For some Santa Barbara homeowners selling in today’s market, the nominal value of their property will have declined since they bought their home. According to August’s Zillow Negative Equity Report, the property value of 15.7 million homes is lower than the amount owed on their mortgages. Additionally, in the coming months and years, 1.6 million properties are likely to hit the market as distressed properties. The downward pressure on property values will persist while the market absorbs them.
However, it’s not all bad news. Those figures represent paper losses. For the great majority of homeowners, those property values will remain purely hypothetical. And the market has shown improvement recently, with home prices creeping upward from the previous lows. Nonetheless, successful home sellers know that to gain the best results from their offering, they need to price realistically right from the start. The key is to find the appropriate level when first listing it rather than ‘testing the water’ and planning to adjust the price later. Experience teaches that homes that languish on the market through multiple price reductions are less likely to sell. Buyers tend to assume that there is something wrong with the property rather than considering the sellers’ psychology. It’s just human nature.
If you are thinking about putting your own property on the market, good tools are available to help you track Santa Barbara home values – the standard for creating a realistic, priced-to-sell listing price:
1. The tools on Zillow.com and Trulia.com help you follow local market trends and property values. Not always precise and timely, the volume of information on either site makes each a valuable source.
2. Newspaper foreclosure sale information. It’s important to remember that the property values in the foreclosure realm don’t mean your property must compete directly -- but knowing those values and the direction they are moving will let you share information most home shoppers know.
3. Open houses in the neighborhood give you a look at your competition: comparable homes and their listing prices. You can keep an eye out for how neighborhood homes are selling…or whether they have to lower their asking price.
In case you have been thinking of buying or selling a Santa Barbara property, give us a call.
Year after year one of Santa Barbara’s top realtors, our office is here in Santa Barbara & Montecito to help with your Santa Barbara home search and Montecito home search.