Real Estate Perspectives
October 07, 2017 | Suzanne Powers

Is Wauwatosa a Fire Sale?

Is listing your home below the local market value a good selling strategy in a strong market? Probably not for sellers so Why is Wauwatosa consistently selling their residential listings below market value?
Is Wauwatosa a Fire Sale?

Is Wauwatosa a Fire Sale?

Powers Realty Group is posing the question...What is going on with Wauwatosa Home Prices?

Powers Realty Group has now been established in the Village of Wauwatosa for one year. As a result of multiple market analysis conducted by Powers Realty Group, we believe something unusual is happening with Wauwatosa Home prices. During this time we have listed or sold 72 Wauwatosa Homes. The market analysis are consistent in their inconsistency, so we thought we would share our findings with the public; something you will never get from Zillow.  They want to sell houses and Powers wants customers for life.

The data from MLS (Multiple Listing Service) is curious for Wauwatosa, and it is inconsistent with the other local communities. After gathering a year's data, we found that Wauwatosa properties may be undervalued when listed. At the very least, home pricing is inconsistent throughout the community and appears to be leading to consumer confusion about home values.

Last Friday, I conducted a market analysis for a Wauwatosa home owner in one of Wauwatosa’s most popular neighborhoods.  As I performed the Broker Market Analysis, I became frustrated and dumbfounded at what I was seeing. I’ve decided to share the results with my customers, prospective customers, home buyers and fellow agents in an effort to fix this for the Home Sellers (and Buyers) of Wauwatosa.

My analysis, using data for the last year, showed active listings for this neighborhood are being listed at $165 a square foot and the sold prices are selling at $187 a square foot. Let that sink in for a moment.  If the market is at an average $187 a square foot, why are homeowners listing their homes at $165 a square foot?  We do not see this in Whitefish Bay or Shorewood.  The homes are selling on average at 98% sale to list price ratio in the North Shore communities which is what we would consider a normal trend in two equally hot communities. When I see houses selling at 110% sale to list price ratio, something is wrong. I was a broker in the hottest real estate market ever in 2007, and we did NOT experience valuations like this. So, what is happening? It is an important question Wauwatosa homeowners need to consider, and it’s one we wanted to bring forward.

Is listing a home this low a selling strategy?  Sure, it is.  Are homeowners getting multiple offers? Yes, of course, they are.  Based on four of the comparable sales I used in my evaluation, the average days on market was 10 and every comparable sale sold at asking price or over asking.  Those are great statistics for the real estate agent, but what about the homeowner?  Your property is one of the biggest assets you have.  If you list your home at $289,900 and the market says it could be worth as much as $329,900, why would you list your home at such a low price?  The answer: for multiple offers.  Okay, but what does that achieve for you?  It gets you multiple offers but only at a slightly higher price.  In this example, likely $300,000.  The home still never reached its true market value.  In addition, in a highly competitive situation where a Home Owner is getting many multiple offers, Home Buyers are giving up many of their rights such as inspection contingencies which isn’t good for anyone.

So, Wauwatosa Homeowners...why are you not listing your homes at the market value?  My guess is you don't know what the value of your home is and all this inconsistency in listing prices is confusing to you and real estate professionals.

We are hoping bringing this issue to light will help Wauwatosa Home Sellers and also Buyers.  And, we are hoping, as we begin our second year in Tosa, we can change the outcomes for the Village we love so much.  I am an advocate for right-pricing in Wauwatosa.  One home at a time.  Educate yourself on pricing and interview several agents before deciding on your listing agent.  Focus on your net proceeds instead of agent commission rates.  Ask your agent for a Net Estimated Net Proceeds Worksheet during the interview process so you can objectively evaluate each agent's value position for your home sale. That is the best way to make the best decision about the largest, or one of the largest, financial transactions of your life.


Experience a seamless home selling and buying process with Powers Realty, Milwaukee’s trusted local experts for over 2 decades. Our tailored approach ensures optimal results. Contact me today to discuss your home needs.

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