Setting seller expectations in a more balanced market


Dear David,

Back in February, I spoke with my agent about listing my house for sale. Life has been busy, but we finally got around to it at the end of May. We’ve been on the market for three weeks and aren’t getting many showings.  Our agent wants to reduce the price below what we originally discussed, but I think we need to generate more interest. The gardens are blooming now, should we have our agent retake the pictures? – A FRESH TAKE

DEAR FRESH: Welcome to life in a more balanced real estate market.

The times they are a changing. When you first spoke to your agent back in February, the average number of days a home took to sell was six or seven. As I write this, the average number of days on the market is closer to 20, almost three times what it used to be.

To put this in perspective, the last time we had a long-term balanced market in our area was pre-2016, when the average number of days on the market was somewhere in the low 40-day range.

Earlier this year, when you first started working with your Realtor, the market was in the process of making headlines: inventory was at a record low, and prices were at an all-time high.

Many of the sellers who are coming to market right now had their expectations set by what they saw in the media at the start of the year. As spring progressed, more properties were listed for sale, and the supply issue resolved itself. At this point, an increase in inventory and a flood of bad news seems to have calmed the buying frenzy, at least for now.

Putting a house on the market in January of February of this year was like winning the lottery. In the wake of that craziness, today’s sellers are being forced to temper their expectations. If you listed your home three weeks ago and it hasn’t sold yet, you’re looking for a reason.

Given the lack of showings, price is likely the culprit. Because it took a while to get your home to market, your agent may have been reluctant to share how much the landscape had changed.

I don’t preach doom and gloom, but the days of sellers “winning the lottery” seem to be behind us, at least for now. Buyers always focus on price (no matter what the flowers are doing). They’ll look at your house in relation to others. If it presents good value, they’ll book a showing appointment and hopefully bring you an offer. If they don’t see enough value, they’ll move on to something they feel offers more for their home-buying dollar.

PRO TIP: Like the stock market, the real estate market needs to be watched in real time (and agents must set their client’s expectations accordingly). “Lottery season” was noteworthy, but short lived. Today’s sellers need to approach the market with fresh eyes, and possibly adjust their expectations in terms of price and days on the market. That said, if you’re ready to move, it’s a good time to sell. #Advice #AskDavid #TheNegotiator

David is a top-selling Broker in Kitchener-Waterloo Region. He works personally with you when selling or buying your home. Call or text today for your free home evaluation! 519-577-1212.