Trying to sell your home on your own?

Trying to sell your home on your own?

This year appears to be an excellent moment in time to sell your home, homeowner association, condo or co-op.

Taking a macro look at the current real estate market and developing your own opinion is one method that many use to determine the health of the market without any backing with facts; I call that “fake news” developed by the homeowner or whomever they are listening to, who for the most part, have no or limited experience with facts and figures or probably are not even in the business.

Gathering accurate facts and statistics from experienced realtors (like me), who are in the trenches doing this business day in and day out; as well as reading current articles, going to local and national conventions and seeing and experiencing the trends.

Also, who has the advantage, the seller’s or the buyer’s now and going forward. In some locations, it’s still a bit more of a seller’s market, where homes are priced at market value. Homes priced correctly below one million dollars and with taxes less than $15,000 are still selling well.

You ask what is market value? It’s the price that purchasers are willing and do pay for a similar property that has sold in the last six to 12 months, as the bank appraisers use this as a fairly accurate barometer when determining fair market value.

However, some banks are much more conservative than others. I will not point a finger at one specific bank since I bank with them, but they appraised a home I was selling in New Hyde Park within the Great Neck school district; which added more value compared to other local school districts, due to the greater demand for that specific school district.

The purchaser provided an agreed upon price of $983,000 in July of 2018 and we closed in September of 2018 at a reduced price of $920,000. Are you wondering why there was such a discount on the price?

Well, let me tell you what happened. I provided comparable sales of similar homes of $950,000 and $970,000 in the area within the Great Neck school district, while prices were still fairly strong. But the appraiser decided not to consider my multiple listing service of long island comparable closed sales and used his own, which I totally disagreed with and to this day find unacceptable.

I had what you might call a professional discussion with him (more of a heated conversation) and asked why he eliminated my comparable sales and didn’t use them, and he really gave me no logical or common sense reason; just told me to talk with the mortgage person, who wasn’t exactly ecstatic about his decision.

Obviously, the appraiser works for the bank, who works for the buyer and not the seller. My seller was moving across the country and had already picked out a home that he fell in love with and wanted to purchase and didn’t want to lose it.

He didn’t blame me for the major discount, because he bought it through me in 1994 for $288,400! Not too shabby a profit, eh?

More than triple his initial purchase price! So we did close the sale. So, depending on the bank your buyer may be using, which you have no control over, your price may not end up being the actual sale price and it will be up to you decide if you want to make an adjustment, if need be, or not go ahead with your sale and look for another qualified buyer. Sellers, beware of pricing your home, like “pie in the sky” it’s not a realistic approach in trying to sell your home, homeowner association, condo or co-op.

I have said this before, and I will note this again, “your feelings are never going to be truly relevant to actual market value.”

Looking online on Zillow, which isn’t accurate in determining pricing, where they are using algorithms or other sites and not using the number one source for accuracy, which is the multiple listing service of Long Island ( to price you home correctly. We have to record the actual selling price once the property is sold. Most important, we have been inside the particular property (Zillow cannot) in the beginning and noted the improvements that had been made in the last 3-5 years, kitchens, bathrooms, floors, roof, windows, heating, electric, plumbing, even additions to the living space.

Lastly, with a home, even landscaping, which adds five dollars for every one dollar invested in the exterior of your property can make a difference in a selling price, if done properly!
When a professional Realtor becomes responsible for marketing and merchandising your home, he or she has 35 things that they have to deal with.

My complete color chart shows what we have to do to get a home sold. You don’t do your own dental work, do you? No, you have a dentist, right? We are no different, just a different venue, with different issues, curveballs and dilemmas to deal with and solve, from the beginning to the closing! If you want a copy of what you, as the homeowner need to do, similar to what we need to do most of the time; email or call me and I will be more than happy to share our responsibilities with you, without any obligation or “any strings attached whatsoever.” Here are four reasons to consider selling this year:
• New buyers are still entering the market.
• Interest rates are still on the lower end.
• You have high equity.
• Selling now will be better than waiting till 2020.
• Selling on your own, can be a “slippery slope” without the proper knowledge and expertise in many areas of the real estate business. It is a lot more than just putting a price on your home and putting a sign on your front lawn.

Philip A. Raices is the owner/broker of Turn Key Real Estate at 3 Grace Ave. Suite 180 Great Neck. He has earned designations as a Graduate of the Realtor Institute and a certified international property specialist.

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