Friday, May 11, 2007

Selling Your Home and Living Elsewhere? Beware of Copper Pipe Thieves

An article on the website by Donna Miller reminded me of this issue. Those of us in the real estate business are very aware and I personally know agents who have had vandalism/pipe theft in their clients' vacant homes. I'm glad three of the thieves in Akron were caught red handed.

What can you do to help protect yourselves? First I suggest alerting your city police or the Cleveland Police District in which your 'for sale' home is located. The police are always saying they will provide some extra neighborhood patrols to help.

Secondly, you might want to have your real estate agent provide keys in their office for other agents to show buyers, as opposed to a lock box. Times are tough and copper pipe provides a decent rate of exchange for thieves. Oh and by the way, hot water heaters have been stolen as well.

If you live in the area, visit your vacant home frequently and at irregular hours. Or have relatives or friends do the same. If a thief is 'casing the joint' they won't be able to establish a pattern of time when no one is ever home.

Keep lights on in the basement and/or other parts of the house. I know it costs money but it's much better than having thousands of dollars in home repairs if something is stolen.

If you have one of those beautiful Cleveland homes with the character of leaded or stained glass included and the house is vacant and for sale? Do not let your agent put a lock box on the door. Seriously. This is another area that experienced a rash of theft about a year ago. Agents from all brokerages networked and the solution we came up with was to not use lock boxes. Your agent can keep keys with them and provide copies at their offices. Just a few tips from the trenches. Peace Out - 3C

Cuyahoga County Housing Trend Reports

I see a lot of people in my Cleveland neighborhood doing home repairs: new siding, roofs, windows. I wondered if they are planning on selling their homes or just doing due diligence and making them look better/be more energy efficient. I headed to the computer listing service we use as Realtors® and searched some statistics. This service (NORMLS) is updated through the end of the prior month - in this case, April.

So what has been happening since January 1, 2007? Here is some data (single family or SF- homes only this time):

Brecksville: there are 92 homes on the market; 125 have been listed for sale since January. The average sale price for a SF home was $281,924. 48 homes sold. They were on the market about 75 days and the sellers got 94.29% of their asking price, on average.

Bay Village: there are 134 homes on the market; 172 newly listed for sale since January. 52 SF homes have sold since January. The average sale price was $249,918. They were on the market about 91 days on average. And sellers for these homes received about 93.71% of their asking price.

Shaker Heights: there are 371 SF homes for sale; 451 of these homes have been listed since January. 65 SF homes have sold. The average sale price was $210,292. They were on the market about 86 days before they sold. And the sellers of these homes received about 94.15% of their asking price.

Lakewood: 328 SF homes are for sale in Lakewood now. 493 were newly listed since January. 131 homes sold. Their average sale price was $147,647. These homes were on the market for about 96 days before they sold. Sellers received about 95.27% of their asking price on these homes.

What about Cleveland? Okay, here is my neighborhood - where all that home repair work has the streets buzzing.

West Side of Cleveland From Brookpark Road North to Lorain Avenue, East to W. 117th and West to W. 140th.

There are 428 homes for sale now. There were 117 sold since January. There were 467 new listings since January. The average sale price was $90,013 and these sold homes were on the market about 79 days. Sellers of these homes received about 94.49% of their asking price.

The key finding in these results is a change in the average listing price to sale price. Historically, sellers have been receiving 3% of their asking price in NE Ohio. The neighborhoods I studied showed that to have changed. I would say 5% of asking price is closer to reality based on these stats. Why would that be?

1. Could be harder to convince sellers to accept that the market value of their home is not what it was three years ago.

2. Could be that homes on the market needed work and that came 'off' the asking price when a contract agreement was reached.

3. It's a buyer's market. I'm as tired as you are of hearing that phrase. But with so much competition, sellers are more willing to negotiate on their prices.

Peace Out - 3C