Thursday, April 06, 2006

Say Goodbye to Cat Odor, No Rush to Buy in Redding

More on the Redding housing market from the Redding Record Searchlight.

It wasn't too long ago that many homes in Shasta County would sell within a day after hitting the market. For the most part, those days are history.

Home sales have declined on a year-to-year basis for five straight months, the number of listings on the market has nearly doubled from a year ago and the rate of appreciation is slowing. It adds up to a market that has emboldened buyers. For the first time in years, they have the power to negotiate.

"Sellers tend to jump on the bandwagon late. They still want to believe it's a sellers' market, but it's really kind of level playing field," said Greg Lloyd, board president for Shasta Association of Realtors...

Holden Lewis of said sellers need to have tempered expectations. "As a seller, you have to be prepared to be disappointed because you're not getting the kind of appreciation that people were getting a year ago," Lewis said...

Ron Largent, a real estate agent with Keller Williams in Redding, recently asked an agent to evaluate a house that had been on the market for a while. The agent was greeted at the door by a cat. When he walked in the house, it smelled like cat. A year ago, when it was a sellers' market, somebody looking at that house might have shrugged off the cat odor -- nothing a bottle of Pine-Sol couldn't eliminate. Today, "you're not going [to] get beyond the front door with a person who doesn't like cats," Largent said.

With an abundance of homes on the market in Shasta County, when compared with a year ago, sellers have to be more creative to leave an impression. Chicago author Mark Nash, who wrote "1001 Tips for Buying and Selling a Home," said having food and refreshments available at an open house could encourage buyers to browse longer. Coffee and bottled water are simple pick-me-ups that would-be buyers will appreciate, Nash added.

Buyers shouldn't feel rushed to make a decision.

"A year ago, or even last summer, a buyer had a price range and you drove around and showed them two houses. When you got back to the office, you'd ask them to make a decision because both homes might be gone," Lloyd said. "Now it's back to the point where we (real estate agents) don't have to sound like used-car salesmen."

No comments: