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Christopher C Weiler's Blog

By Christopher C Weiler | Home Owner in Cortland, IL

My Midwest Home Advice: Get Real On Price Or Get Out!

For those of you who have been following me, you're probably wondering how its going. And for those who havent, welcome to my blog! :) Ive purposely been inactive for about a week because I wanted to see how some things were going to turn-out before writing about them. And now that I have, my headline says it all!

I placed my condo on the market in early May. After a 3% pricedrop and 3 weeks, I had exactly 2 showings and no offers. Many would say this is good, as I was at least getting showings. But my intention from day one was to sell fast, and not to sit on the market for months and months. There's too much I want to do with my life to be hassling with the sale of a home for all that time, and quite frankly I wanted my own single family home before the end of the summer.

So I asked questions here on Trulia...lots and lots of them. So many that I think I may have worn-out my welcome to some of the realtors. But I wanted to know what I was doing wrong, what I was doing right, and how to unload this condo of mine before I was an old man. And I got lots of answers...most of them informative, a few that were worthless, and a couple that were downright irritating. But the bottom line seemed to be that price is the number one thing driving the market right now. Staging, marketing, pictures, and internet presence all play a role as well, but if I wanted to sell I needed to look at my price and see what could be done.

Because I have no mortgage, I have the luxury of selling at whatever price I want. So, along with the advice of my own realtor, I made a drastic price cut. I went down $11,400 in a single day...about 7.5%. This did not sit well with my neighbors, three of whom have the exact same condo unit as mine for sale in the same price range. I guess my agent received a couple of nasty phonecalls from our competition asking why we went so low in a single swoop, and I was called irresponsible for underpricing my unit. We expected that. However, what I didnt expect was the massive turn of events when it came to buyer interest. In the matter of 48 hours I had 3 showings, and an offer on the table for my FULL LIST PRICE. Through some negotiation I actually sold for $2000 MORE than my list, and it all happened at lightning speed.

That was a week ago. Since then, we have already had our inspection, Ive spoken directly with our buyer, and our sale is solid. A couple of minor fixes around this place and we will be set to close on July 30th. Needless to say, Ive already gone under contract to buy a new home, as well. A wonderful house that can only be described as my "dream home"...and I, too, bought it at a massive value. (29% less than it was worth just 5 years ago). I looked at dozens of homes...going all the way back to last winter...and it was wonderful being on the buying end for a change.

But my advice to all those frustrated sellers (and selling agents) out there who have listings that have stagnated over the course of months or even a year: Get real on your price. The market here in the midwest is depressed, just as the news tells us. And if you want to make a sale, you need to put your listing in-line with what buyers are willing to spend. Clearly at my original list price, and even the first pricedrop, I was above that. I have now set the new comp in my neighborhood, and its about $8500 lower than the last unit that sold (which was 6 months ago). The other sellers still on the market around here might be angry, but I didnt have the time or patience to sit. Buyers want a turn-key property that is move-in ready, they want it updated, they want it well-staged....but most of all, they want it CHEAP. And if youre not willing or able to go low, then you should seriously consider dropping out of the market until it comes back.

Yes, I realize most people have mortgages, and many simply cant go as low as I did. But the hard reality is that this market is being driven by price and if you cant compete, then youre going to sit forever. And if you have outdated decor or poor staging, well then God help you to sell anytime in the next decade! (Ill blog about my buying experience in another post...it amazed me the condition some people were attempting to sell in). I undervalued my property, and as one agent right here on Trulia told me "the price will find its own float-point". I was suspicious of such advice, but he was dead-on. I went too low, and ended-up selling a little higher than list. But the bottom line is I SOLD. And I did so in about 33 days of list time.

Say what you want about being irresponsible to the neighbors...you can't argue with results. And in about a month, Im outta here. So if youre tired of waiting for the buyers to come, do what I did...give them an undeniably compelling reason to! Drop your price to a number you wouldnt have even fathomed when you first listed, and I promise you they will come.


By Evelyn Santiago,  Mon Jun 20 2011, 11:51
Congratulations on not only your sale but being astute enough as a seller to realize that your time is very important and that price after condition is the most important aspect of a quick sale.

Your neighbors might be upset but you will no longer be around since you were smart enough to price it "to market" and not to an unrealistic price that buyers will not pay!

Wish all my sellers could read your blog...

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