House Calls: How Long to Wait
Dear Edith: You have advised that a house priced right will sell, and if it is not selling, it could be priced too high for the market.
Obviously, all situations are unique, but is there a good rule of thumb about how long should you let a house be on the market before reducing the price? Does a month suffice? Supposedly, the real estate market is low on inventory where I live, so homes are selling faster. -- T. M.
Answer: Sorry, but there's no rule. Every property is unique, and more factors are involved than just the state of the local market. We'd need to know, for example, how widely the property has been exposed on that market and what similar properties happen to be offered for sale at the moment.
Additionally, the sellers' situation can make a difference. Sometimes older homeowners are really reluctant to leave their longtime home and have the mindset "If it doesn't sell now, there's always next year." On the other hand, sometimes sellers are under pressure: They've already moved, and expenses are being paid on two houses.
All I can tell you is it's best to follow the advice of an experienced real estate broker.
Edith: Besides price and construction, what questions or concerns should be addressed when purchasing a brand-new home? -- D. O.
Answer: First, let's talk about price for a bit. Builders and developers pretty much know their costs, and price is usually not flexible except in situations of hardship. However, it may be possible to dicker about extras that involve add-on prices.
In some areas, you may not know how much property taxes on new construction will cost, so a talk with the local assessor's office could be in order.
Get all promises in writing. If possible, you -- or your attorney -- should arrange for part of the purchase price to be held in escrow pending the builder's attention to small matters that may come up during your first few months of occupancy.