market.
  • November 07 2007
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Profile picture for LongIslandBubble
Too many houses for sale over there; lots of competition (such as Bridgemill).

I'd say you need to lower your price.
  • November 07 2007
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Profile picture for writeagain
Beautiful home.

Around here people have tried all sorts of incentives to no avail. The only incentive I see working is cash toward closing costs, paying the first month mortgage, anything that involves actual dollar figures seems to work better. The best incentive of all though - lowering the price.

If you don't want to carry two mortgages, that's probably your best bet. Of course, it is the slow season right now, so you might want to sit tight through the holidays and see what's going on in February before deciding what to do. Depends on how quickly you want to sell.

You've got eight months, but maybe you could talk your builder into extending the closing date to give you more time. After all, you are a paying customer which is better than a cancelled contract.
  • November 07 2007
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Profile picture for robin398
I wouldn't reduce the price. You can offer a bonus to the selling agent or a direct incentive for the buyer. For example, you could pay their mortgage for the first 3-6 months or pay their taxes and insurance for the the first year. If your home is in a HOA then you could pay their dues for the first year. Ulimately, it is the price of the home that will drive buyers. If you decrease the price per the amount of incentives and bonuses you are offering then that will bring more potential buyers.

Next to price is condition and marketing of your property. How does your property compare to similar homes in your neighborhood? If you have gotten positive feedback then you home is in good condition. You could take a tour of a few homes that are your competition and see how your property compares to them.

Is your realtor marketing your property to the best of her ability? Is your home on websites that will give it the most exposure? How about print ads? Is your agent holding open houses? How do pictures of your home stand out on the MLS? Out of all these marketing tools, the MLS and exposure on the Internet are the best. Open houses work well in some states and not in others. If you have a great marketing plan, the price of your home is set and the condition is impeccable then you should be able to sell even in today's market.
  • November 08 2007
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Profile picture for Sunshinelady
Marispel -- We too are on the market and have been for 15 months. I can only speak to our situation, but I think it has a great deal to do with the agent. The 1st agent we listed with wasn't able to bring in the traffic -- and without traffic you are not going to sell. We made the mistake of staying with that agent for 5 months -- in hindsight that was a huge mistake and will probably end up costing us $30 to 50,000 because the market is dropping like crazy here. Our current agent is getting the people in the door, but unfortunately it hasn't resulted in a sale for us. This agent has been in the business, in our particular neighborhood for a long time. They are very well know and have a great many connections in our area. They don't just depend on the MLS to do the work -- they are constantly on the phone networking with other realtors -- they have a lot of listings and when they get calls on those they always refer ours as well. The problem here is that there are so many homes on the market it is hard to even get to be one of the ones that gets shown -- so the agent plays a big role! Price and Agent are my 2 key suggestions! Good Luck!
  • November 09 2007
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I agree. Interveiw some top agents in the area. Not saying you should not stick with the flat fee MLS-but an aggressive agent could make a big diff.--at least have some come by and go over CMA's and marketing. There is a lot more to selling than just having your home in the MLS. Even if you stick with what you are doing-you'll get some good ideas and feedback. I always suggest price over incentives.
  • November 09 2007
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Profile picture for LinusK
At your list, a buyer needs to make in excess of $150,000/year.

That applies to about 3% of households in America. (Less than that, in Georgia).

It may be there just aren't any buyers, in your price range. Or that the few that there are, are finding better houses, per dollar spent.
  • November 09 2007
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Profile picture for Anita Crum
"Our house is next to the top priced house currently for sale (469k) and it is worth it."

It doesn't matter what the CMA, pre-appraisal, neighbors, friends, other realtors, etc. say. A house is only worth what a buyer is willing to pay for it.

You stated that the newer homes were selling for around $400K. You're $70K more. Yes your home looks absolutely lovely, but I'm sure that a lot of other homes for sale in your area also look great, and cost less. (insert Miller commercial here "Looks Great, Cost Less").

Sure you still have at least 8 months until your other house is ready. You could leave the price alone and see if anyone nibbles. But if you really want to get the house sold, I recommend dropping the price. Incentives don't necessarily motivate people. They are a bonus only if the price is right to begin with.

Think of it this way.... You go to buy a used car. There's two on the lot that you like. Same make, model, year, mileage is similar, condition is similar. One has a tan interior and rear spoiler, the other has black interior no spoiler. The tan one is $15,000 the black interior is $12,000. You don't like the black interior because you think it gets too hot. You ask the salesman to drop the price on the tan one to $12,000. He says, hey I'll tell you what, you buy the tan one at $15,000 and I'll throw in some carmats, seat covers and a free oil change.

