A would-be home seller on the decision to get off the market
Would-be buyers frustrated about asking prices comment here with semi-regularity. But I hear from frustrated would-be sellers, too, especially those who have dropped their price without getting any interest.
One reader from Baltimore's Mount Washington neighborhood emailed this week to share her experience:
Last December, my husband and I fell in love with a two-bedroom condo in an up-and-coming city neighborhood that put us within walking distance of our commutes (Penn Station for one of us, a nearby office building for the other). After 20 years of homeownership, and with our only child in college, we were primed and ready to downsize downtown. We hired a reputable local Realtor and put our home on the market in March, 2011.
Flash forward to this August. Countless brokers' open houses and house showings later, we've taken our house off the market and asked for a refund on our condo deposit.
What happened? The home shows very well; that's not the issue. Our street has some rough edges--but it's in one of the most coveted neighborhoods in all of Baltimore, with a great local school and amenities. So that's not the issue. We lowered the asking price twice. So pricing wasn't the hold-up. I placed extra listings on a couple of key websites and prepared extra flyers for visitors, highlighting the great school. Yet we didn't get a nibble; not one.
The culprit is timing. A quick survey on Zillow shows an astonishing glut of area homes in our price range languishing for half a year or more, unwanted. Despite historic low mortgage rates, prospective buyers on the modest end of the market--where we're priced--just aren't taking the bait. Looking back, there's nothing we could have done differently, short of giving the house away. Lesson learned. We live to fight another day.
I hear frequently from real estate agents that just about any home will sell if the price is right. In volatile times, though, it's not always easy to figure out what that price is. And a homeowner might not be willing to accept that amount -- whatever it may be -- if he or she has reason to believe the value should be higher and will get there in the near term (or if, as frequently happens, he or she is underwater).
This all gets back to the idea of "pent-up supply," homeowners who sure would like to sell but aren't on the market.
If you haven't had enough of housing yet today, check out the story about July home sale statistics and how the craziness of the last week has seeped into the local market.