Suggestions on pricing your home from Barbara…
As a realtor, it is my job to get you the best possible price. I’ll do that using my professional and personal skills as well as employing terrific photos, a great narrative, social media and proven on-line marketing, including leads from LivingInTheVirginIslands.com and SeaGlassProperties.com. Your job as a Seller is to show me all the wonderful things about your home or condominium, from its obvious merits, to the quirks and whimsy that only a homeowner understands. Tell me what’s valuable about your home. There’s no such thing as too much information when it comes to developing strategies to inspire Buyers to consider visiting and hopefully purchasing your home.
It’s also important to disclose your home’s trouble spots or defects. If a home inspector is going to find it, let’s make sure it doesn’t become a surprise to the Buyer after a sales contract is signed. If there’s an AC unit that’s malfunctioning, or if only three of your stove’s four burners are working, or your driveway’s automatic gate no longer opens – please tell me. These are the kinds of things that are not apparent to a Buyer who walks through your home. But if a Buyer presumes systems and appliances are functioning, and an inspection determines they’re not, suddenly you may be forced to renegotiate your deal and possibly even lose it altogether.
If the defects on your home are more sizable, such as a leaky cistern or roof, these are things best cured before you put your home on the market. Otherwise, please disclose them to me when you list the property. It is then my obligation to disclose known defects like this to potential Buyers. We don’t want to give Buyers a reason to question the value of your home. Your home should be priced with all its glory, as well as any problems, factored into the asking price.
Putting Yourself in the Buyer’s Shoes
Finally, let me look at your home from a Buyer’s point of view. I ask you to be open to my comments about your home, and if it feels like criticism, it isn’t. I am simply being dispassionate about evaluating your home’s standing in the marketplace in a way you, the Seller, may not be. I’ve shown hundreds of Buyers hundreds of homes. I know what tends to concern people as they browse homes for sale in the Virgin Islands. So, while my job is to be your advocate, let’s be honest about things which might require consideration in setting a price. And, frankly, there are times when Sellers don’t realize just how much their home is actually worth. So, honesty flows in both directions. Permit me to be honest.
Now it’s time for the state of the real estate market, combined with recent past sales, to merge with your and my appreciation of your home, to arrive at a listing price that makes sense. And “sense” can be calibrated depending on your timeframe.
There are short-term or longer-term starting list prices. Obviously if you need to sell right away, set a lower list price – depending on how anxious you are. Low to very reasonable list prices should not elicit lowball offers. If you are not in a hurry to sell and would prefer to “test the market,” then let’s set a list price at the higher end of the appropriate price spectrum for your particular home, and see if you receive offers. But be prepared to negotiate. And be prepared to drop your list price if the home sits. A stale home can be stigmatized by too many days on the market.
Why Realtors are Especially Important for Selling in the VI
Unlike the mainland US where home values are often similar depending upon the home’s neighborhood, homes for sale in St. Thomas are different. Our roads, our areas, our communities don’t feature tidy rows of houses, one just like the next. Housing here is disparate, and values can be tricky to determine, which is why using Realtors in St. Thomas is important.
I will gladly run a report for you called a Comparative Market Analysis or CMA. It is a Multiple Listing Service tool that pulls homes for sale in St Thomas, homes that have recently sold, and homes that are under contract – all of which share similarities to your home or your condo, even if they aren’t located near your home. The CMA then calculates an appropriate price range. If your list price doesn’t account for improvements you’ve put into your home, or perhaps it doesn’t even cover the cost you paid for your home – well, then that’s unfortunate. But you don’t solve that problem by listing high.
Once your home is on the market, listen to the marketplace – ie: fellow Realtors and prospective Buyers. Homes grow stale, so if you do want to test the market at the higher end of the listing spectrum, and if feedback generated by showings echoes repeat messages, or worse yet – you get no showings – then drop the list price and move on. Just because you listed at a particular price doesn’t mean it was worth that much money, and therefore doesn’t mean you have conceded value by dropping your price.
If you’re worried that dropping your price means getting commensurate drops in offer prices, you’re wrong. The closer you get to your home’s true market value, the less likely you are to receive annoying lowball offers. As your Listing Agent, it is my job to counsel my colleagues to advise their Buyers about why our list price is to be taken seriously.
And speaking of offers…please keep in mind, I am ethically obligated to present all offers. Don’t shoot the messenger! As frustrating as it is to receive lowball offers, be calm. Let’s negotiate. Let’s work on getting that offer close to what you were hoping for. There are plenty of ways to do it. Let’s work together and make the deal happen. And, if the Buyer won’t budge, they can always come back when they realize that, in fact, your home IS priced properly and worth every cent!
Having said all that, I will also say that since working as a real estate agent in St. Thomas Virgin Islands since 2007, I still haven’t discovered a crystal ball. Who knows when a home or condo is precisely what that one special Buyer has been looking for and will pay more than the market suggests to get it. While I can encourage you to consider a market-based list price, this is your home, this is your St Thomas condominium. If you disagree with my suggested list price – let’s try yours. But let’s agree, that if offers do not come in soon, we lower the price – incrementally if necessary – until we hit that sweet spot.
Homes for sale in St Thomas Virgin Islands command an array of views, styles, upgrades (or not) and characteristics. While you understand your particular home, I visit St Thomas homes for sale day in and day out. I visit beautiful waterfront homes on St. Thomas; I visit gorgeous beachfront condos on St. Thomas. I visit modest homes in stunning locations, stunning homes in challenging locations. I visit them all. If you will allow my experience and advice to merge with your passion for your property, we’ll arrive at the right recipe to get your home or your St. Thomas condo – sold!