Home > Guides > Home Selling > Home selling strategies > When should you drop the price?

When should you drop the price?

By | Published: Oct 14, 2009 | 47 Comments

It's a tough call. Naturally you want to do everything in your power to avoid giving up any hard won equity in your home, so adjusting the price is always a last resort. The question is - What's the best timing? How long do you wait from the time your home hits the market until you pull the plug - a week, a month, ten days? To answer this question we have to explore how buyers come into contact with your home's price and then ultimately how they measure it against other similar homes.

Something magical happens the first day you list your home for sale. Like the new kid at the high school dance, all eyes will be upon your listing. At that moment buyers and agents make some rapid judgments. Is the home overpriced? Is the home in good condition based on the photos? Is the home in a good location? This first impression will shape how many showings you receive during the first few weeks the home is listed. If you receive very few showings, or no showings, during the first two to three weeks after the listing has hit the market, you have a problem. The market as a whole is rejecting your value proposition. There is only one solution: adjust the price, and the faster the better.

Why not give it more than just a few short weeks? Think of the real estate market as an audience in a movie theater. As soon as your home hits the big screen the group collectively decides if they like the picture or not. More time won't change their mind. If your home has seen little or no activity, it's been decided that your home got a thumbs down. The only thing you can hope for now is that new audience members will trickle in, new buyers entering the market, who will, against all odds, fall in love with your home and nominate it for an Oscar. A better bet is to edit your price and re-submit it to the academy.

There are also other times when a pricing adjustment may need to be considered. For instance, let's take a look at Joe and Jane Seller's listing price below.

Competitor Home A:$368,000
Competitor Home B:$349,000
Joe and Jane Seller:$345,000
Competitor Home C:$345,000
Competitor Home D:$333,000
Competitor Home E:$329,000

Joe and Jane appear to be very competitively priced relative to the market. But let's see what happens 30 days later:

Competitor Home A:Expired
Joe and Jane Seller:$345,000
Competitor Home B:$339,000 (Reduced Price)
Competitor Home C:$335,000 (Reduced Price)
Competitor Home D:Sold
Competitor Home E:Pending
Competitor Home F:$326,000 (New Listing)
Competitor Home G:$325,000 (New Listing)
Competitor Home H:$319,000 (New Listing)

Joe and Jane went from being very competitively priced to being the highest property in their price range. From a buyer's perspective, their home now offers the worst value proposition in the marketplace. The interesting part of this scenario is that most sellers like Joe and Jane would never know the market winds had shifted so far and so fast. Why? Most sellers only request a market analysis at the beginning of their relationship with a real estate professional. Instead, homeowners need to stay abreast of all market activity in real time. How? One simple way is to use the internet. For instance at Trulia you can receive automatic updates on prices changes and new listings as they hit the market, or check out the latest market Stats & Trends. This is critical information that can be invaluable to creating a competitive pricing strategy.


By Rita Legan,  Thu Oct 22 2009, 13:29
This is so true and the fault of the agent or FSBO who is marketing the listing. A Market Analysis needs to be sent as the subject market changes. We have an application that includes all market activity, auto updating so the Sellers know their market 24/7. We also employ a showing feedback service, which allows the showing agent to offer their buyer's opinion on the shown property and the seller and agent can receive this valuable feedback, which allows them to react quicker and strategically. Lastly, I find it allows the showing agent the comfort of not speaking to anyone and giving feedback at their own convenience-critical.
By ,  Thu Dec 24 2009, 16:34
Some times sellers think there is not enough marketing being done. In most cases doing marketing will not help if the home is over priced. If no offers come in within the first 2 weeks, I believe that the house is over-priced. Time to think about a price reduction.
By Brad Bergamini,  Wed Dec 30 2009, 17:26
I love this post. When sellers play the game to match the market they tend to stay on the market for too long and have to drop price to sell. The seller that plays to win will sell faster and for more money.

Find out whether you are a winner or just one of those that likes to match the price of others on the market.
By Jeanne Feenick,  Tue Jan 12 2010, 22:53
A topic close to my heart! Without fail, homes that are priced properly right out of the gate sell faster and for more than homes that are priced high and attempt to catch the market overtime. I have found that across price points and markets, home sell within a 0-5% band of their asking price when that price is deemed by the buying public to be the "strike price". The smart sellers price right from the get go and capture the attention and enthusiasm enjoyed during the first 60 days of the listing. Others wait it out, and only reach their strike price after multiple price adjustments. Same rule applies with eery consistency - within a 5% band of asking.

