Please critique my FSBO listing!

outerloopsNovember 5, 2013

Hi everyone!

My wife and I are listing our home FSBO through a flat-fee MLS service (link is below). We've only been on the market for 3 weeks, but I'm starting to get concerned about the lack of serious attention we've been getting.

We initially listed at $335k and got about 8-10 showings and had maybe 8 couples come through our open house that weekend. No second showings, though. All the agent feedback I received was pretty generic: "It showed well, but wasn't for my buyers." "It's a bit out of my buyers' price range." and so on.

So two weeks later we dropped the price by $10k to $325k. After that we had a few more showings, one of which resulted in second and third showings, and ultimately a (in my opinion) lowball offer. After a bit of back and forth, the highest they would come was $290k, so we moved on. There's been no activity since then.

We're in a very desirable neighborhood of Minneapolis with great schools. We're definitely at the "entry level" price range for our area; the majority of existing homes are in the 500s and up, and there has been a ton of new construction for 700 and up. One issue: we are across the street from a high school (although it's the best HS in the city). I've tried to build that into our price already: by my calculations, recent comps (that aren't next to the school) have sold for around $335k. So I feel our asking price of $325k and willingness to go lower accounts for that. But I'm willing to be proven wrong.

So, should we just be patient? Or are we overpriced? I have a hard time believing we're overpriced - the only homes that have sold in our area for less than $315k have been 2br (ours is 3br) and have been on busy streets. Am I seriously underestimating the negative value of being across the street from a high school?

Any other feedback and critiques of our listing would be helpful, too. Thanks!

This post was edited by outerloops on Sun, Nov 10, 13 at 19:22

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"Am I seriously underestimating the negative value of being across the street from a high school?"

Oh heck yes! 10K lower is not nearly enough price difference to be across the street from all of the noise and potential vandals! Especially in combination with the other issues that the home has. The unsafe kitchen that you show in the pics will need to be renovated ASAP. Also, there's only one very small bath bath. The rest of the house shows clean and uncluttered, (LOVE the exterior screen room!) but small. Tiny, in fact. It doesn't appear to be anywhere close to the square footage that you've listed. Are you sure you're not counting basement footage as above grade footage in your calculations?

I'd say your "lowball" price was probably the top of the market for that big issue alone. You might want to call them back and jump on it before they've moved on.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2013 at 12:13PM
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"The unsafe kitchen that you show in the pics will need to be renovated ASAP"

Please explain? What's unsafe about it?

"It doesn't appear to be anywhere close to the square footage that you've listed."

In our area, the total square footage includes finished basement area. The listing calls out above-ground and below-ground footage separately, but the "headline number" is always the combined number.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2013 at 12:16PM
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Pictures looks nice, but I think you are underestimating what buyers think about being across from the high school. To me it means noise, traffic, and a worry about the delinquents and potential property damage - I know you said it is a good HS, but still even in those they exist - just with more money.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2013 at 12:21PM
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The kitchen has the range next to a doorway. That's a potential visit to a burn unit. It needs renovating, and a better layout.

While the headline may combine the above and below ground footage, someone who is looking for a 1600 square foot house will never come to see this house. The two small bedrooms show extremely small. Like a single bedroom that was split in two. Was that the case to get the home to be a 3 bedroom? A 3 bedroom with too small rooms doesn't get any real bump over a 2 bedroom with larger rooms.

Also, there's no pics of the garage or back yard, which is called out in the listing. You need to show pics of everything that you list as a positive in the listing.

$200 a square foot is pretty pricey in most non LA or NY real estate locations for an entry level home. Especially for an older home with only a single bath. Any way you can get at least a half bath in the basement?

    Bookmark   November 5, 2013 at 12:29PM
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How did you come up with your sales price?
This sale, a year old, is two houses down from your house and sold for less than your offer.

What has happened in the three years since you purchased the house to warrant a $90,000 price increase?

As I look around sold properties near yours (within a few blocks, similar properties seem to be selling in the $200's.

Just the traffic associated with a school, especially a high school, would make me walk away.

You're overpriced.

Here is a link that might be useful: Nearby home

This post was edited by rrah on Tue, Nov 5, 13 at 12:44

    Bookmark   November 5, 2013 at 12:41PM
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Ditto all of the shying away from the listing because of the school. It would have to be several streets over for me to even consider it! No amount of money would make me reconsider. But, for a buyer who's trying to get into the next price bracket, or a certain school district, maybe a 20-30K price drop would make the difference in being able to do that. But, that 20-30K would be from the sold comps several blocks away from the school. And those look to be in the mid 200's, not 300's. In other words, I don't get how you arrived at your price either.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2013 at 2:02PM
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Thanks for the feedback, everyone. As far as what we used to determine our price, sale prices in our area have skyrocketed this year. A couple specific comps I was using were:

Sold for 315k last month, no garage vs our 2.5 car garage:

Sold for 335k last month:

Granted, neither are across from the high school, and both have another partial bath. So these at least support a price above 300, but it's very likely I'm not discounting enough based on the high school.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2013 at 2:12PM
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To be sure, Zillow isn't the fount of all accurate information, but...


