Selling a home in today's market is difficult, but it is not impossible if you fully understand the reality of what you are up against!

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Richard Weisser Realty

Southern Mansion by Richard WeisserI have been doing a lot of listing presentations lately. Most of these would-be sellers are homeowners that are not in arrears on their mortgage payments, and that own houses that few first-time homebuyers can afford. They are really caught in the pinch.

As I start my presentation, I tell the potential sellers that there are certain inescapable realities with which one must come to terms if they are going to be successful in the quest for a consummated sale.

Once these market driven tenets are understood, the process of selling a non-distressed property can be accelerated.

Here are some of those realities:

  1. All properties are competing with foreclosures, bank-owned and short sale properties. And whether or not that affects the ‘appraisal" of a property, it always diminishes the pool of an already limited number of buyers. There is a glut of homes for sale and a relatively few qualified purchasers that are ready and able to buy.
  2. There are few or no incentives available for "move-up" buyers to purchase larger or more expensive homes. Since most of the credits and assistance programs are geared towards first time buyers, with little or no money for down-payment, price is the key factor when determining affordability. The monthly mortgage payment is the determining factor for most of the purchasers that are buying today.
  3. Purchasers with no ready cash can only purchase houses that qualify for unique federally backed funding. While this is an excellent method of liquidating foreclosed properties, it perpetuates the problem by creating an unfair competitive advantage that further erodes the conventional market.
  4. No qualified purchaser with ready cash and good credit wants to purchase an expensive property in an unstable market. Most want to "hedge their bets" by purchasing below market price to offset the possibility of future price declines.
  5. And finally, there is an all-consuming overriding desire on behalf of some purchasers to "steal" a house. Although there are plenty of them looking, few will ever purchase a home. As they make one lowball offer after another, the interest rates have inched ever higher and higher, making even less likely that these bargain hunters will ever close a deal.

River House at dusk by Richard WeisserTo offset these realities, a seller must make their "product" as attractive as possible, both in terms of price and appeal. Pricing the property correctly from the get-go is a must, and should include as many purchasing incentives as possible.

  1. Be prepared to pay closing costs, provide a home warranty, prepay homeowner association fees and any other legal obligation in an effort to diminish the actual cash outlay from a purchaser.
  2. Keep the house in pristine condition, inside and out. This is the one area where the conventional home seller can excel over a distressed property. A house that is move-in ready and correctly presented can really make a difference.
  3. Keep an open mind towards all offers. Expect the lowball offer, and attempt to make it work without contempt or resentment. Every purchaser wants to feel like they "tried" to get their best deal.
  4. And most importantly, make the home available to should on a moments notice. The houses that are the easiest to show get shown the most. It sounds obvious, but if an agent is sitting outside with a buyer, make certain that they can see the house right then. If a seller asks for an appointment, the chance of getting the house shown is probably diminished by 75%!

If these realities are recognized and addressed, there is a good chance that the property will sell. And that's good for sellers and buyers alike!

All content, including text, original art, photographs and images, is the exclusive property of Coweta Fayette Real Estate, Inc., and may not be used without the expressed written permission of Coweta Fayette Real Estate of ERA United Realty Newnan Georgia. All information is believed to be accurate but is not warranted, Copyright 2003-2009. Richard Weisser 770-827-6225.
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Richard Iarossi
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Crofton, MD
Crofton MD Real Estate, Annapolis MD Real Estate


Swap out Crofton for Newnan, and the comments are the same. Heck, swap out Newnan for just about anywhere and the industry is dealing with the same things.

Thanks, I'm going to update my listing presentation.


Jun 30, 2009 11:49 PM #1
Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel

Great post. As homes are competing with foreclosures sellers should price accordingly or wait to sell.

Jun 30, 2009 11:50 PM #2
Richard Weisser
Richard Weisser Realty - Newnan, GA
Richard Weisser Retired Real Estate Professional


This is my lead in. I don't sugar coat anything, because if they don't understand these things the house will not sell. THX.


I suggest to MANY that waiting is the best option! Thanks for the comment.

Jun 30, 2009 11:56 PM #3
Andrea Swiedler
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties - New Milford, CT
Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT

Richard, so true, and as the "other" Richard pointed out, swap the name for anywhere else, it is still true. We are not hit as hard as you are, however I am worried that there are many on the way, we started after you, we will see what you see. As a result, my advice to those who must sell (other than short sale) get it ready, price it correctly (according to what the market tells you) and make it available.

Very good post! And I love the photos. The first is so "southern", brings back memories.

