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Is the Longer a Home on the Market the Less it’s Worth?

by Connie Yoshimura

That may be the case in our local housing market. There are less than a thousand single family homes on the market with an average sales price of $370,000. They’ve been on the market an average of eighty-nine days. However, the average sales on the market for sold homes in the last thirteen months was forty-seven days and the average days on the market in the last six months was forty-five days or fifty percent less than current standing inventory days on the market. Sellers need to be aware that if your home is not under contract in forty-five days, it is undoubtedly, at least statistically, over-priced.

The percent sales price to original list price also confirms this trend. Today, the average home is discounted 3.5% from original list price. Once the home has been reduced, it still sells for 1.2% less than list.  Price the home right and you’re going to have a sale in 45 days or sooner. But, price the home above market, the longer the wait and the greater the discount. Anecdotally, we see this play out in our market on a weekly basis.  Some for sale homes receive multiple offers within a few days. Others sit for three months or longer. Yes, the condition of the home plays an important role and so does the first photo of the home that pops into MLS and gets circulated through IDX channels to the world through Zillow and Trulia. Today’s buyers shop online and a bad photo and mundane description can easily destroy a home’s perceived value at first glance.

Realtors want to get the highest and best price for a seller and thus may have a tendency to initially over-price a home for sale. It takes a strong willed realtor, backed up with statistical information, to tell a seller his home is not worth what his neighbor’s sold for a year ago. Perhaps, today’s market can best be categorized as fickle and trending downstream.

For many buyers, it’s still all about location whether it’s being in a particular school district, near the grandkids or just having a direct and short commute. With our aging housing stock, sellers are taking a gamble when it comes to remodeling before putting their home on the market. Neutral is still the best bet when it comes to interiors. Home owners should put their favorite colors in their home furnishings, accessories and personal possessions. Take the aqua with you when you move rather than leaving it on the walls or floor.

The Power of Your Homeowners’ Association

by Connie Yoshimura

Homeowners’ associations are a necessity in today’s world of residential development. Whether it’s a condominium or single family development, any new community that has a common area, including signage easements, greenbelts, perimeter fencing, is subject to the uniform Common Interest Ownership Act requiring a public offering statement be given to each and every buyer. And every common ownership community must have an association that consists of a board of directors which oversees the enforcement of the covenants, codes and restrictions for the community. Without an association there is no opportunity for enforcement of the CCRs. The MOA code enforcement division does not enforce the HOA rules and regulations, only MOA requirements such as air or water pollution, fences and signs that violate sight distances, junk vehicles, land use and zoning, noise and unsafe buildings.

Required by state law, the minimum number of board members in an association is three and there is no maximum members. Their powers are extensive, including the ability to adopt and amend bylaws’ rules and regulations and establish fines for those homeowners who are not compliant with the regulations. Most associations create a fine policy with several levels of infractions. Long-term violations such as landscaping, improper fencing, decks that are not immediately correctable are given a longer period of time to comply, normally 30 days. Short term violations such as materials stored in the front yard, improper placement of a satellite dish, sheds built without approval are given seven days to correct, depending on the association. Repeated violations, such as a boat parked long term in the driveway during the summer, would have an automatic fine assessed to the homeowner.

The state law requires a notice and hearing prior to a fine being assessed to a homeowner’s account and the amount would appear on their quarterly or monthly dues statement. Many homeowners are unaware of their rights to a hearing and so it is important for the homeowner to request a hearing in writing to the board. If the board assesses a fine after the hearing and the homeowner does not pay, the board has the right to lien the property, which would make the amount due and payable upon any sale. Only the board can lien a property. An adjacent property owner, regardless of how egregious the circumstances, does not have the right to lien a neighbor’s property.

An active HOA can add value to a community by keeping common area landscaping well maintained and junk cars, et cetera, out of eye sight. However, a fractious, overly aggressive HOA can likewise deter prospective buyers from purchasing in the community. Fair and balanced is the best course of action.

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Dwell Realty
561 E. 36th Ave., Suite 200
Anchorage AK 99503