Which car are you going to buy?
  • November 09 2007
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Profile picture for nehope
The only thing that will sell your house - as lovely as it is - is the right price and that price has nothing to do with what you think it is worth. If you truly want to sell then you must accept that your house is only worth what a buyer will pay. Why should any buyer care what you paid for that garage or patio? That's your problem. In June of 2006 I sold an 1100 sq ft 2/1 house in CA for 404K - was it worth it? Not to me - to me it was barely worth the 119K I paid for it in 1996 but my buyer was willing to pay that much. I had it listed way below what everybody else was listing for and way below what all the experts said it was worth (including Zillow) and it sold. All those people in my area who insisted that they had to have what their house "was worth" or get back what they had put into it, are still there or their houses are now listed as foreclosures/REOs, whatever. I wanted out and would have taken even less to get out of CA - fortunately I had lots of equity thanks to the insane "bubble," even after refinancing twice and doing the ATM thing with the equity. If you don't have the equity to price your house at what the buyers will pay, then stay where you are. Sorry if this sounds harsh but it is all about money and you have put your emotions aside.
  • November 10 2007
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Marispel your home is amazing! You could either sit tight as it is a little early in the game OR you can drop your price to be in the next price range down from yours which will most likely increase traffic.

In Robin's defense; alot of the time (in my area) any incentives are deducted to come to the "real" sales price before commissions are calculated. We also disclose to the Seller when negotiating offers that they will be paying commission on the full amount if we don't counter that the commission will be based on the purchase price AFTER any incentives.
  • November 10 2007
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Profile picture for robin398
Thanks Sheri.
  • November 10 2007
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Profile picture for luckyme8890
Marispel, can't you back out of Fl. without penalty? Sell the house first. Why carry 2 mortgages? Bleeding money is no fun. Being the second most expensive home on the market that is tanking spells trouble. Start putting the second mortgage money on the side and see if you like that to continue with the knowledge that you do not get to keep it!
  • November 10 2007
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Profile picture for lucydjacobs
Is it possible that people seeing the photo of the bar area aren't reading the fineprint about pantry, walls of cabinets and such, believe that the bar area is the entire kitchen? So they are saying "Whooa... too small. Let's not look..."

I agree with lucky that if it's possible to put the builder off until you sell your home to please make that call. Homes in the 400k to 500k range in my city can sit for a year or two. Then again, I do not know know the average income of residents of your city. In my city, 500k is the upper tier of the market, give or take a $1 million home or two. The information about average and median income can be found on the Web, or call the local economic development office.

Love that back yard!
  • November 10 2007
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Profile picture for Bubbleburst
Looks like zillow has removed my comments on adding incetives as opposed to lowering the price being deceptive. Good job zillow! Now you are decptive.
  • November 12 2007
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I think part of the problem may be hiring a flat rate company to just put your home on the MLS. That's not going to work in todays market. You need an agent that is aggressive, and that knows how to market to people in your price range. As was said earlier, the buyer pool of people that can afford to buy your home today is slim. Don't be penny wise and dollar foolish !
  • November 13 2007
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My house in Cumming is closing this Friday. Selling for 20% under original list. I too had the same thing, everyone swore the house would sell fast, gorgeous, all the same things you wrote, but it sat and sat. We had brisk showings and we lowered the price until we hit the sweet spot. We also had a family who choose new construction, not much you can do there. The only thing the buyers are looking at is price, and whether it is a value held up against other homes near by. The North GA market is getting slammed, the builders have tons of inventory just sitting and they are cutting the prices, so if you can't compete with the builder then you are not in the game. Your price should reflect some of your improvements, perhaps go find a new construction home and ask them what would be the current price of that home with a finished basement, that would give you an idea of what to price it at.
A friend of mine is with Duffy and she has had a handful of showings since June, so I agree with Andrew, the discount places are not going to help you right now, cause in reality you are not lowering your price that much less than if you had signed with a full service realtor.
  • November 13 2007
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Your home is awesome by the way. A home in my subdivision has been on market all this year for $479K with no price reductions and no activity either. Finished basement includes the pool table, flat screen TV with entertainment system and the theatre seating. The buyer isn't going to pay you top dollar for the basement and other stuff you put in. I sold for $5K less than I bought my home for and I sank over $40K into the house in landscaping and other projects. Unless you are willing to "loose" some you may end up with two house payments and next year your house may be worth much less as prices are slipping in GA at a breakneck speed.
  • November 13 2007
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Profile picture for AKRAKR
It sounds like you should cancel your contract on your new house and get this house sold first. Being the highest (or next highest price) in your nabe sounds like a plan for not selling your house.

