TO SELL SMART
Buck the Trend
Seller: Dan Huckestein
Location: Overlook, North Portland
The property: 3,205 square feet, three bedrooms, one and a half baths; built in 1941
Date purchased: May 2005 price $379,000
Sold: January 2009, for $580,000 Days on market 37
The neighborhood Overlook is eleven minutes by car from downtown and a short walk from the Overlook Park MAX light-rail stop. Huckestein’s home is steps away from Madrona Park.
Market watch In 2008, median home prices grew to $315,000, up more than half a percentage point from 2007.
Seller’s tip “I really bucked the trend,” Huckestein says of the old home-selling adage dictating that sellers should strip homes of personal flair in order to appeal to a wide variety of potential buyers. “I just said, ‘No, that’s not the way this is supposed to be. I’m an artist; I have lots of expressive things. I’m not neutralizing it. This house is about character, and whoever buys it is going to have an emotional reaction to the house.’”
Expert eye “No home is going to appeal to everyone,” says Maureen Bray of Room Solutions, a Portland-based business that teaches homeowners how to maximize a home’s visual appearance during showings. “You have to target what the neighborhood demographics tell you. If you’re in a family neighborhood where everyone has school-age children and all the homes are ranch-style houses in the $300,000 range, don’t stage the place for the ultratrendy person who wants to live in the Pearl.” Staging services, which even provide furniture rentals, can cost up to $1,500, but sellers can deduct the expense from their taxes.
Expert eye “Buyers continue to be willing to pay top dollar for a home that is in tip-top shape says Sue Coon, the agent who listed Huckestein’s home. “But buyers in today’s market are still very cautious not to overpay. Most offers come the first week [the home is listed], and are 5 to 10 percent below asking price. Savvy sellers understand they may not get another offer.” People who view a home in the first week of listing are most likely to make an offer, Coon adds. “Those buyers tend to be well educated, preapproved, and in a position to make a quick decision.” —BB
Expert Tip: If you’re juggling two mortgages and decide to rent one of your properties, ensure a healthy pool of renters by pricing the home $100 below the going market rate, says Karim Alaeddine, an agent with RE/MAX Equity Group.