Archive for the 'For Sellers' Category

Unique House Pricing and Unique Realtor Compensation June 24th, 2014

Categories: For Sellers, Wasilla Real Estate News

I thought I would post an email I sent today to show how we work at Valley Market Real Estate. I made a few redactions to protect identities but otherwise this is just a copy and paste of an email sent just a few days ago.


I viewed your house with XXXXXXX. It was good that I did. I was in your house just once quite a few years ago. It is certainly a unique Alaskan house.

There are really no close comparisons to your house to try to nail down a real accurate price that a buyer will be willing to pay. The woodwork in the house is impressive and the fact that much of it is recycled wood makes it even better.

The location is also extremely unique. It is unlikely that the land around it will be developed in the foreseeable future. It is hard to find properties like this.

After viewing the property I would have to say that the value is around $250K with a margin of error of 10% or so. So that is a range of $225-$275K. I know that is a huge range, but with the current market situation and the extremely unique property I don’t feel it would be responsible to let you believe we can price this more accurately than that.

It’s one thing to compare apples to apples and oranges to oranges but when you have a pomegranate in an apple orchard it’s a little difficult to make good comparisons.

I am VERY flexible when it comes to marketing choices. I have different packages ranging from 4.5% to 7%. All the packages include great photos, good signage and extensive internet coverage. I do the same amount of support on the transaction management portion of it, and that is really where a real estate licensee’s value lies.

Give me a call

Marty Van Diest
Valley Market Real Estate
907 232-7900
[email protected]

Written by Marty Van Diest

Whipple Painting Services LLC April 17th, 2013

Categories: For Buyers, For Sellers, Getting Ready For The Sale, Matanuska Valley Businesses

Whipple Painting Services

Whipple Painting Services

If you are looking for good painters in the Palmer or Wasilla area, you need to call Whipple Painting Services.

I have known Joe and Jacob Whipple since they were boys and can vouch for them as honest, hard workers. Spring is here and Whipple Painting Services is licensed, bonded and insured

These men grew up in the Valley. Support the local guys, give them a call!
Here is their contact info:

Phone 907-354-4626

Written by Marty Van Diest

Wasilla and Palmer Inspectors March 19th, 2013

Categories: For Buyers, For Sellers

This is a list of licensed home inspectors that work in the Mat-Su Valley. As time goes by I will add to this list. If you want to be on it, just drop me an email.

  • *A1 Inspection, Steve Amidon,   892–4444
  • *Active Inspections 376–0402
  • *Home Tech, Loren Kroon, 373–3811
  • *Quality Home Inspections, Kevin Jones, 333–1719
  • *Home Inspections Plus, Troy Bloxom, 694–7587
  • *Sommmer Enterprises, Dan Sommer, 907 841-0188
  • *Fairview Property Consultants, Mike Divis, 907-355-1066

I also recommend that a buyer do a more detailed water test as part of their inspection. See Wasilla Well Water for more about this.

Written by Marty Van Diest

Mortgage Rates Edge Up February 7th, 2011

Categories: For Buyers, For Sellers

“Mortgage bond prices fell last week pushing mortgage interest rates considerably higher. We were deluged with mostly better than expected data and strong stocks as the DOW eclipsed the 12,000 mark. Weekly jobless claims printed at 415K, weaker than the expected 425K. Revised Q4 productivity came in at 2.6%. Analysts were expecting productivity to rise 2.2%. Productivity is important for a business because it helps keep costs low. Factory orders rose 0.2%, stronger than the expected 0.6% decline. That data pressured rates higher. Mortgage bonds ended the week negative by a disappointing 7/8 of a discount point.”

The above is a quote from a weekly mortgage update that I receive from Alice Roe of US Bank. All that good news basically means that mortgage rates are going up. If the business outlook looks good rates go up, if they look bad, rates go down. Thats the way it works except for when the Fed gets too involved. The Fed can, to a certain extent, keep interest rates low by making money cheap for banks. But this is can only work for so long, eventually they will have used up all that leverage and it won’t work anymore. I think they have very little leverage left.

I get a daily update. These updates show that rates currently are in the high 4% ranges and edging up. For every 1% increase in rates you will pay about $120 more on a $200,000 loan. So in a year you will pay about $1400 extra for a house if you wait until interest rates rise. So there is pressure on buyers to buy before interest rates rise.

Conversely, if interest rates rise, it will decrease the amount of qualified buyers for a given house price. That will tend to drive house values lower over time because of the lack of demand. House values will not change quickly as a response to interest rates, but like a huge ship turns, the rudder will eventually have an effect. So there is pressure on sellers also, to get their house sold while the interest rates are still attractive.

