Monday, January 09, 2012

Q: I'm getting ready to sell my house this coming spring and I want to have a better idea of who the potential buyers might be.

I don't want to spend a lot fixing up the place if an investor is going to buy it and just rent it out.  What kind of buyers are out there?

A:  I can only speak for my own business, but I can tell you what I saw in 2011.  Only 10% of my sales were to investors buying rental property.  I have many clients considering that type of purchase due to low interest rates and exceptionally low prices, but most of them are waiting to see how the market may change this year.

  35% of my sales were second home buyers, most from our local region.  Again, that was due to prices that they perceived as bargains.  That's a large percentage and one you should consider.  These buyers don't generally want to do a lot of work.  They want to just move in and enjoy their Island vacation home.  Clean, tidy and ready to live in is what they're looking for.  25% of my sales were folks on Vashon just moving around.  That always constitutes a fairly large part of our market here.  They may need a bigger house, or smaller house, or want to be closer to town or just want change.  Whatever the reason, they are always a significant part of the market.

  A full 20% of my sales in 2011 were first time buyers.  We thought we had seen the last of them when the tax credit went away, but the prices and interest rate kept them looking.  I expect to continue having a number of first time home buyers this year.  These buyers tend to be inexperienced and need to find a home that isn't a fixer.

  So my advice is to get your place as clean, tidy and fixed up as you can in order to attract the largest number of potential buyers.  You'll get a better price and a much faster sale.  Then, price it right!