Jun 30, 2009 11:56 PM #4
Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services

This is a great guide for both listing agents and for sellers.  I find that many buyers have "heard" stories from their colleagues who brag about "stealing" a home.  However, when I lead them through some questions about the condition of the home and the amount of repairs rehab, they soon realize most of these homes were NOT a "steal."  I even show them a couple of these types of homes to make my point.  On the other hand, the higher priced homes in New Hampshire come with very high property tax (since we don't have a sales tax or an income tax).. along with high property transfer fees.  These taxes prohibit a lot of buyer from being able to afford a house even though the price alone is better than several years ago.

Jun 30, 2009 11:57 PM #5
Marilyn Harrell
ReMax Riverhaven - Beaverton, MI
Wixom Lake - Beaverton MI

Great information. It is hard for the sellers to compete with the bank foreclosures in PRICE - so for the seller to "Stage their home and keep it pristine condition" is an advantage they should strive for - there are buyers who do not want the WORK that comes with the BARGAIN PRICED - ABANDONED and NEGLECTED bank foreclosure (some are in really good shape, but most are NOT)! And I agree, most of those who are shopping for the steal don't buy (from my experience) anything.

Jul 01, 2009 12:20 AM #6
Dorie Dillard
Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.346.1799 - Austin, TX
Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate


Great points and you are right to to "tell them like it is". A realty check is what the seller really wants because they already its going to be a tough road. They are looking for someone to lead them through the maze with expertise! Looks like you are the man!! Good message..thank you.

Jul 01, 2009 12:31 AM #7
Richard Weisser
Richard Weisser Realty - Newnan, GA
Richard Weisser Retired Real Estate Professional


We were hit early and hard, and I think that now we have fully adapted so we have an edge ... our listings are moving now! Thanks, as always for the comment!


Our low priced homes are selling for more than list price right now, as competition is fierce for homes with payments under a thousand dollars. Thanks for jumping into the fray!



You stated that so perfectly that I can't elaborate on it! Very good comment, thanks!

Jul 01, 2009 12:38 AM #8
Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Richard, this is a good lesson to be learned by listing agents and home sellers. It's a tough market and home sellers need to know the facts.

Jul 01, 2009 12:49 AM #9
William Feela
Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No.

Richard...I find in my market it is LIKE new or better, or Run down with great future potential.

Jul 01, 2009 01:04 AM #10
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Richard, this is certainly great advice.  I think that easy access to the property is sometimes as important as price.

Jul 01, 2009 01:05 AM #11
Claude Cross
Homes By Cross, Inc. - Charlotte, NC
Charlotte NC Homes For Sale

Richard - Very concise approach to coaching Sellers in the present market. The lure by buyers to "steal" a house with a lowball offer is quite prevelant. Your advise for sellers to take it in stride is spot on. Great post

Jul 01, 2009 01:20 AM #12
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

Great list and I really LOVE # 4.  In this market WHO would make you have to have a 24 hour appointment to show their home.  Not a very motivated seller I say.  A missed showing could just be a missed sale.

Jul 01, 2009 01:28 AM #13
Jim Valentine
RE/MAX Realty Affiliates - Gardnerville, NV

Richard,  Very good summary of this market.  Buyers and Sellers must be aware of everything on your list as they proceed to buy and sell.  It will help them get a more three dimensional perspective of their situation that will help them make "real" decisions.  I agree with your comment on those looking to steal a home.  They may be making offers, but few are going together.  They usually miss out on everything, and, more importantly, they never get the home they really want.  Life is too short to not live in a home you really really like.  Great post!

Jul 01, 2009 01:36 AM #14
JL Boney, III
Coldwell Banker - Columbia, SC
Columbia, SC Real Estate

The sellers that realize they have to make effort to sell their home, usually manage to do so. There are however a lot of sellers out there that refuse to get it.

Jul 01, 2009 02:29 AM #15
Pacita Dimacali
Alain Pinel - Oakland, CA
Alameda/Contra Costa Counties CA


We all encounter difficult and unrealistic sellers from time to time. Some sellers are still deluded into thinking they'll get multiple offer at, or above their list price. Well yes, they will, if the list prices are below market value.

I talked to a listing agent who was fired from her listing. She said the seller yelled and screamed at her for even suggesting that the offer I brought from my buyers was a good one. The property is re-listed with another agency --- wonder how long that one will last before the seller yells and screams again.

Jul 01, 2009 07:48 AM #16
Cristal Drake
Prudential California Realty - Fullerton, CA
Realtor - Fullerton Real Estate

As always Richard, well said! Your points about no incentive for move up buyers is key. Here are the ones that did not buy more than they could afford, have equity that would like a larger home so that a lucky first time buyer could buy theirs but where is their incentive? 

Jul 01, 2009 01:47 PM #17
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