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Owners Use New Techniques to Sell Homes in a Buyer's Market

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RALEIGH — Not that long ago, a house in the Triangle would sell in a week or less, but that trend is changing as interest rates rise. So, homeowners are finding new techniques to sell their houses in what some say is now a buyer's market.

The real estate market in the Triangle is beginning to level off after continuing at a record pace for the last three years.

Nationally, sales of pre-existing homes were down 9 percent this March compared to last year. In Wake County, sales were down close to 15 percent.

"The appreciation has been so strong over the last few years that I think it's only natural for it to level off a bit," says realtor Lisa Eller.

Eller says even though it is taking a little longer to seal the deal, she does not really see home sales taking any kind of nose dive.

"With the growth that we're expected to get over the next few years, I still believe it's going to remain a sellers' market," she says.

So sellers are practicing patience and experimenting with new alternatives.

The home at 100 Aspen Hollow Court shows like a model,thanks to advice the owner received from realtor Marie Santino.

Santino offers all of the services of a traditional real estate agent, from listing to marketing to negotiating a contract to closing. But, full service comes at a full commission -- 6 percent to be split among the listing and selling offices.

A new discount real estate firm in Cary will cut the price sellers pay as well as the services they receive.

"We have found that we can actually do this and make money -- save you money and make money for us -- because we make up for it in volume," says Donna Johnson of Assist-2-Sell.

Assist-2-Selloffers three types of services.
  • For a flat fee of $995, they will help with paperwork.
  • For $2,995, they will market your house.
  • For 4 percent of the listing price, they will put your house in the Multiple Listing Service system.
  • A new Web site promises to do even better than that.Homebytes.computs sellers in the Multiple Listing Service for a mere $499.

    The site also offers an 800 number for telephone support from a licensed agent. But that agent will not live in same town, will not evaluate your home in person and will not hold your hand through the entire process.

    For some, discount real estate services may be the way to go. But traditional agents say let the seller beware.

    Despite the higher interest rates, some house hunters think buying now may be to their advantage.

    "I think maybe some sellers are going to have to come down in their prices just a little bit because there are some houses sitting around," says buyer Trent Wadford.

    Wadford also says buyers have more choices and a wider selection right now.