We have a tool we use to guide a price reduction discussion. It reviews one example after another from our own inventory of homes that have gone through multiple reductions and then wa-la, strike price reached, and bingo, home sells within 5% band of that price. I say to my sellers, we can wait and have this discussion, or we can be smart and avoid the inevitable outcome of poor pricing decisions now. Based on my experience, the seller that prices properly out of the gate will sell for more, not less, than the seller that does not.

If you want to get top dollar for your home, align yourself with a good agent that has the courage to tell you the truth, and listen.

All that said, yes, if your home has not sold, an adjustment in price must be considered. The surest feedback that the price is right is if it attracts interest and visitors, and ultimately an acceptable offer. Low or no traffic, and/or no offers, price needs to be revisited.
By Colleen Basinski,  Thu Feb 11 2010, 11:52
Great Post! And great example of what actually happens with competing properties on the market. Waiting longer than 3 weeks for a price reduction only allows the property to sit longer unsold, making any offers that do eventually come in even lower, because of the "stale" property and long market time.
By Ken Tracy,  Thu Feb 11 2010, 12:01
My listings will have a contract within 90 days. If they don't, they are overpriced...
By Cynthia Bell,  Wed Sep 8 2010, 10:17
Our code of ethics require that we present the seller their current market value. "Standard of Practice 1-3 REALTORS®, in attempting to secure a listing, shall not deliberately mislead the owner as to market value."

I've gone on listing appointment where sellers want to place their home over market price. In my opinion taking an overpriced listing is misleading the seller about their homes market value. I won't do it.
By Fran Rokicki,  Wed Sep 8 2010, 16:58
If my clients have many showings, but, no offer, I do suggest a price reduction. If many people have come through and not liked the home enough to make an offer, a price reduction may just help them to do so.
By Ann Engel,  Wed Dec 29 2010, 17:15
If a seller insists on pricing his home too high, most likely he will end up missing the market and selling for much lower than if he had priced it right in the beginning. Most buyers ask how long a house has been on the market. They will come to the realization that it is overpriced.
By Aaron Schreiner,  Tue Mar 1 2011, 12:04
You could always drop it and if it doesn't sell take it off the market for a short period of time to evaluate the situation.
By Whitney Long,  Tue Apr 26 2011, 11:02
Great article!
By Buy and Sell House Fast,  Mon May 23 2011, 01:27
In a somewhat challenging market, in which there are numerous homes for buyers to choose from, in many cases the final decision comes down to the price of the home.
By Deborah Griffin,  Mon May 30 2011, 08:10
Great post! There truly is no magic secret about selling a home. If the home is in good condition, priced properly and has the maximum exposure to all potential buyers…it will sell. The best priced home in the world won’t sell without proper exposure, and the best exposed home in the world won’t sell without an appropriate listing price.
By Deborah Griffin,  Mon May 30 2011, 08:11
Great post! There truly is no magic secret about selling a home. If the home is in good condition, priced properly and has the maximum exposure to all potential buyers…it will sell. The best priced home in the world won’t sell without proper exposure, and the best exposed home in the world won’t sell without an appropriate listing price.
By Barbara Lang,  Fri Jun 3 2011, 12:54
With so many Short Sales and Foreclosers in the market it is to tdvanage to follow the market. If the market is going up, might want to price high. If the market is going down you need to reduce to stay ahead of the maringket. If the buyer is financing, the bank will not let them pay for an over priced listing.
By Mildred Valentin,  Fri Jul 15 2011, 14:09
I have listed a 2 bedroom condo in Parkchester really have had no showings requests but traffic on the internet. Have asked homeowners to reduce price to be competitive with other listings in the area at least by 5k. When should you reduce after a month on the market or two?

