Reader Question: Our nine-year-old house has been for sale for over 18 months and is not selling. Our agent tells us the new construction is hurting us. We bought another home, and the old home cost is a considerable burden. We keep reducing the price. How do we win against new construction?
Monty’s Answer: There are many questions about precisely what is going on that the home is still unsold after a year-and-one-half. Either you are working with the wrong agent, or you are not listening to their advice. If you have the right agent, you should already know how to compete with new construction. Here are some questions that your agent should have already answered for you:
- For what reason are prospects passing on it?
- In the past 18 months, how many new and preowned homes in your price range and neighborhood have sold?
- How long were each of those homes on the market before they sold?
- Has anyone, including your agent, commented on the condition of your home?
- Are there any perceived objections nearby? Unkempt landscaping, junk in the yard, multiple parked cars, etcetera.
When your home sells, the bleeding stops. Have other real estate agents been consulted for a second or third opinion? Have you studied the actual real estate statistics concerning the market in your neighborhood?
Why Consumers Buy New Homes
Buying new usually means there are fewer design compromises, little or no maintenance, and lower utility costs. It also means the home is spotless, and all the components are new and warranted. These brand-new features come at a high price. The old axiom that “cost sets the upper limit of value” is true in most locations. Also, for many buyers, new construction can be a last resort.
Why Consumers Buy Existing Homes
In a nutshell, existing homes translates to more bang for the buck. Many of the extras in a home are already in place. There are more choices in neighborhoods and the numerous amenities those places incorporate. Other homebuyers seek a particular character each area offers. Style, architecture, topography, schools, proximity to a popular feature, and a myriad of different qualities that make each neighborhood unique.
Take advantage of your pre-owned status
At nine years of age, your home likely has additional square footage for a lower cost than a new home. Your home already has draperies, a mature lawn, landscaping, shelving, and more. Without breaking the bank, invest in a carpenter or handyman to fix the door that won’t close tight or that loose handrail. Small improvements to your home now counteract the staleness and reenergize it. Before you hire the handyman, have the house pre-inspected to minimize condition concerns. Include a good home warranty. Replace the carpet if high traffic patterns show carpet wear. Make sure your home is priced far enough below similarly sized new homes to cause a new home prospect to look. Aggressively point these advantages out in your sales promotions.