Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Are You Losing Value?

Recent reports indicate that residential real estate values in our region are declining at around 10-12% per year. That means that a $400,000 home is worth $4000 less every month. Therein lies the real danger of overpricing.

Since we know from experience that the first two weeks of a new listing are the most important from a marketing point of view (since many buyers--and agents--only check for new listings when they search), it's important to begin that period at the correct price. "Testing the market" at a higher amount for a "little while" can lead to months of delay in selling the property, since it doesn't appear as new to those looking to buy, even when it eventually reaches the best price point. Once you factor in the economics of a market that's declining, you can see the true downside of waiting longer for a house to sell. It isn't just the carrying costs, or putting one's life on hold, it's dollars and cents--1% per month, as a matter of fact. And that doesn't even take into account the number of sellers who turn down the first offer (almost always the most motivated offer, and the highest), because they somehow forget that they are "testing the market", and start to think of the higher price as the dollar amount they expect to receive. If we had a dollar for every time a seller tells us later that they regret not taking the first offer, we might not even be taking listings that are too high!