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Critical Time for Central Illinois Home Sellers

The Capital Area Association of Realtors (CAAR) had member brokers reporting to the MLS that closed home sales fell in January by over 27%. In spite of interest rates falling below 6%, and unemployment rates locally of 4.9%, sales pending closing fell in January by over 25% from 2007. This marks the fifth consecutive monthly decline in sales pending. The beginning of February shows this trend continuing.

This will be my twenty-second spring market as a Realtor in the Springfield area; we have never had a bad spring for home sales. Historical records prove more homes are sold between Valentines Day and June 30, than at any other time of the year. It is critical that homeowners that must sell their home be prepared to take advantage of the impending spring market.

The fact that home sales could fall with interest rates at near record lows, and unemployment at near record lows, indicates that spring 2008 may be many homeowners best opportunity of the year to get sold.

What could cause sales to fall with solid local economic fundamentals? Low interest rates, low unemployment, a record number of homes for sale for this time of year; are not the cause for sales to decline. There are many factors involved such as; rising fuel and food costs, fear of recession, declining consumer spending, and consumer confidence. In my opinion the reason for falling sales is satisfied demand combined with stagnate job growth.

Unemployment may be down, however without new jobs attracting new people to the community, the home buyer pool can't grow. The question becomes can Springfield, Illinois buck the national trends as it has the preceding two years? The next six to eight weeks will tell the story. If home sales don't pick up sharply between Valentines Day and St. Patrick's Day then this will be a very long year for home sellers.

If you must sell a home here are some critical tips to help you get sold. Successfully selling a home begins with agent and company selection. It is imperative to make a wise decision when choosing an agent. Fritz's advice (do's and dont's): DO: 1. interview two to three agents 2. verify agents claims 3. ask to see a written marketing plan with examples of marketing materials 4. follow your intuition, ask for the names of past clients. DON'T: 1. hire the agent that quotes the highest price or lowest fee 2. don't hire any agent that doesn't advertise both price and address in their marketing 3. don't hire an agent that advertises price reduced 4. don't hire a broker that does not give you an exit clause in their listing contract.

Obtaining a successful sale is all about agent selection, price, and condition. Hiring the right agent will allow you to avoid the embarrassment of making all the mistakes associated with home owners that do not sell.

The homeowners of Springfield Illinois should be aware that their opportunity to sell a home may never be better in 2008 than between now and June 30. History tells us so, however make a mistake in agent selection, price, or condition and it won't matter the time of year; you won't sell.

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