Selling a home in a buyer's market - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Selling a home in a buyer's market

WEST PALM BEACH, FL (WFLX) - If you're looking for a new home, it's a buyer's market. Home prices are still low and more homes are within the average homebuyer's reach; however, if you're trying to sell your house, it's no secret that it's hard to compete with so many foreclosures and short sales on the market.

Still, some realtors say, it can be done. "This is a four bedroom, three bath home with a two car garage," said Debra Grogis, standing in the driveway of a Briar Bay Court home. "It's about 2800 square feet and it is listed for $259,900."

Grogis, a realtor associate with Re/Max in West Palm Beach, said, the home represents a small portion of South Florida's home sales. It is not a foreclosure property nor has the homeowner been forced to do a short sale -- selling below market value because they're upside down on their mortgage.

Grogis has been selling homes in Palm Beach County for more than 20 years. She said home sellers can compete with foreclosure properties, but they must be willing to sell their house for what it's really worth in today's market. "This house in particular was listed at what we thought was fair market value and we did get a cash buyer on the property," she explained.

The home's $259,900 price is higher than several foreclosures within a mile radius. One bigger, 3100 square foot foreclosure home had a pending sale at $202,000. Two more properties, also in foreclosure, have pending sales for $223,000 and $233,000.

Grogis said many home buyers want "turn key" properties -- where they can move in right away. Therefore, it's important for a house to be appealing. Foreclosure properties could need repairs if the previous owner did not take care of the house. "On a foreclosure, people think they can get a better deal, yet they have to go inside and spend $10,000, $15,000 or $25,000 just to get it to living standards," she explained.

Still, another concern for some buyers is time. "The general market is getting tired of the short sale wait," said Grogis. "Sometimes, it can take three months to eight months, and they don't want to wait anymore so they're looking at standard sales."

Investors may also have to wait to make an offer on a foreclosed property. Many lenders open the bidding first to people who are looking to buy a home where they will live. "If they don't get any bids from a homeowner; then, they will let investors bid," added Grogis, "because they're trying to stabilize neighborhoods."

The good news for sellers in South Florida, she said, is there's a lot of interest from international buyers. "If you're from somewhere like Canada, this house (for $259,900) would run you $500,000 or $600,000."

Foreclosure homes are not always less money she added. Prices are set by banks that look at what homes are selling for in that neighborhood. "There are good deals to be had, yes," Grogis explained about foreclosures, "and there are good deals in standard sales, as well."

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