Yesterday there was a 12 home Realtor lunch tour on the south side of Missoula. All of the houses were larger/newer homes in newer subdivisions, priced between $350,000 - $600,000. For those of you unfamiliar with our market, that's probably what you'd consider the "top end" right now, there's higher priced stuff, but these are mostly large homes with 4+ bedrooms, newer, big lots as high as 2 acres, etc.
After completing the tour it was sobering what is going on in our "top end" market, the general disconnect between agents and sellers, and how people still don't realize the changing national market. A few observations:
- Not a single house was priced within 10% of it's market value.
- Of the 4 most expensive homes only 1 had a yard, the rest had an acre of weeds or dried out dirt/clay. I figured some were foreclosures, none were, and in two cases the agents pretended to be shocked that I'd dare ask such a question.
- Only a few agents had the confidence that they were going to get a price reduction or work done on the house to improve it's appearance.
While the lower price range of our market is flying by, the top end crawls at a much slower pace, and agents are failing to help their sellers recognize that. In one house that was probably $100,000 over-priced the agent said she wasn't going to pass our feedback along b/c she was afraid of what her clients reaction would be! In another house that might've been $150,000 too high priced, the agent said that her clients would, "probably go that low." Well then, REDUCE IT! I don't usually search $150,000 over what my clients are approved for, and I doubt many other buyer's agents do so as well.
Someone help me, when did we go from being the professionals in our market that helped our seller clients get their house sold, to someone who will just appease their seller clients and not tell them what they need to hear? Come on people, if your sellers need to sell, and are willing to be priced within their actual fair market range, get it done. How on earth are you going to sell a house that's $100,000 over priced (at least), ugh.
The best advice I could give any seller's agent; if the seller wants to horribly over price the house, or bases their opinion on an old appraisal compared to your market advice, walk away - don't take the listing. Badly over-priced listings are probably the 2nd or 3rd biggest time wasters in this business (behind working with extreme low-ball bargain hunters, and selling short-sale houses).