Last year more than 4 million singlefamily houses were sold in the United States. This year the figure may be under 3 million. In October, the annual rate of existing home sales fell to 3.3 milliom after hitting a low for the year of 2.48 million in June and a high in September of 3. 38 million.
"There is little hope for resale activity to get back on the recovery track until early 1981," asserts Dr. Jack Carlson, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors.
Indeed, because of sharply higher interest rates, as well as the asking prices of the houses themselves, it's getting harder and harder to sell a house these days.
In other words, fewer and fewer buyers quality.
That's where Irving Price comes into the picture. Head of a multinational real- estate consulting and brokerage firm based in upstate New York, Mr. Price tells potential sellers how to get the most money for their house; but more important perhaps, how to find a buyer when times are bad.
Among his suggestions are more than 100 low-cost improvements, both inside and out, that can help the buyer make up his mind to buy.
Several years ago he authored the book, "How to Buy Country Property," a highly acclaimed treatise directed specially to the rural homeowner. The new book is not limited to the detached-house buyer alone, but the high-rise co-op or condo buyer, or the owner of a million-dollar estate.
Well, suppose you think your house is a white elephant and won't sell? A 16 -room, 1880-era Victorian, perhaps?
"Never have I come across a home that, with a little thought and imagination, couldn't be made saleable," he writes.
"I know that no matter what the national or international picture is, in good times or bad, you still can sell your home -- and, more than likely, get Top Dollar for it," Mr. Price writes on the first page of the book.
Prove it, the harried house seller might reply. And this is what he tries to do in the 187-page book.
On the very last page he concludes: "In parting I would only like to say, if you have any question about the material covered within this book, or if you wish to share a specific problem, please write me, c/o Times Books, Three Park Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10019."
With that invitation in hand, if the book doesn't do its job, let the author hear about it.