Your "comp"

Your first listing, 4838 Chowen Ave, doesn't show as having been for sale at all, and the last sale shown is 3 years ago at 299. It has those beautiful built in's and the stained glass window, which are great original features. There's also 2 fireplaces, 1 in a MUCH more inhabitable looking basement. The exterior shows a lot of money spent on the stonework and landscaping.


Other comp.

Your second one indicates it was withdrawn from the market after listing for 299 and not selling. It also has an extra bathroom, and is a much more original featured appealing historic type of home. Plus it has a lot more amenities than your, or it lists a bunch more amenities, like the radiant floor heating.

Even if the prices you quote are recently sold ones, they aren't true comps to your home. They would command a higher price.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2013 at 3:27PM
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I'm shocked that many here consider being across from a high school as a negative. In my town there are 5 high schools. With all of the them all the homes adjacent or across from are extremely nice and many are very high end. To back up to the high school is considered a plus. We often walk on the track or play tennis at my kids HS. It is very well maintained. The traffic would not bother me at our school as it would be worth it to live in such a nice area. I live about 3 miles away.

As for your kitchen. What does your comps kitchens look like? Yes your needs to be updated but if the comps are similar it shouldn't make a difference.

I suppose if you live in a bad school district it would be different.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2013 at 3:28PM
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Last Sold: Jul 2010 for $229,900 - what did you do to warrant a 30% price increase in 3 years? Your market is really appreciating at a 10% clip per year?

    Bookmark   November 5, 2013 at 4:08PM
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Yes, actually. Prices shot up an average of 14% this year in the nicer neighborhoods of Minneapolis.

Still, I think we're coming to our senses about how "comparable" we actually are to the comps I showed.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2013 at 4:11PM
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Prices shooting up in nicer neighborhoods do not necessarily translate to prices shooting up in more starter type neighborhoods. Yes, it does eventually work it's way down the ladder, but often not in a one-to-one ratio. What is happening on the other side of the city is irrelevant to your price.

There are a number of factors going into determining an appropriate comparative property. Those located closer are better than those located farther away. You want to compare properties that are closest in size, location, amenities, age, etc.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2013 at 4:34PM
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Sorry for the confusion, but this is a starter home in one of the nicest neighborhoods in the area. Three homes on our block sold for over $600k this year. Within about 5 blocks in any direction, there's new construction that's going for $800k - $1.2M. I've had multiple developers mention that anything below $300k is considered a tear-down opportunity.

I'm not trying to say we're not overpriced, just that we're smack in the middle of a very desirable area that has, indeed, seen double-digit percentage increases in home values.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2013 at 4:42PM
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Sounds like no matter what anyone might think, you are set on doing what you are doing...

You are expensive for a small starter home ($200 a square foot!!); you are priced way over the comps (which really aren't comps as they have more/different features0; you think your house went up in value 30% in three years; your house need lots of work, especially that kitchen.

Can you track down that 'low-ball offer' and take them up on it?

    Bookmark   November 5, 2013 at 5:15PM
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He's already said he's coming to his senses about the comps!

OP, it seems like most of the responders went on the immediate attack. Maybe you needed that at first but the negativity didn't need to continue. Reevaluate your comps, pull up your boot straps and move on.

Your home looks well maintained with beautiful floors. The photos are great and your home is clean. The kitchen is far from being unsafe! That was a huge exaggeration. Of course, it does need updating even though it's obvious that a few minor things have been spiffed up. The home is still move in ready and a fine home for anyone in the right price point.

I also live directly across from a school. People here love to walk and bike, it's a plus and not at all noisy or crime-ridden, which proves that some people don't know what they're talking about but do know how to do a lot of assuming.

I also live in a neighborhood where home values have dramatically and steadily increased. (20% in 4 years). Yay for us! I'm sure you'll do well.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2013 at 7:42PM
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OP - Good luck with the sale, etc. I don't know about the price, etc. But, if there is an easy way to flip the cooktop and counter, it certainly wouldn't hurt the value. I would worry if I had kids with that right by the walkway.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2013 at 8:49PM
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It is a cute house, and it looks well maintained. It does need updating, especially the kitchen. But it has an open feeling to it, which is very popular these days. However, I would never buy a house across from the high school. Around here, our high schools are for about 3000 students, and anyone who lives close can never have any parking space at their curb during the week and on nights when there are activities. Too much of an inconvenience for me.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2013 at 10:58PM
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"which proves that some people don't know what they're talking about but do know how to do a lot of assuming. "

Or, perhaps, they know that in their area, living near a high school is NOT desirable!
In mine, living near an elementary is seen as a good thing, but definitely NOT the high school. Parking and traffic issues severely depress home prices there.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2013 at 4:25PM
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Based on the amount of inventory around you. ( I would say you are severely overpriced. Obviously, I can't tell if you are in an exclusive neighborhood which would warrant a higher price, but take a look at the competition. There are so many more houses out there that are offering so much more for much less money! Sorry :(

    Bookmark   November 10, 2013 at 6:20PM
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