A blog from my cohort Coral in Arlington, Virginia but no less relevant here in Sioux Falls! I dread the question that I get practically every weekend. Why hasn't this property sold?! Price it right from the begining and no one will ask this question of your property. People are being very careful to not overpay in today's economy so they will sit there and wait for the price of your property to drop and then they will offer low because it is marketworn. Resist the urge to overprice!
These are words I've heard many buyers say to me recently upon considering purchasing a house that's been on the market for 4-6 months. Here in Arlington, Virginia, the real estate market is pretty good. Single family homes do not typically take that long to sell unless they fall into these categories:
1) They have an incurable defect. Like backing to or facing a highway or busy street, only one bath and no room to add another, odd floor plan that doesn't suit local preferances. These things make homes sit on the market a long time and, yes they negatively affect the value. The only tool you can use against this is price reductions.
2)They show poorly. There is no way to estimate how much money not properly presenting your house will cost you. Arlngton, Virgina home buyers expect clean, tidy, staged homes, that smell good and are not difficult to get in to see. If it takes 3 attempts to show, that is going to cost you. If they see a mess, or even a vacant home, it can cost you.
3) They were priced too high in the beginning. And this is where the opening question comes in. Many sellers think "well I'll price a bit high and test the market and I can always reduce later." Yes, you can, technically, do that. But you will probably cost yourself 6 plus months of inconvenience with having a listed home, 6 months of mortgage payments and 20% less or possibly more than if you'd just priced it right in the beginning. When buyers see price reductions, they see an unrealistic seller. They see greed and they don't feel charitable.
You see buyers right now are nervous, rightly so. Everywhere you turn, people are talking about the bad housing market and how it's draining the economic recovery. They do not want to over pay. So when your house sits for months, buyers think, and say things like
"Why has no one else bought it yet?"
"Will I struggle to sell this one day too?"
"Hundreds of people have probably seen and rejected this house...why?"
And those questions, decrease the value drastically in their minds. And as a Realtor represening Arlington, Virginia home buyers, I am not going to push them to pay too much for a house. Those questions are in my mind too. I've had this same conversation with my sellers, and it convinces them to price right from the beginning or take a perceived "low" offer very seriously. Sellers need to see the writing on the wall with high days on market, reduce the price or work with low offers to get it SOLD.
Coral Gundlach, CRS
Realtor serving Arlington, Fairfax and Loudoun Counties in Virginia
Thinking of buying or selling a house in Arlington, Virginia or surrounding communities? There is no general "good time to buy or sell," it's a very personal decision. Contact me for a confidential consultation based on your needs. I am always happy to help people decide if now is the right time for you to move.