"That was your decision, remember? You made that decision on XXXX." I had to say that to a seller this past week. I took a lot of listings in August. Of those listings, about 30% of the sellers listened to my advice, the data I provided and followed a solid marketing plan. The other 70% had their own opinions, received guidance from friends or just knew more than the pros.
Of the listings taken, about 30% went under contract in less than a week. One went under contract in the first hour of being an active listing. Can you guess which group went under contract and which one didn't? The 70% group still have not had a contract offer.
One of the group of 10 has finally accepted that he didn't know everything. I'm making changes to the listing now. Sadly, he missed that magic 14 day listing window. In my market, the best offer with the best price, conditions and contingencies comes in the beginning of the listing.
The longer the listing stays on the market, it becomes more likely that offers will be lower based on days on the market. Sellers can ignore lower offers and hope for better offers later, but they rarely come. If offers do come, they are typically below the first offers. If there were no early offers, the late offers will not match the list price. That's the norm in my market.
What can you do about it? I don't want to be a pessimist, but you can only do your very best in the beginning and deliver the very best data you can to show your seller the snapshot of the market at the time of list. You can explain to your seller that a home is only worth what a buyer is willing to pay, and if it sits on the market for long time, it's a good indicator that buyers aren't accepting the list price. It may become stigmatized if it sits too long.
I always ask my sellers, "How long are you willing to let your home stay on the market? If it can linger, you can go with your price. If you need to sell now, you should go with the price the market is telling you it will sell at." That might sound a little direct, but I'm not in the business to planting signs like flowers around my market. I'm in the business to sell homes.
If my sellers say they need to sell now and aren't willing to listen to the market, I try to negotiate a time-line for price changes. Price changes simply tell the world that it was overpriced from the beginning.
Most of my listings that sell immediately sell at full price. That's a pretty good indicator that we hit the market sweet spot. They will appraise well and they will be gobbled up by an anxious buyer who sees a great deal. Those that are listed too high will receive lower offers with a lot of conditions because the buyer knows it's over-priced and they are searching for conditions that favor them.
Make sure you keep good records of your conversations with your sellers and buyers. When you need to go back and say, "This is what you said on XXXXX," you want to make sure they don't flippantly talk about your inability to sell their home based upon your decisions. It needs to come back to their choices. We're employees. We don't have the authority to make changes, we can only offer the best service possible and hope our clients listen.