I have had home listings sell very quickly this year in large buildings in the neighborhoods South Loop and West Loop. Generally, these neighborhoods are known for long market times... 180 days plus. The sales prices reflected price gains for the buildings.
On the other hand, I have had home listings that have taken longer... in smaller buildings in neighborhods that have shorter market times in general. Ravenswood and Bucktown to name a couple.
My quicker sales for quality sales prices had a few things in common.
1. The owners took all my advice on prepping the unit for market. This included painting when I have asked, making the needed repairs I have requested (re-caulk baths, re-grout floors) and displaying furninshings in the manner I requested (if the owner did not move out yet). In these cases the homes felt new and stood out from other listings in the area. The average preparation for condos has been about $2,000 and I run the project.
2. Price. Each owner took my advice on where to price the unit. Most owners want a higher price than I suggest... feeling that their home should get it and people will make offers no matter your price. What they are really afraid of is leaving money on the table or having no room for negotiation.
This is not the case in this market. One must create value and urgency... steps one and two combined will accomplish this goal. If you are priced correctly, leaving emotion out of it, the home will sell close to asking price. No need then for much negotiation on price.
3. Access for showings. This comes in play with today's busy buyer. When a home buyer NEEDS to buy, they will buy in that moment of realization. Job transfer, lease is coming up, school will start, wedding is coming up, or they have one week to look between major work assignments or travel. When it is decison time, we need to have access to show.
I've talked about my own NEED to BUY NOW. I just received a contract on our condo, my wife was six months pregnant and we needed to be in a new bigger place and settled before the baby came. I saw something that struck a chord and bought it two days after I had my sale under contract.
This process is the most difficult in my client-Realtor relationship. If the Realtor is good, he/she will insist on these steps. It will be contentious at times as the property owner will doubt the work needs to be done or think the price is too low. No one knows the property like the owner, but know one knows how the property will sell than someone who represents over 20 buyers a year... and knows why they buy.