RE/MAX Voyage
By Dallas Texas,  Sun Aug 21 2011, 19:10
If you have a great property own makes it much easier to drop the price
By Joanne Bernardini,  Thu Sep 15 2011, 05:26
It has often been said that the most 3 most important factors in real estate are location, location, location! I think it should be modified to "Location and Price!"
Joanne Bernardini
http http://:www.OCNJBeachHomes.com
By Carmen Brodeur, JD,  Tue Nov 29 2011, 23:05
If the home is not getting enough showings, it is usually the price. Keep dropping until there is sufficient activity and interest.
By Shawn Ryan Rosa,  Tue Dec 13 2011, 10:32
assuming the home is being marketed properly, drop the price when few showing are taking place or if many showings are taking place and no offers are being made
By Richard Remijas, Jr.,  Tue Feb 14 2012, 09:05
The market is the master today. Constant communication with sellers regarding new listings, contracted properties and closed sales is necessary to maintain a relevant and competitive position in the market. I work in communities with access to Lake Michigan and a wide range of housing styles, sizes, amenties and access to recreation. Consistent delivery of information in real time is essential as background to pricing discussions.
By Team Forss,  Mon May 7 2012, 12:38
Price it at market with extreme marketing, and pre-announce it (coming soon listing). We generally have multiple offers the first few days provided it shows well, marketed well and priced at the market price. We also offer a program where the seller agrees to a set price reduction provided we agree to pay for mortgage payments up to a certain limit. It's an optional program we offer.
By Matie,  Tue Jun 26 2012, 05:12
Some times sellers think there is not enough marketing being done. In most cases doing marketing will not help if the home is over priced. If no offers come in within the first 2 weeks, I believe that the house is over-priced. Time to think about a price reduction.

By Shortsale,  Wed Jul 18 2012, 00:18
We will help you with your Short Sale Solution whether you are a professional or not, we can HELP! Fill up the form and get free Guidance at http://shortsaleinfoca.com/
By Sona Gallatin,  Sat Aug 18 2012, 13:18
I would ask for feedback from people who have seen the house. See what the draw backs might be, is there a way to fix it? During the listing have your agent pull a current title report showing recently sold in the neighborhood, check a few out and compare to your home. Make adjustment on price if if you need to.
By Jennifer Fivelsdal,  Fri Oct 5 2012, 21:28
I am puzzled why some sellers fail to adjust pricing even when getting feedback from potential buyers. Having showing but not getting offers is an indication property is overpriced.
By Mark Harrison,  Sat Oct 20 2012, 17:22
I believe so many agent are caught up in just getting the listing. We are suppose to be the experts: if a seller truly insists on overpricing there home it may be better to walk away from the listing than to try and fight a losing battle It cost allot of time and money to market a listing the right way. Nothing worse than having it sit with no offers. This is a seller who says if i get my price i will sell. I tell them up front if we price the home properly from the beginning we will generate multiple offers.
By Jessica Hood & Laura Roskelly,  Sun Jan 6 2013, 16:40
Great article. I wish more sellers would have "open ears" when it comes to market value. And that fewer Realtors would be so accomodating as to sell a prospective listing client anything that they want to hear. In the end, that kind of "marketing" costs the seller $1,000's of dollars.