Bottom line, both buyers and sellers need to pay attention to interest rates. Buyers that are current looking at houses might want to lock in the rates as soon as they can. They are the ones that can react quickly to the still relatively attractive rates.

Written by Marty Van Diest

The Number One Secret To Selling In Todays Market December 18th, 2008

Categories: For Sellers

Pricing Your Home Right.

Thats all there is to it.  Of course you need to expose it to the market, but all the marketing in the world will not sell an overpriced home.  You can spend thousands and thousands of dollars on advertising, and many do, but you still can’t sell an overprice home.

By far, the most important thing to get right in marketing a home is pricing it right to start with.  If a home is priced right for the current market it will sell.  If it is priced too high, it will not sell, its a s simple as that.  If it is price too low it will sell but you will leave money on the table.

Even though the secret is a simple one, actually determining the correct sales price is not so simple.  In fact, its more of an art than a science.  Appraisers value homes based purely on the numbers.  But the appraised value of a home is usually not at all the correct price to market.  The tax appraisers also put values on homes based on very broad guidelines but the tax assessed values are even less valuable from a marketing standpoint.  We often sell homes for twice the borough tax assessment, and then sometimes for 30% under the tax assessment. 

It takes an experienced realtor who has been marketing homes in the area for awhile to determine a realistic sales price.  Even then, some homes are so unusual that that the price is really a broad range and the market has to determine the price.

I thought I would post the excepts of a letter that I sent to a prospective seller just yesterday.  This was an easy house to price correctly.  This seller decided not to sell at this time.

Hello (Mr Seller),

I have finished the research on your house.  I have reviewed 84 ranch style homes that have been on the market in the last year.  They were all between 1300-1600 square feet with 3 bedrooms, 2 baths and 2 car garages.  They had at least ½ acre of land.  They were all built since 2000. 

Your house has 1480 square feet, 1 ½ acres of land and otherwise matches most of the homes on the list. 

Of those 84 homes, 32 of them are still active.  They will be your competition.  You will need to beat all 32 of them and they are all located in the Palmer/Wasilla area.  These homes average $147 per square foot and have been on the market for an average of 116 days.

48 of the houses have sold within the past year.  The more important sales are the most recent ones.  These homes average $145 per square foot and have been on the market for and average of 59 days.  Many of them were new construction and so they had a shorter time on the market because a lot of them were sold before they were built.

There are four pending sales.  These are the most important because they are currently under contract but have not closed.  We don’t know the sales price for these homes because it is not yet public knowledge but we do know the asking price.  The asking price for these homes averaged $137 per square foot and were on the market for an average of 122 days.  The two homes that were on the market for the longest time dropped their price significantly before they pended.  

This is a link to the most 14 most important comps in my opinion.  You will need to beat the active listings here.,2,1

It is important to realize that home prices haven’t gone up much…if at all in the last year.  They may be going down, but we don’t have enough data to support that yet.  I would say that you should list your home for $220,000.  You will have to wait and see how the market reacts to that price.  You may end up selling it for $215,000 which is less than your purchase price.     

You might be interested to know that just today I listed a house in a very similar situation to yours.  We listed it for $220,000. Here is the link,2,1   It is 1680 square feet and just across from Colony High School.

BTW…here is your listing when you purchased your home, (link removed per MLS rules).

Please let me know if there is anything I can do.  I would be willing to list it for a slightly higher price, but I think that anything higher than $230,000 would be just making a sign post out of your house.  I would get calls and leads off the sign, but you wouldn’t get anything but wasted effort on your part.

Marty Van Diest
Valley Market Real Estate
907 232-7900

There are several caveats to that letter.  First, the subject property was a very typical ranch style home.   If there is anything unusual about the location, neighborhood, or the house itself, you will need to add or subtract from the price after you determine the price for a typical home.  For example, if a home is ten miles or so from the core area, there will be a price reduction for as much as 5%.  If a neighbor collects junk cars, there will be a price reduction depending on the amount of junk.  If the home itself is significantly upgraded you will add to the price and you can go on and on.
There are many, many different details that go into pricing a home.  Almost always, after I determine a price I call at least two of my real estate friends to make sure I’m not way off the mark.  Sometimes after the call I will go back and take a look at the adjustments again.
But if the price is right…it will sell.   If it sits on the market for more than 60–90 days, guess what?
You got it,                         The price is too high!

Written by Marty Van Diest

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