Bob and Nancy had their home for sale now for about 4 months and they had hoped to have it listed and sold by the time school started. As the days turned into months, suddenly the streets were filled with children carrying colorful backpacks, walking, jogging along side their parents.
As Nancy sat and watched the crossing guards with their big red lollipop signs crossing bundles of kids from one corner to the other, she found herself discouraged that the time to sell had passed.
“Mario”, Nancy called me with an impatient tone in her voice “I think we’re going to take the house off the market and wait until next Spring”
I paused, as every year like a clock, the myth of spring/summer home sales blossoms throughout the city, and with the first drop in temperature and right as the Halloween signs are being posted in the local store windows, some sellers think they have lost their opportunity to sell and prepare to hibernate until next March.
“Nancy, over the past 3 years home sales have reduced in the fall and winter season, but have continued to close. We just made a price reduction that finally placed us in the right market value, which wasn’t helping our previous situation, but your property is highly marketable to a broad audience, one not impacted by families with children. It’s a 2 bedroom 2 bath condominium in an elevator building. Everyone from first time home buyers to seniors may find your home valuable, but if…”
Nancy interrupted…”Mario, let me put Bob on the phone…”
“Yes Mr. Kowalski, how are you…”
“Okay. I think we are concerned that if we are selling in the fall and winter, we will become a Fire Sale, and well, we don’t want that. The proceeds from this home are important to us, and we need everything we can get. Marty down the hall had his place for sale for a while, and he just came off the market…I’m wondering if we should do the same…”
“Mr. Kowalski, I would like to propose a step by step process of why you should remain on the market, but in order for you to understand my perspective, it is important that we place ourselves in the “buyers” shoes for a minute. If I was a home buyer looking for my first home or my last home, I am looking at many homes. I begin to understand what my money can buy me by seeing homes of similar price, size and location. Here is why we didn’t sell before:
- Our initial list price was $15,000 higher than the next comparable property on the market, and $23,000 higher than all that Closed in the past 6 months. We were priced too high.
- When we made the initial $5,000 reduction, and even the next $7,000 price reduction we were still trailing behind all the other available homes that made the same price reductions too. We were always the most expensive.
- Additionally, when we were first listed I had made some recommendations about painting over the blue walls, and replacing the carpet which your dog had torn. That didn’t help our presentation.
- By the time we made these adjustments and physical changes, your market time continued to accumulate and today we are at almost 134 days.
- Today, however, we have a nice neutral home, with fresh paint, new carpet and it’s priced only $9,000 over the last Closed comparable. On top of that, your neighbor just took his home off the market which means there are fewer homes to choose from, putting you right at the top of available, attractive and properly valued properties.
Mr. Kowalski, I think this is the opportunity we have been awaiting, and although I wish we had made some of the changes earlier, this is an opportunity to be most visible to your next buyer.”
Bob was silent. He felt regret that he didn’t make the changes sooner…”it’s hard to transform our home of 12 years into a marketable product…in our minds it was fine, but I guess these buyers don’t see it that way. To them it’s new, without the memories.” Bob said.
After a few more minutes of discussion, Nancy came back on and we agreed that we should continue to market the home. After 12 days they had a second showing from an older woman who had just sold her home in Park Ridge, and wanted to get into a condo. The negotiations went well, and we are looking to close later this month…its amazing how much emotion, myth and strategy goes into a home sale.
By the way, Nancy and Bob really like their new buyer. They met again during the home inspection and talked for a few hours. It makes them feel better that they have a connection with her, and their memories will transfer to good hands.
I remember going home that evening and thinking to myself, was it luck? was it strategy? I know it was strategy, timing and all the important puzzle pieces were in place at the right time, but….lucky or not, I’m so glad.