The Truth of Real Estate Cliche

by : Leslie Eskildsen

Ever landed on a cliche expression and wondered is there any truth to this statement? Some familiar slogan written on the bathroom walls begins to haunt you... You've heard something so many times it sounds like gibberish but for a moment, you stop to examine its origin... its potential veracity. In real estate there are many such expressions, and it's important to explore them to know what sort of truth, if any, is written on the bathroom walls... and plastered all over the internet, for that matter.

Let's begin with the most reported and repeated phrase in real estate, "Location, location, location". This is the notion that the number one selling point for any property is its location- not the house itself, but the value in the location it sits on. Now, as much as this is the most nauseatingly repeated slogan in the business, much of it stands strong and true. If a market plummets, better locations will never suffer as hard of a hit as other less desirable areas. But, it's important to qualify that along with the truth of this statement, is a contradiction. Sometimes it's better to invest "just next door" to the prime "location, location, location." Many prime neighborhoods become priced out for the average buyer, in which case what is "hot" begins to spread and the "it" location starts to take in other near-by areas.

"Price to sell", is another golden phrase you may have had to choke down in your real estate transactions. This one is certainly true. It seems obvious that you'd want to price anything at the right price in order to move it. But what is not really explored in this hiccup of a phrase, is, what is "the right price"? There are a couple situations that many sellers assume to be "the right way" to price their home. One is to price low, with the desired intent to spark a bidding war. The other idea is to price a house as high as possible- in competition with the highest home on the block.

Both these approaches hold a particular set of problems. A low priced home can have the desired effect of brewing up a feisty bidding war and garnering a winningly high sale price- but only if the market is hot, the home is in pristine condition and located in an incredibly desirable neighborhood. Oftentimes in such a situation the seller is simply stuck with a serious of low ball offers that undermine his or her expectations.

If a seller prices too high, they run the risk of the property sitting for a long time and then eventually having to cut the price down the line. None of this bodes well for the reputation of the home in the eyes of buyers agents. An overpriced home can be an instant turn-off to clients and eventually agents won't bother showing it. In the eyes of sellers, a home that has been "just reduced" begs the questions, " why reduced?.. "what's wrong with it?".

So, with pricing it's a matter of consulting an expert to get that "right price". Have your home appraised by numerous realtors and get a detailed history of what other properties in your neighborhood have sold for in the past while. From here, you can really assess how your home stacks up and what is going to be "the right price" to sell your home as quickly as possible, and for a price your happy with.

How about, "But the worst house on the best street". So again, there is a whole lot of truth buried in this repeated catch phrase. When you buy the best house on the best street, there's not a whole lot you can do to quickly leverage your investment. It's already the best house on the best street. If, however you're lucky enough to score the worst house on the best street, then your sweat equity and improvements should pay off. There is already a high constant value in the home's, "location, location, location." All you have to do is improve the property itself.

But to play devils advocate, this may not ring true if you are categorically against putting any improvement time and money into the house in question. The worst house on the street is not going to do much for you if you just sit there and do nothing. This truism, is only as true as the work you put into making lemons into lemonade- and transforming that worst house on the street into, at the very least, " no-longer the worst house on the street".