What makes a home sell in the curent Phoenix real estate climate? Marketing, preparation -- and especially price

I looked at houses with a long-time client last week. We shopped ten houses, of which two were actually in turn-key condition. Two others were fix-ups in every way but price. Three of the homes had front-yard landscaping so overgrown they were virtually inaccessible. And the prices were all over the map.

The resale market is not as dire as it is portrayed to be, but it's not great, either. There are a lot more homes for sale than there are qualified buyers. For a home to sell in this market, it has to be priced right, perfectly prepared and properly presented to the marketplace. Miss on any one of those factors -- especially price -- and the buyers will take the home up the street instead.

Consider the Terracina floorplan at Ashton Ranch in Surprise. I've sold several these, and I really like them. They're bright and spacious, with wide-open sightlines. Without pools, there are seven of these available right now. Two are priced at $199,000, then they shoot up all the way to $231,900.

The two lower priced homes will probably sell first, even if the others have better landscaping and better interior amenities. Only one of these models sold in June, for $200,000.

A few miles east, at the Sundial subdivision in El Mirage, there are 25 units of the 1,238sf Zocalo floorplan available. Prices run from $166,900 to $213,900, a huge spread.

Three of these homes sold in June, and it would be reasonable to argue that the market value of this model is $185,000. The problem with that is that ten of the 25 listings are offered below that price -- and they're still not selling.

In any subdivision, I would have to look at the listings house-by-house to tell you which ones will sell soonest, and for how much. But it's a certainty that if a home is not marketed properly, is not cleaned and repaired to show-room condition, and, especially, is not priced aggressively to the current market, it will not sell.

Greg Swann is the designated broker for BloodhoundRealty.com, a full-service Metropolitan Phoenix real estate brokerage. This article originally appeared in the West Valley regional sections of the Arizona Republic.