If you want to sell your home, you need to be the best home at the best price in your market.

Carrying two mortgage payments will add up fast - do some calculations on what that will cost, and then get your list price fixed.
  • November 13 2007
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Profile picture for marispel
Thanks for all the feedback. When we put our house on the market last month we did a "Parade of Open Houses" for the neighborhood. I contacted all the agents to see who wanted to participate - during my conversations I got a pulse of how they were doing. Everyone reported that they had slim to NO showings for the entire summer. Most of these homes are in the $300s (they are in the older part of the subdivision).

I just don't see how lowering our price would bring in the buyers. If there are professional agents selling the lower listings and they don't have traffic, how is lowering my price going to be any different? My next door neighbor has a finished basement selling theirs for $419 and have not had one showing....

Granted we do have a GREAT house compared to the other homes, so an "attractive" price may bring them looking. I don't know - I'm tempted to hire an agent, but I don't know what more they can do that I'm not already doing....besides networking with other agents. It's not that I'm just listed...I have a website, I'm on craiglist, ebay, fsbo sites, mls, realtor.com, email lists etc. AND if we hire an agent we can't afford to lower the price.

Hmmmm.....We think we are going to sit tight until end of January, then pull it off the market for a few weeks. Then relist at a lower price. Seeing how the market is slow during the holidays anyway, it doesn't make much sense to lower the price.
  • November 13 2007
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Profile picture for sunnyview
Please reconsider carrying two mortgages. In any market it is scary, but in this market it could be financial disaster for you and your family. I would look at your price and the recently sold comps in your area. See how long each took to sell and what kind of reductions or incentives were on the table is you can. I would agree with others who have suggested that you make sure that you have a really good agent.
  • November 13 2007
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Profile picture for marispel
Our options:

1. Lower the price to $449,900 (mainly to get it in a better "search")
2. Increase the buyer's commission to 3.5% or 4.0% (currently 3.1%)
3. Pay $4000 towards closing costs

The question is...should we do this now with the holidays or wait until February and relist with the above changes?
  • November 14 2007
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Profile picture for . . .
I agree, Zillow deleted the thread that Bubbleburst started on incentives. It would have shown up in a Google Advanced Search otherwise!
  • November 21 2007
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Profile picture for Bubbleburst
Yup, pretty odd. I don't think I was out of line. I juust feel that incentives make the final sales price seem misleading. I guess zillow disagrees.
  • November 21 2007
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Profile picture for 2 Big 2 Fail
Zillow deleted the thread because it was going nowhere.... just another rpissing match between the doomers and realtors.
  • November 21 2007
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Dont take this personally but it seems that lately the rpissing has been one-sided and one-manned.
  • November 21 2007
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Profile picture for Bubbleburst
odd that they picked that one. I think its a pretty valid argument. Incentives don't help accurately portray the sale price of a home. Seems deceptive.
  • November 21 2007
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Profile picture for TheObserver
Here is a buyer's perspective (granted in CA not GA): Lower the Price !
  • November 21 2007
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Marispel,

The initial question is "what is your core motivation?"

Which is more important selling the home or getting the right price?

Financially what is the difference between "giving it away" and "making a comfortable profit on your sale"?

Whenever I hear a Seller say "I don't want to give it away" it sounds like a bit of ego that is keeping the person from making the sale. What is "giving it away"? In certain markets "giving it away" is what will sell the property, but also "giving it away" is still more then prices 2-3 years ago so its really not "giving it away" (unless of course you bought in the past 2-3 years, and in that case you're probably going to be at a loss).

Depending on your motivation you should use some of the suggestions above. Lower the price. Hold the price. Offer incentives. Hire an Agent. Offer more commission. Or any combination of those.

If people in the $300's range aren't getting showings then there's a chance that those homes are overpriced. I don't know your market, but in general if nobody is selling or getting showings then it will usually boil down to price. You are all overpriced and need to readjust your pricing strategy.
  • November 21 2007
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Profile picture for Mercurius
When things start to stabilize and I'm ready to buy I'll be looking at price rather than incentives. Incentives just add more debt and property taxs.
  • November 23 2007
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