Home sales rising again

Published 12:05 am Saturday, July 28, 2012

Residential home values are continuing to rise on a local and national level, and the advice of local realtors, to those thinking of selling is they should make their house “pop.”

Earlier this week, Zillow.com reported home values have risen for four consecutive months on a national level – a trend that led the Seattle-based website that measures home values to declare that the housing market has turned the corner from its five-year slump.

Donna Raines, president of the Covington County Board of Realtors, said the same trend is emerging locally.

In March, there were 134 active residential listings throughout the county. The average sold price was $81,300, and houses spent an average of 190 days on the market. In 2010, that price was $68,691.

Currently, there are 280 residential listings throughout the county. The average sold price is $98,707, and houses spend an average of 285 days on the market, Raines said.

“That should be good news to sellers, and to those who might be thinking about selling their home,” Raines said. “Prices are up. Days on market are a bit higher compared to last time, but (the numbers do) show an upward curve.”

Raines said this time last year, year-to-date totals showed there were the same number of listings, and that the average sold price was $86,287.

In June 2011, there were 22 sales recorded, and last month, that number increased by six, to 28 total home sales, she said.

This year, from Jan. 1 until June 30, 130 residential homes have been sold – 49 in Andalusia, 27 in Opp; five in the Florala area; 12 in the Gantt/Pt. A area; and 37 in the county. Comparatively, 125 properties sold during the same period last year – 48 in Andalusia; 33 in Opp; 12 in the Florala area; five in Gantt/Pt. A area; and 27 in the county.

“You can see the numbers are going up – which is great for our area,” Raines said.

Raines had this advice for those selling a home.

“The house has to have good curb appeal,” she said. “Do something to make it pop, to make it stand out. It has to be in as good of repair inside as it can be, and clean.”

Raines said homeowners should be very careful in pricing.

“Any agent can do a comparative market analysis for the property, which is where the Realtor will show them comparative listings like their property, what those sold for and what the homeowner can expect for their property,” she said. “If you do your homework and price the property correctly, then it should sell.”

Raines said home buyers are also looking for move-in ready properties.

“Most people can’t visualize what a house will look like if renovated, so that’s why it’s important to have those things done before you list it,” she said. “Buyers also want kitchen and bathroom upgrades. Those are big projects that most people can’t tackle. Flooring and paint can be changed pretty easily.”