How to Sell a House Fast!

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on September 5, 2008

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Two houses for sale on my block illustrate the importance of getting the price right at the start if you want to sell your home quickly. One house, a four bedroom Spanish-style one, came on the market at the end of May at $1.49 million (this is Los Angeles). The asking price has been lowered twice with no takers. It’s currently listed at $1.29 million.

The second home came on the market July 7 and sold immediately. The broker held just one open house but whispered to me that she already had an offer that would likely be accepted that day. The word on the street is that it sold for slightly above asking. The list price was $1.29 million, same as the new price on the house above.


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The difference is that the second house—that’s it to the right—is 2,600 square feet, almost 50% larger than the first home. Yet they were asking for less money. The second home is in a Craftsman style, with a swimming pool and many Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired finishes. It needs work. The first house had just been remodeled, with all-new bathroom and kitchen fixtures. The second one still seemed like a better deal.

The seller of the second house—he wrote the screenplay for Pretty Woman by the way—could afford to accept less. He had bought the house for $560,000, probably with all those Pretty Woman profits, in 1990. The owner of the first home is a house flipper who paid $900,000 for it in March. I’m not sure how much he put in to fix it up, but clearly he has less price flexibility.

Anyone else have any home pricing stories like this?

Reader Comments

Joe

September 5, 2008 2:19 PM

What a dumb story. The second home sold because the price was below market.

What does that have to do with pricing it right?

Anybody can sell a home for less than what it is worth.

Joe

Your Average Joe

September 5, 2008 6:11 PM

Joe - you are joeking , right ? Market price is the price at which things sell. IF A sells and B does not, A is at market and B is over market. THink again, Joe.

matt

September 5, 2008 7:37 PM

Why is it only sq. ft. and price considered....there is a lot to selling a house than only the specs that fit on paper.

I agree with Joe...is there a writers strike again, was this article written by a monkey?

Mr. Mengly

September 6, 2008 2:04 AM

Sell fast! please do follow up:
Be confident
be clearly your project information. Marketing analysis
Market competitor research
Politic condition
Target customer
follow up customer
team corperation
top management support
data and time management

ballbuster

September 6, 2008 1:21 PM

Once again, Palmeri is using his so called "journalism" to promote real estate sales. The truth is that the real estate market in LA has all but collapsed along with Riverside, San Bernadino, San Diego, Kern County, and surroundings of Sacramento. Palmeri would have you believe the real estate market in LA is immune. This is nothing new. He repeats his old bag of tricks wearing different hats. What is disturbing about Palmeri is his persistent use of so called "journalism" to foist his personal agenda upon BW readers. His dialogue with the real estate agent consisted of "[real estate agent]....whispered to me that she already had an offer that would likely be accepted that day" and other selected fact patterns are meant to create innuendoes that promote real estate as the way to get rich. Palmeri blatantly ignores the unprecedented number of home foreclosures; collapse of BearnStearn and CountryWide; battered and under ICU care are: Merrillynch, Citigroup, LehmanBrothers, AIG, Ambac, MBI, CreditSuisse, CaryleGroup; imminent demise of Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac; and other regional banks failures like IndyMac due to financial market melt-down. Judging his specious story, readers should ask who else besides BW is buttering bread for Palmeri. Perhaps, Palmeri should have bought the second house, the one where "Pretty Women" was written. As readers may recall, the "Pretty Women" movie is a story about a prostitute. Palmeri should watch that movie to see if his life imitates art.

Dave

September 6, 2008 11:56 PM

It seems like Joe's house might be the first home in your story. Say it ain so, Joe!

Moe

September 7, 2008 1:35 PM

This neighborhood-destroying flippers' mentality has got to stop. It didn't sell because it was below market; it sold because it was fair - which means AT MARKET.

It also sold because it was a Craftsman, and more and more, I see buyers sick of homes stripped of their historic context and outfitted with anonymous new kitchens and baths are greatly inflated prices.

After 35 years in LA real estate, I can honestly say that anyone can sell a home for what it's worth - and most people can sell a home for more - but an agent that cares about not just their buyer and seller but the NEIGHBORHOOD will price ethically, even if it means less money in my commission.

Tsays

September 12, 2008 8:22 PM

In difficult markets, all real estate agents rely on the seller to decease the price of the house, as opposed to working harder and actually working to find a buyer for a house that is probably priced appropriately per/sq foot given an area's comps. Here's the real problem: seller number one assumed that his agent would do more than throw a lock box on the property and post it on MLS. This article has very little useful information about how to sell a house in a difficult market. MOST Real estate agents are NOT sales people, and this article reflects that.

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September 23, 2008 2:22 PM

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About

BusinessWeek editors Chris Palmeri, Prashant Gopal and Peter Coy chronicle the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets on their Hot Property blog. In print and online, the Hot Property team first wrote about the potential downside of lenders pushing riskier, "option ARM" mortgages and the rise in mortgage fraud back in 2005—well ahead of many other media outlets. In 2008, Hot Property bloggers finished #1 in a ranking of the world's top 100 "most powerful property people" by the British real estate website Global edge. Hot Property was named among the 25 most influential real estate blogs of 2007 by Inman News.

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