During the pandemic, this is what home sellers were experiencing:
Based on recent calls, emails, and text messages from would-be home sellers, things have changed a bit.
We list quite a few properties each week across Ohio, so when the market fluctuates, which it always does, we get an instant avalanche of feedback from sellers. This week was no different.
Here’s a quote:
“Something must be wrong. Our house has been for sale since yesterday afternoon, and we don’t have any offers.” (This was 9 am, by the way.)
Here’s an actual exchange:
Seller: “What should we do if we get a full-price offer?”
Me: “A cartwheel.”
Seller: “Yeah, but we are expecting 10-20% above list price.”
So the market is not what it was during the pandemic. Well, if you were thinking that somehow this perfect storm for real estate would last forever, then think again. That’s just not reality. But it’s also not the end of the world.
No matter what the market is doing, just remember that it won’t always be like this. How do I know? Because it will never always be like this–if you know what I mean.
One of my favorite phrases is that the market never lies–not ever. But something else the market never does is stand still. However, the forces that cause the market to shift never change–not ever. I’m just a humble Realtor, not an economist, so please excuse the simplicity of my perspective. In my world, there are three things that drive the housing market from hot to cold to hot. They are supply, demand, and perception.
- Supply refers to the number of other sellers trying to sell a home.
- Demand, as you probably guessed, refers to the number of buyers currently looking to buy a home.
- Perception is the fear level or confidence level each group is experiencing.
Take the Covid market, for example. The number of homes for sale was historically low, so sellers had less competition. Buyers were out in mobs trying to buy the few homes they could find and afford. Classic seller’s market. Low supply, high demand, seller confidence high, buyer fear exploding. Prices surging, days on market plummeting. Dogs and cats living together. Mass hysteria. For buyers–a nightmare. For sellers–three years of Christmas.
So fast forward to 2023. As expected, the market shifted. Did I mention that the market never stands still? OK…good…just making sure. Does this mean the home-selling party is over? No, because it’s never over. Regardless of what the market is doing, every day is a good day to sell a house. While supply and demand are ever-changing, they never completely disappear.
Babies are born, and people die. Couples get married and divorce. People change jobs or need bigger homes or smaller homes. Even during the late ’70s, when interest rates were pushing 20%, buyers were still buying, and sellers were still selling.
So what’s my point? Thanks for asking. My point is that factors determining the success (or failure) of your home sale fall into two categories. Things you can’t control (everything above) and things you can control: prep, marketing, and price.
- Prep is making sure you’ve done all you can do to beautify your property before you sell it. Good prep means more buyers willing to make offers, and more offers mean more money.
- Marketing is making sure your listing is 100% exposed to the current buyer pool. That’s easy. Put a sign in the yard and get your property into the MLS with some decent photos. Incidentally, our little family firm can help you with this–but I digress.
That leaves us with price. As my dad used to say, “I don’t care if you’re selling a one-room shack by a railroad track–there’s a price that buyers will pay today.” Whether you’re willing to take that price is another matter, but the buyers are there if you want them.
Sellers…you only have two choices: wait or lower the price
Once you accept this fact, it makes the rest of the process very simple. Assuming your marketing is dialed up and you haven’t sold your house yet, you only have two choices: wait or lower the price. I wish it were more complex than that. If today’s buyers are not buying, you can wait and see what tomorrow’s buyers think, or you can lower your price to attract more of today’s buyers.
We can argue about it, but I promise you, at the end of that argument, you will see that I’m right. My sure-fire proof is this–if you put a giant sign in the yard that says, “Today only! $1.00”, you would have a buyer or three before you could warm up a Hot Pocket. You know I’m right. So now we know that somewhere between $1 and your current price is the right number for today’s buyers. You get a vote too, so if you don’t like that number, you get to wait until tomorrow and see what buyers are saying then.
Getting mad won’t help. Arguing with me won’t help. Running around like Chicken Little definitely won’t help. Eating a Hot Pocket probably won’t help, but I’m going to do it anyway. The market is always changing, but your choices are always the same. So, when you get nervous and call me up asking what you should do, don’t be shocked when I tell you to lower your price or wait. Those are your choices. Those have always been your choices. Those will always be your choices. I rest my case.
By the way, if you want my entire secret playbook on how to sell your house, check out my book, “You Can Sell It: How to Advertise, Negotiate, and Close Your Home in Today’s Real Estate Market.” Entire chapters are dedicated to each step of the process. You can find it at YCSIBook.com, in paperback, Kindle, and Audible/iTunes. It’s a comprehensive guide for anyone selling their home. As a bonus, you will also get over 50 pages of forms, checklists, templates, and scripts to help you crush it.
If you’re wondering what today’s buyers might be saying about your price, why not get a complete, up-to-date market breakdown of your property with our free Realist® Report? This 10-20 page comprehensive data bundle contains mountains of rich details like current pricing analysis, the Real AVM®, Sell score, local comps, neighborhood data, market trends, and flood plane information. Just ask us for it here, and we’ll send it.
As always, I’d love to hear from you. Was this helpful? Do you have other questions? Do you want to share your favorite Bill Murray quotes? Hit me up HERE with your thoughts and comments. I read and respond to every email…eventually. Take care,
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