excerpted from my new book "If You're Not Having Fun Selling Real Estate, You're Not Doing it Right!"
When your listing hasn't sold, what's the first thing you look at?
Nope. Not always. Not even most of the time.*
Many real estate agents claim that price cures all. And in a way, they're right. If you have a listing that shows poorly or is difficult to show or smells funny, there probably IS a price that will inspire buyers to overlook the clutter, access issues or eau du Chef Boyardee.
But is price the RIGHT answer? Again, not always. Not even most of the time.*
Why on earth not?
First, I hope that when we real estate agents price our listings, we're pretty proud of that price. If I've put a price on a property, unless the market has declined, I'm pretty sure I'm in the ballpark. And the thing is, in today's market, buyers are well aware that they can "make an offer," so a minimal price reduction--say, $229,000 to $224,000 probably isn't going to make much of an impression on the market. In order for a price reduction to be meaningful, it's going to have to take that listing into a different pricing tier, thus introducing it to a whole new set of buyers who weren't looking at it before. And, depending on the price range of the property, that might mean a price reduction of $20,000 or more.
Now, think about what we could do with that $20,000--seriously.
Second, automatically resorting to the solution of reducing the price is really not what my seller wants to hear, and in that mindset, he's likely to question my professionalism and commitment. Let's face it, a price reduction is an awfully easy solution to offer and often abused by the real estate community. We all know agents who "buy" listings at a too-high price and then, as part of their game plan, beat up the seller later for a price reduction. And this isn't a secret to the general public--a lot of sellers are aware this happens, too. So, when your first and only solution is a price reduction, I believe it can really damage your credibility, especially if you recommended or agreed to the price in the first place.
But the main reason I'm opposed to looking first at the price as the solution is because it's rarely the best solution for the seller.
The thing is, there are tons of solvable problems - some simple, some not-so - that can keep an otherwise marketable home from moving. Our job is to play detective with our non-selling listings to determine if there's a problem we and/or our seller can solve, outside of a price reduction.
Stay tuned... I'll pick this up tomorrow!
*Unless you're overpriced to begin with, of course.