Sit Tight or Go Low


sit tight woman
Image: Daniel Root

Seller: Claudia Waite
Occupation: Custom wallpaper installation and removal
Location: Canby
The property: Ranch-style home with 1,917 square feet, three bedrooms, two baths; built in 1978
Date purchased: 1998 price $242,000
Current asking price: $437,000
Time on market: Eleven months as of early March

The neighborhood Situated on rolling farmland about fifty minutes south of downtown, Canby is full of large homes. Waite’s backyard opens onto the third hole of the Willamette Valley Country Club golf course.

Market watch Canby’s median home price of $270,000 has dropped nearly 10 percent in the past year. Because of the location, buyers can qualify for USDA-backed rural housing loans, which provide 100 percent financing.

The dilemma In October 2007, Waite attempted to sell her house for $650,000. “I put a ‘for sale’ sign in my backyard one weekend,” she says. “Seven people walked off the golf course to inquire about it.” When her offer on a house in Lake Oswego fell through, she removed the sign. With so much apparent interest in the home, Waite assumed she’d have no trouble selling it in April 2008, after paying $309,000 for a two-bedroom condo in Lake Oswego, near her family. Despite listing the property with the Canby RE/MAX Equity Group last September, Waite still hasn’t sold her home.

Expert eye “Sellers with significant equity should understand that any reasonable sale right now is a win,” says Karim Alaeddine, a RE/MAX Equity Group broker. To sell quickly, Alaeddine advises pricing a home at 3 percent less than comparable homes and posting it with a Regional Multiple Listing Service. It’s equally important to make sure that your agent is personally calling other brokers on your behalf. “Even brokers are overwhelmed by the inventory right now,” Alaeddine says. “We can help each other narrow down the field.”

Expert eye The rental market is strong for well-kept homes, Alaeddine says. However, he cautions that the housing market won’t recover quickly, so if your goal is to hold onto two properties until prices improve, expect to rent one of the homes for at least five or six years. To ensure a large pool of renters, Alaeddine suggests pricing a home $100 below the going market rate.—Anna Sachse

Expert Tip: Lenders don’t want another foreclosure on their books, so keep negotiating, says Mark Minnis, an InSight Real Estate broker/owner with more than twenty-five years’ experience.