FD housing experts share tips for selling homes

Potential home sellers had a chance to hear what they can do to get the most value out of their homes Monday during a special program at Friendship Haven.

The seminar featured real estate appraiser Jim Kesterson speaking on today’s housing values and the appraisal process, broker Kati Lemberg on staging downsizing and steps to sell a home inside and out and Tom Chalstrom, Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance housing chair, on having confidence with your timing.

Chalstrom said that with industrial growth in and around Fort Dodge, now is a good time to sell a home.

‘There is a robust market,” said Chalstrom. “There is a shortage in rentals, apartments and townhomes and those are the properties we need today.”

Chalstrom said many potential homebuyers in the area are willing to pay $125,000 to $150,000 for a home, but that the downfall is that the region lacks what they may be looking for.

“For the people coming to this area, their preference is for new housing with amenities which fit today’s lifestyles,” he said. “We don’t have the large developments like you see going up in Polk County. Even though people say they will buy in the $150,000 range, we don’t always have that available.”

Chalstrom said that home sales increased by 33 percent in 2012 from 2011 and that some homes may even sell above their assessed value.

“Today’s market is probably the best it has been in a generation,” said Chalstrom.

Lemberg said that currently, demand for housing is greater than the supply, which may make it a good time to sell a home.

“I would encourage anyone thinking about selling to at least contact an agent,” she said. ‘We’re looking at a low supply and good demand.”

Lemberg encouraged potential sellers to make small improvements to the home such as painting, updating counter tops and changes to the lawn and landscaping to give it more appeal to potential buyers.

Kesterson said having a home appraised is different than the market value being assessed.

“An agent will give show you what they think a property is worth,” he said. “An appraiser will land you on one single number, we take into consideration what makes the home value and factors that can affect the value and begin an evaluation process.”

Kesterson said with greater demand for housing, the value of a home can increase slightly.

“With demand greater than supply the values do inch up,” he said. “You can sell for more than the appraised value if that’s what is required to make the sale because the market acts and reacts.”