October 5, 2010

What’s QC Housing Market Really Like?

maryBy Mary Schricker, SRES
Ruhl&Ruhl Real Estate

It’s difficult to go anywhere these days without someone asking me about the housing market. The news media reports often on the declining market. Because we have become such a global economy the housing reports we hear are often not indicative of what we are experiencing here in the Quad Cities. Many of the statistics that are reported stem from much more volatile markets than ours.

Does that mean we still have a boom market; of course not. But we do certainly have a somewhat stable market that has corrected itself with regard to price. The easiest way to explain this is to address the five marketability factors that affect the sale of a home.

• Market conditions. In most areas of the Quad Cities there is an abundance of listings. These listings mostly stem from job and lifestyle changes rather than speculative selling (sellers marketing their homes to see how much profit they can gain). Add to these
listings a significant rise in foreclosed properties, and you have an increased supply of homes to sell. Interest rates are still very
competitive for buyers, but buyers have more homes from which to choose and thus take a bit longer to decide.

• Time of Year. Late fall is traditionally a bit slower time for buying and selling homes. People get caught up in the holidays and unless they have to move they often postpone their moving to a less hectic time of the year. The good news is that buyers in the late fall or winter months are more serious and often must find a property due to a change in their employment or lifestyle.

• Location of the property. Although, location is one of the most important factors in marketing a home, it is one we can do little about. I have found there are buyers who want to live in every part of town. Our job as realtors is to make the location as appealing as possible to all prospective buyers.

• Condition of the home. In a more competitive market, the condition of the home becomes even more important. This does not mean that the home has to be totally remodeled, however, an uncluttered, clean, freshly painted, neutralized home does have more appeal to most buyers. If the home is in much disrepair expect the selling price to be significantly lower.

• Pricing. The list price of a home is the most critical factor in today’s market. It doesn’t really matter how much a comparable property down the street sold for six months ago. We live in a bargain driven society. Over seventy- five percent of buyers have already shopped for homes on the internet before they even contact an agent or actually go out and look at houses. They know what their dollar will buy. If your home appeals to the buyer and is more competitively priced it will probably make the cut and maybe even be the one they choose in the end. Overpricing your home, with the idea that you can always come down, couldn’t be further from the truth in today’s highly competitive housing market.

In summary there will always be people looking to buy a home for one reason or another. If you need to sell, get your house in the best possible condition, interview at least two realtors about the value of your home and go for it. If you have lived in your home for awhile just remember that any profit you make over what you originally paid or have invested in it, is a bonus. Your home does not necessarily have to have made you money. It has been a roof over your head and a keeper of memories for you and your family. That might just be enough