SALT LAKE CITY — It's confusing to know whether this is the best time to jump into the housing market. Is it a buyers' or a sellers' market? And what about pricing?
Real estate agent Margaret Malherbe has grown used to putting "sold" signs outside homes like one in Draper's SouthMountain for three decades now. So why hasn't the "sold" sign gone up here? It's priced right, has curb appeal, and is nestled in a quiet neighborhood.
“I'm seeing in the general American public there is a worry,” she said. “They're worried about the economy. We are not out of the recession yet. People are still losing jobs. “
According to the most recent data from the Salt Lake Board of Realtors, area sales of all housing, including existing homes and new construction, fell 13 percent in April of this year compared to April 2013.
Karen and Steve Affleck aren't nervous. After living 35 years in an upscale neighborhood in Sandy, the couple is moving.
“We raised our children here. It's been a wonderful community and now the home's a little large for two people so we decided it's time to downsize,” Steve said.
They feel confident they'll find a buyer.
“I think when you're in the higher-end homes, the market is a little smaller. And it only takes one person,” he said.
The Afflecks took the advice of their realtor, Shelly Tripp, to not overprice their home.
“I have to respect them. This is their home, their money,” Tripp said.
Here's some interesting insight: Realtors told KSL that sellers using Internet sites that compare home prices in their neighborhoods are more likely to price above market value.
“Some of them say you've got to list it at what the net says. Well, you can list it at anything but it is not going to sell,” Malherbe said.
When you consider overpricing, lingering fears about the economy, and that more and more buyers are choosing to build new homes, it can be tough for a seller. Still, it seems in a slower housing market, there is a silver lining that may hook a buyer.
Current interest rates are a little over 4 percent for a fixed rate 30 year loan. And median home prices are slowly rising, up about $3,000 from $222,000 last April to almost $225,000 this year.
Tripp advises homeowners remove items that make the house seem lived in. That way, the prospective buyer can visualize themselves in the home.
“Pricing is important but it's not everything. People buy on emotion first and then their numbers later,” Tripp said.
Because they want to sell and sell quickly, the Afflecks followed Tripp’s instructions, but it wasn't easy.
“This is how it sounded to me: ‘Get rid of this, get rid of this, this has to go. Oh, we're going to have to move that. You can keep that,’ and I went, ‘Oh good,’” Karen said.
Finally, Tripp suggests maximizing curb appeal, and leaving the property during showings.
“We're going to keep this home on the market until it sells and we have a good feeling that it will be pretty quick,” Steve said.
According to the Salt Lake Board of Realtors, the average home stays on the market for about three months until it sells.