The lead article in yesterday's New York Times Real Estate section confirmed yet again what real estate practitioners know, but are often unable to convey persuasively to others. It gave examples of sellers who priced their units aggressively in today's market, and kept lowering the prices without success. It contrasted that with sellers who priced so as to seem to be a "good deal", and told about the bidding wars that have been taking place in such cases.
Underlying this phenomenon is a change in the marketplace from the past: Now buyers, who get more information through the Internet and by looking at more places before buying, are more educated about prices than they used to be. They can tell when something is priced to sell, and they know that they have to move quickly. They also know that, often, there will be multiple offers; therefore, if they want to get the property, they may have to bid over the asking price.
This has happened to us so many times that we can all attest to its effectiveness. We cannot, however, seem to convince sellers that they will actually receive higher offers by pricing the property lower. It's not unlike the psychology of pricing store items at sale prices, to stimulate demand and encourage prompt purchases. Of course, the seller can always reject an offer, if it does not meet his or her specifications. The point is to get offers, particularly to get enough offers to assure that fair market value is established.
Separating oneself from the pack is key in this market. Unfortunately for our business, pricing aggressively does that!