Wife: I have some good news and some bad news.
Husband: What’s the good news?
Wife: The good news is I found a picture that’s worth $500,000.
Husband: Wow! That’s wonderful! What’s the bad news?
Wife: The bad news is that the picture is of you and your secretary!
According to animalinfo.org, the hairy-eared dwarf lemur is one of the world’s rarest mammals and one of the smallest primates, weighing in at just 3 ounces. In the real estate world one of rarest mammals you’ll find is the homeowner who is NOT in foreclosure and has equity. If you are homeowner or investor and fall into this category, congratulations! Maybe animalinfo.org will create a new section for you.
If you are a listing agent that represents a seller that is NOT in foreclosure and has equity that too is excellent news! You don’t have to deal with the bank, which could easily add another 7-10 years to your life. You are also spared the “Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet” question you will undoubtedly get from the seller, the buyer and buyer’s agent. Isn’t it bad enough you have to hear your kids ask this question all of the time?
But here is the best news of all: The market is willing to pay more for your home because the market doesn’t have to deal with a bank. As a matter of fact, the market desires your home so much that it may pay more than your asking price because move-in ready homes are so difficult to find right now. Here’s a December breakdown, taken from Michael Orr’s Cromford Report, of price per square foot sales in the Phoenix metro area:
- Normal: $115.34
- Short Sale: $85.41
- REO $71.10
“Normal” means not a short sale, not bank owned, but a good old fashioned traditional sale where the owner is NOT in foreclosure or upside down. Now doesn’t it feel good to be considered normal? If that doesn’t warm you right up then the fact that, on average, your home will sell for about 20% more than a bank owned home or short sale should cheer you right up. Or should it?
Brace yourself for some bad news. Let’s say you find that buyer who is willing to pay your asking price, or perhaps a little more. You execute the contract and open escrow. Then, the appraisal comes back low. I mean really low. I’m talking 20% below your contract price. How did this happen? Because the appraiser used bank owned and short sale comps to determine the value of your move-in ready, don’t have to deal with a bank home that the market is willing to pay much more to get.
So is there a happy ending to this story? It depends. If you get the right appraiser the deal will get done. If not? You either lower your price to match the appraisal, get the buyer to come in with cash to make up the difference between the appraisal and contract price, or put the home back on the market.