We gauge our price decreases on the number of showings. If we have 10 buyers through the house with no offers the price needs to move. We can do this confidently because all of our properties are properly staged and prepared with no showing issues. http://www.fortmeadehomes.com.
By Montana 406 Real Estate,  Tue Feb 5 2013, 11:23
In general - "don't chase the market"...it takes longer to sell and usually costs the Seller both time and money.
By Debbie Starnes, Realtor,  Fri Mar 8 2013, 06:31
Great information! In my area I suggest the seller reduce the price within the first 30 days of listing if there's been no activity. Now, with that being said - I make sure that I have heavily marketed the property within the first 2 weeks of listng for maximum exposure.
By Lori Warren-ferris,  Fri May 24 2013, 06:44
I've reduced the price of my house, now what should I expect? If I don't get more showings or an offer, how long should I wait to take it off the market? My home has been listed for 30 days, 3 showings and an open. No offers. Remarks are, my home is beautiful and well priced. Now what??
By Kathryn Kim Loizzi,  Thu Jun 13 2013, 11:47
This scenario has been around for a while. Another tip I like to use is if you are not getting any showings drop the price by 5% every 30-45 days. If you are getting showings but no second appointments drop the price 3%. If you are getting the second showing but no offers drop the price by 2%. This should be done every 30-4 days in order to stay competitive and ahead of your competition. We are seeing a lot of multiple offers across the board.
By Christina Mazgelis,  Wed Oct 23 2013, 10:16
List with an agent with who doesn't float your boat. Pricing it correctly the first day is key. If your agent has done all they can in the first 2 weeks and you are not getting any activity REDUCE THE PRICE. The longer it sits the harder it sells. In the first 2 weeks the agent should have it listed in all internet sites with pictures. Have their company tour, have their local MLS tour,have sent out Just Listed Postcards, have called a radius of your neighbors,have an Open House, have a broker luncheon and have kept in touch with you. If all this does not work... It is the price. Please contact me with any questions.
By Greg Carrigan,  Thu Nov 14 2013, 12:15
It can be a big disservice to price a home above market value, in most cases sellers think their property is worth more than it really is. The seller has some sort of attachment to the property and is unwilling to look at reality. I had a client the other day who had a property that expired with another agent because they were not willing to budge on price. They wanted a set amount 30k above market price, this being said they did not have a hidden gem and it was a less desirable location. The house had been on the market for over 800 days, which says a lot about the price, it was just way high.
Selling your home above market value may seem like a good way to possibly getting more cash, but in reality it just will sit and you will have ended up with less cash than expected. Looking at the current market of your home you must constantly stay competitive and keep an eye on what is selling and for how much. The client may have had all the time in the world to have their home on the market, but the actual gain from having it there for so long goes away. It’s a harmony of balance and give and take, sometimes you have to be real in what you want and what you will get. Sometimes you have to give a little to get anything.
By User101,  Mon Jan 13 2014, 19:06
What kind of marketing strategies should agents use apart from waiting for buyers to make a move. In my opinion MLS listing alone is not sufficient.
By S2h0a1d3e,  Mon Feb 17 2014, 09:55
Thank you for the post! The best priced homes are often sold rather quickly, but the seller should always follow the market and the listings to be aware of his chances, if it's difficult to sell without an appropriate listing price, it should be reduced.
Jull http://personalmoneyservice.com/
By Lance Watkins,  Mon Mar 3 2014, 12:57
Agents must be in touch with the market, to ensure that after initial listing - that the property doesn't remain overpriced. Consistent and pro-active communication with the sellers will help during any pricing adjustments.
By Jay Taylor,  Sat Mar 8 2014, 10:17
Although the topic and many of the posts appear to be old, the problem persists. There are so many properties which languish on the block on account of faulty pricing. Therefore be very careful in setting your price and how you go about selling your house. Opt for a good loacl realtor, be aware of price movements in the area and ensure your home is available for open house viewings. This will help in moving the house closer to a sale.
By Calvin James,  Mon Jan 19 2015, 22:23
Thank you for the tips! Our house has been on the market for 6 weeks now so I think we should drop the price a bit. We are also trying to go without using a real estate agent which I know might not be the best idea. I think we will try for another 6 weeks with the lower price and see what happens. If we still can't sell it I think we will hire an agent. http://www.searchhomesabq.com/
By Kris Huckleberry,  Tue Jun 16 2015, 06:02
My question is what about homes in a slow market? We live in a very small town and homes tend to sit for months and months price drops and all. How do you attract someone to your home without losing money?
By Ritadehetman,  Mon Jul 13 2015, 11:46
The problem in a nutshell is this: competing priorities. The homeowner (or seller) often tends to overestimate the value of the home, often citing intangibles that fly in the face of the straight math of market competition. Conversely, realtors are looking to set the lowest price possible to minimize the time required to sell. So their goal is to make it a slam-dunk listing which likely leaves money, perhaps a great deal of it, on the table. So how do you find the sweet spot between grossly unrealistic expectations of the homeowner and the "let's set the bar nice and low" for the quick sale mentality of the agent?
By Birrylapomicrifinacebank,  Sun Oct 4 2015, 22:11
Hello to all my viewers in the world my name is Elizabeth Henderson, I am from the New Arizona,United State, am here to testify of how i got a loan of ($150,000usd) from Mr birry lapocompany after i applied 5 times in my country from various loan lenders who claimed to be lenders they all fail me without give me the loan,i thought their genuine lender in my country where i can real applied but they never gave me loan until a friend of mine introduce me to Mr birry lapo company the l.a.p who promised to help me with a loan of my desire and he really did it as he promised without any form of delay, I never know thought there are still reliable loan lenders until i met Mr birry company, who really helped me with my loan and changed my life for the better now.I don't know if you are in need of loan. So you are feel free to contact Mr birry he offer loan to individual and public sector and certified them in a low interest rate of 2%. Bad credit acceptable with any individual and public sector that are in need of financial Assistance it dose not matter were he live all you need is money and is very genuine company. thank you for reading my massage from Elizabeth Henderson you can email via for your own help birrylapomicrofianacebank@gmail.com
By Branneni,  Mon Oct 19 2015, 07:43
Hello, I am looking to become a first time home buyer. I have been approved for a VA Loan - which is good and bad. The realtor I am working with has suggested that I look at homes $10,000 less than approved to cover the VA funding of $4000 - $5000 and asking the seller to cover the closing costs. The problem is that I am very interested in a home that is listed at $199,900. Originally it was listed at $204,000 and was reduced $5000 (38 days active). I wanted to know how soon before I make an offer, or do I just wait patiently in hopes of the house dropping in price? Honestly, I would prefer to make an offer when the seller drops at least $10,000. Any thoughts or suggestions?
By My Name,  Mon Dec 7 2015, 09:21
Has anyone considered the possibility that there just might not be a market for your size house? We have a large house with a large yard and many amenities. We consulted with four agents before finishing our renovations and did everything we were financially able to do to make our home top notch in our area. We priced in the middle of the comps. There is a one year money back guarantee on our house. It is staged nicely, and the yard is kept manicured. There is nothing wrong with our house and we have done everything right. After over a dozen private showings and over a dozen open houses, we reduced the price. Same amount of people attend open houses, everyone loves the house and give positive feedback. We reduced the house a month ago. Still no contract. I am convinced there are just no buyers for our size house. We will not reduce again, as the comps support the original price.
By danburke99,  Wed Apr 20 2016, 02:26
Help, trying to sell condo but high condo fees and low floor .
Agent has been lowering price, lots lookers, no offers. always the same, good unit, but low floor and high condo feels.
By Nnyabeez,  Wed Jun 22 2016, 11:15
It is fun to read the comments from sellers on here. They seem to all be saying the same thing, "my prices are ok but nobody is buying and I am confused". For example Dan with the condo and buyers saying low floors, high fees. Well, you have clearly not lowered your price enough. When you have, the buyers will stop talking about the floor you are on or the condo fees.

