RE/MAX of Los Alamos Real Estate Round Table: Answering the Most Common Questions

RE/MAX of Los Alamos Real Estate Round Table:
Answering the Most Common Questions

Fall has arrived! The air is crisp, the leaves are changing color, and 2014 will be here before we know it. This month we’ll answer the most common real estate questions we get from clients and friends.

Q: How’s the market? 

A: Generally speaking, the 2013 market has been solid. We’ve sold more homes faster than we did during the same period in 2011 or 2012:

Number of Homes Sold Jan. 1 – Sept. 30







Days on Market Until Sold Jan. 1 – Sept. 30











Q: What do buyers want?

A:  Homes that are move-in ready.

  • No deferred maintenance issues such as over-the-hill roofing, stucco/siding, or heating systems.
  • Relevant updates completed, including fresh paint, newer flooring, updated light and plumbing fixtures, and current kitchen appliances. If your kitchen or bath cabinets have no finish left on them, the drawers don’t glide on the hinges, and the doors are threatening to fall off, that’s a problem.
  • De-cluttered and sparkling clean inside and out.

Q: You’re always saying a home has to be priced right? What exactly does that mean?

A: It’s complicated.

  • First and foremost, a house is worth what a willing and able buyer offers to pay for it. Until you have an offer, all you have is an asking price.  Hopefully it’s an educated and reasonable estimate of the current market value of your home, but ‘for sale’ is not the same as ‘sold’.
  • The appraiser that is hired by your buyer’s lender must confirm the agreed upon sale price in your purchase agreement. They will use recent (past 6 months) comparable sales to make their determination. ‘Comparable’ refers to house and lot size, effective age, and location.  Appraisers and Realtors® use similar, but not identical, valuation criteria. Realtors® factor in consumer demand for certain upgrades, floor plan features, and neighborhoods when they estimate value more than an appraiser would.
  • Old appraisals and appraisals obtained to refinance your home are not necessarily good estimates of current market value. Refinance valuations often come in higher than purchase appraisals. Reasons may be that seasoned borrowers are lower risk for lenders, and a lower loan to value ratios are preferable in the lender’s portfolio.
  • While we do look carefully at comparable sale data to establish current market value, unless your house is IDENTICAL to your neighbor’s house (almost certainly not the case), don’t use it as your benchmark.

Q: Is it too late to put a house on the market this year?

A:  It depends.

  • Pro: in winter inventory levels tend to be lower, so there is less competition from other sellers.
  • Pro: winter buyers are serious.  Who would bother to shop and move in the cold and during the holidays if they didn’t really need or want to?
  • Con: your yard won’t look great.
  • Con: some buyers may feel they have a negotiating advantage if you didn’t sell your home during the prime summer selling season. If you didn’t come on the market until November, that’s not an issue.

Sellers who follow the “Three P’s” of real estate sell their homes with good results. When we work together to rigorously Prepare your home for sale, Price it in line with the market, and Promote it in all the right ways, buyers respond favorably! 

RE/MAX is all about results, for more information call 505.662.6789, email, visit, or follow RE/MAX on Facebook at

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