The Six Stages of Grief, or Selling a House in this Market

Real Estate Broker/Owner with New Orleans Property Lady, LLC

I have gone on several listing appointments in the last few days.  I am beginning to see a pattern of disbelief on the seller's faces. A look of yes, I have been reading all the news reports, I have been watching on TV, yes I am informed and I know about the sub-prime, but does that mean me?  Isn't that about everyone else?  The stages of grief in selling a home seem to be:

1.  Information gathering.  This is the first step.  This is when we are called in for a CMA.  However in this current market if you use sales from six months ago, that went to contract eight months ago that doesn't really apply.  Prices have softened since then.  So, market reports, absorption rates, charts, graphs, newspaper articles and links about projections and a long discussion leads us to the second stage.

2. Denial.  This is what you do even though it is all right their.  Statistics and facts not opinion.  So now the question is what is special about my house?  how can I drive the price up?  I am smarter than all the other sellers out there so I will figure this out where no one else could.  Is my school better, is transportation better, there must be something about my house that means all of the above doesn't apply to me.  This leads to:

3.  Blame.  You are wrong and I will continue to talk to agents, and anyone else I can find to tell me what I want to hear.  I know there are people out there who will make this alright.  Which leads to:

4.  Hiring the Agent Who Tells Me What I Want To Hear.  See I told you.  I found someone who agrees with me.  Who sees how special my house is and who knows the value.  They will list it at the price I want. So there.  Which leads to:

5.  Frustration.  A lot of wasted down.  Placing the house on the market at too high a price and no one wants to show it.  My agent doesn't know what to say.  They should have told me the truth at the beginning.  So I sit and know I am furstrated.  I go to my agents office and speak to the broker.  Where are you advertising the house, why am I not getting traffic, why, why, why.  You want me to lower my price?  But you said.....Which leads to:

6.  Acceptance.  Well I guess all those statistics, absorption rates, market reports, price reductions and all that stuff you showed was correct.  I have lost six months, prices have softened further and I haven't sold my house. If only I had listened.  Boo Hoo.



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New Orleans Property Lady, LLC

Broker/Owner and REALTOR (r) 

New Orleans, LA 70125

504-908-2268 (C)            

 Licensed in the State of Louisiana, USA

New Orleans Property Lady 


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Copyright 2012, Miriam Bernstein, All Rights Reserved


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Shannon Jones
The Shannon Jones Team - Long Beach, CA
Long Beach CA Real Estate
So true, so true... Which is why in this market, it's much better to be the second or third listing agent!
Feb 08, 2008 05:07 AM #1
Dennis Kelley
Keller Williams Western Realty - Ferndale, WA
WA Realtor
Those six stages just go to show why as Realtors we need to be honest with our clients about the price of their home.  We don't set the price, only the market can set the price, so we better get it right the first time.  Or you could set it high making your client feel like they were right, Then deal with their anger later when you are chasing the market price down the slope costing your clients thousands of dollars.  Good Post!! 
Feb 08, 2008 05:08 AM #2
Bryant Tutas
Tutas Towne Realty, Inc and Garden Views Realty, LLC - Winter Garden, FL
Selling Florida one home at a time
Miriam, Your 6 stages are the reasons I LOVE working the expired listings market. Sellers tend to be very reasonable after being on the market for 6 months or more before I get to them. It makes my job a lot easier.  
Feb 08, 2008 05:11 AM #3
Miriam Bernstein, CRS
New Orleans Property Lady, LLC - New Orleans, LA
New Orleans and Surrounding Suburbs Real Estate

Bryant - you are right.

Dennis - yes but in this market there are agents who "just want the listing"

Shannon - last in is best

Feb 08, 2008 05:16 AM #4
Rosario Lewis
DDR Realty - Newburgh, NY
GRI, SRES - DDR Realty - Orange County, NY
I really enjoy the rare homeowners who in their innocent of the real estate market UNDER ESTIMATES their home's value. When they hear an accurate price they are truly grateful.
Feb 08, 2008 05:18 AM #5
Laurie Mindnich
Centennial, CO
Miriam, I laughed out loud at this one- thanks!  It's a jungle out there.
Feb 09, 2008 09:03 AM #6
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Miriam Bernstein, CRS

New Orleans and Surrounding Suburbs Real Estate
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