Then there is the comment above his with the seller insisting that the comps support his pricing but nobody is making an offer. Uh, maybe something is wrong with the comps? The seller says that people just do not want his size house. Ok, then explain how you have comps if your size house will not sell. Aren't the comps for your size house that sold? Are you using comps for a different size house? Then how are they comps? This seems like just another example of sellers refusing to see the truth so they just makes up lies for themselves like "my size house will not sell" or "the comps support my pricing". Clearly one of these two statements has to be a lie or else how did you get comps in the first place? Comps are houses similar to yours that sold! That by definition is what a comp is so again, what gives? Since it is your house, you are probably not being honest with yourself and either you are not listening to the feedback on your house or else people are not telling you the truth so as not to offend you. But in the end it comes down to is your house getting offers. It is not. Then you have to look harder at whether it is priced too high and that does not mean just believing the platitudes people tell you about how beautiful it is. How many people would say something bad about someone's house to their face? That would be like telling somebody their baby is ugly or their kid is stupid. Nobody does that. Sometimes you might think it but you would never ever say it.

Something is wrong and you have to figure it out. Nobody online can do that for you. Maybe you need to have a hidden camera and let people tour the house alone so you can hear their real comments.

There was a house we were interested in buying until we had to deal with the broker and she was a real blankety-blank. We both said no way would we help that woman get a single penny in her pocket so we walked. The home owner probably has no idea that the broker is being a total blank to potential buyers. Although, I am thinking about writing him a letter to let him know.
By Athena3917,  Fri Jun 24 2016, 06:45
We live in Forney and our house has been on the market at just over 30 days. We were doing quite a few showing a day, until we got a super flakey and difficult buyer who had an agent that was only encouraging her. After almost turning in the option check late, and being almost a week late to drop off earnest monies- buyer backed out after only having turned in EM hours before. (I'm guessing it was because they did not want to breach contract before officially terminating?). They also did not forewarn us that the buyer backed out the night before they supposedly scheduled inspection- so after 3 days of 12 hours shifts-we woke up to put the house together and have all 4 kids out by 0800. It was a pretty shady, discourteous, and unethical experience. She had tied us up for about 3 weeks.

My concern is that while showings slowed down significantly while we were in active option contract, it won't pick up again. These real estate sites are slow to update (we made a pretty significant price drop as we want it to be the only one). I know our house was overpriced to begin with. A novice (fools) mistake.

I don't mind selling for less than what I ideally (ok, a pipe dream) wanted if I have a serious, level headed buyer who is prepared for this process and won't flake for silly reasons. It's less than a year old with existing builder warranty-hopefully a buyer with very little need for contingencies shows up soon!

Leave a comment


5/12 guides | View all

Everyone likes a bargain, a sale, or a giveaway. What's not to like? In real estate sales incentives can be a great way to motivate a reluctant buyer to take the plunge and consider making an offer on your home despite the current economic downturn. So as ...


Got a real estate question? 

Copyright © 2016 Trulia, Inc. All rights reserved.   |  
Have a question? Visit our Help Center to find the answer