Home and Land Sales. Things You Need To Know

Over the past month, a total of 1,439 single family homes were on the market for sale along the Crystal Coast (Carteret County). Of those homes, 116 of them were sold. These sold homes averaged 135 days on market. By the way, 135 days or roughly 4 months is a quick turnaround time for selling a home.

So why did 19 percent of the available homes sell while 81 percent of the other properties sat? Assuming all marketing efforts were equal, then it boils down to price, location, terms and conditions. The one thing you can’t change is the location of a property. This leaves us with price, terms and conditions and this is where most sales are made or lost.

Here’s a good example. The average list price of a Carteret County home this past month was $359,000. The average sold price was $257,000. Now I’m not implying that the reason why 116 homes were sold was because the seller dropped their asking price by over $100,000. But it does highlight the price point of the Crystal Coast market place. The general rule of thumb is the higher the price the longer it will take to sell and vice versa.

But more to the point when it comes to the price of a home is this. Does it reflect current market conditions? Is it at fair market value? Is the list price justifiable? Have appropriate comparables been used in generating a list price? If the listing agent fails at this you better believe the agent representing the buyer won’t and certainly the licensed appraiser the bank sends won’t either.

Now let’s take this a step further. If your house is comparable to, let’s say 5 other homes and all of the homes, including yours, are priced the same. Why should a buyer pick your home over the other 5? You have to either satisfy some term and/or condition to sell, but realistically, the sale will probably happen because the seller lowered the price so as to beat out the competition.

If it isn’t location, which is something you can’t change, then it is probably price, which is something you can change.

I bet if we were able to analyze all 116 sales from this past month that we would find the advantage of the sold home was location and/or price when compared to the 1,323 homes that did not sell.

Let’s switch gears and talk about land. There were 1,007 parcels of land for sale last month in Carteret County. Only 20 of those parcels were sold. That’s less than 2 percent! The average time on market for sale was 417 days, 3 times the length it took to sell a house. So you can see, when compared to selling a home, land sales occur far less frequently and require much more time to happen. This is not the exception but rather the rule. Which brings up a sticky subject. Because of the number of days and infrequency of land sales, listing agencies generally charge a higher commission to list than with homes. The reason is simple. It cost the agency more money to market. Keep in mind, this is not a dead set rule and that all commissions, terms and conditions are negotiable. But don’t be surprised if a listing agency that listed your home for 5-6 percent asks for 8-10 percent to list your vacant parcel of land.

In summary, the Crystal Coast real estate market place for single dwelling homes is doing quite well. It has taken us a decade, but we’ve been able to cut the glut of inventory down from a 3 year supply down to just an 8 month supply of homes. What this means is that we are fast approaching equilibrium where price and days on market are at a balanced level.

Contact Margaret Hitchcock with Hitchcock Realty for more information about real estate along the Crystal Coast. Margaret is a Realtor with many years of successful real estate experience with homes, land, waterfront properties, foreclosures, short sales and more. Call Margaret at (252) 269-2893.

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