Lethbridge, like so many other cities in Canada, is in a soft real estate market. While we avoided the severe peaks and troughs suffered by the bigger centres a few years ago, most Lethbridge residents who bought during the boom are now living in a home that is worth about the same—or less—than what they’ve put into it. That said, real estate is moving in all markets, albeit at a moderated pace.
There are a few folks, however, that are facing a little more tough love (especially from REALTORS®!) than the average homeowner.
The hard truth is that the $400K+ market in Lethbridge is a slim one. Yes, in Lethbridge, anything over $400,000 is considered “high end.” There just aren’t many people here who are willing and able to pay that price for a home. In fact, over the past 12 months, just 10.7% of all Lethbridge single detached family homes on the MLS® System sold for $400,000 or more (120/1,124).*
So what to do if you own a high end home and want to sell?
Get ready to “Get Real” about 3 things:
- Get real about value. What you paid for your home five years ago probably doesn’t reflect what the market will bear today. Buyers want value for their money and they’ll know if you’re home is overpriced. So will their REALTORS®. That said, if you bought before the boom, you may be in a position to recover what you’ve put into the home with money to spare. Just don’t get greedy. Overpriced listings can languish on the market for months, and in turn, weaken your negotiating position.
- Get real about giving it up. How strong is your desire to sell your home? If you’re relocating to a new job, you NEED to sell. If you’re wanting something more stylish, you WANT to sell. If your family seems to be outgrowing your space, you have some tough decisions to make regarding “wants” versus “needs.” Getting clear on your motivations for selling helps you get clear on the price you’re willing to accept. If that price is too high for the market to bear, do some more soul searching before you go near a listing contract.
- Get real about strategy. In Lethbridge, high-end resale homes are competing with new construction. And high-end buyers know that, in many cases, they can walk down the street from a resale listing and order a custom build. Buyers know they can be picky. Their options are vast and varied across a range of styles and price points above the $400K mark. How does your home compare in terms of presentation and value? If the layout is flawed, is the décor current? If the yard is small, is the front elevation Wow? Think like a buyer. They have choices: how can your home make it on the short list? (Hint: stage stage stage.)
Deciding to sell a home–and then taking on the process of marketing it and closing a deal–is tough enough in any market. But if you own a higher end home in Lethbridge, you may have to make some incredibly difficult decisions, decisions that will impact your life now and possibly your equity position going forward as a homeowner. Being realistic before you sign a listing agreement can prevent a lot of heartache down the road. And, if you’re willing to act on the above advice, you can optimize your financial position should you ultimately decide to sell and move on.
*Lethbridge real estate market data provided by the Lethbridge and District Association of REALTORS® and compiled by Karri Flatla. Information herein deemed reliable but not guaranteed.