Home Buying in Saint Louis>Question Details

Amy Dorman, Home Buyer in Jefferson City, MO

Why do many sellers seem to not make much effort, or worse-work against selling their home, particularly since we are not in a sellers market yet?

Asked by Amy Dorman, Jefferson City, MO Mon Apr 15, 2013

I have been searching for two months (with my agent!) within my budget, with pre-approval for several loans; I'm ready to buy. I've seen MANY homes overpriced, but worse, I've seen many more neglected. I've seen more dirty, smelly or homes in bad repair than I can count. A few good homes that hit the market appropriately priced AND ready to go, sell fast, usually before I've gotten to view them. I've had a few follow up with me or offer more favorable terms...without an offer from me. If it is indeed a buyers market (at least in STL) why aren't buyers doing the necessary things (for ANY market...) to sale their homes??? Frustrating!

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15
Bob Waters’ answer
I have read your questions and while it may seem like a simple task to find a home, it actually can be very challenging, especially if your expectations have not been met in 2 months. As an agent in the Saint Louis area, I can share with you a few stats that may help you. In the 63005 area of West County the number of homes sold in March was up 200% over the same period in 2012. The number of active listings is down 42%, the average sale price up 10%, the average days on market for a listing is down 38% and the months of supply of homes for sale is down 80%. Depending on where you are looking your agent should be able to provide similar statistics to help you understand the market where you are looking to purchase. Saint Louis is a mixed area real estate and it is important to know the area you want to live in by using factual information as you make you next large investment. Ask your agent to give you this detail and then use it to help with your decision making. There are still going to be a lot of homes that you are not going to consider and honestly should be screened by your agent before offering to show you the property. It is a waste of your time to be taken to houses that do not meet your criteria and your agent should be working to minimize your exposure to homes that don't stand up to basic scrutiny. Sit down with your agent, help them to help you. Set your expectations with them and make them perform. If you are not satisfied, there are a lot of agents who will be happy to help you.
3 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 16, 2013
thanks Bob, that may be part of the problem...I'm relocating and looking everywhere (except high crime/poor school areas). If we we're in the throws of a buyers market as before I'd more apt to narrow down a few areas, but to stay within budget and meet my needs, it's best for me to keep a wide range of areas available.
Flag Tue Apr 16, 2013
BEST ANSWER
Lots of reasons folks may appear to be working against their own best interests. Many times they did not receive advice from their agent regarding the issues ...or worse yet, they ignored the advice. Sometimes it is a problem with the funds to make improvements...but clean is not expensive! Pets are a big problem...and I have some myself, but they need to be out of the house and any odors taken care of. Market has turned from a buyer's market in price ranges below $200,000 for sure in Jefferson City to a more neutral situation and in first time homebuyer price ranges sometimes a slight seller advantage due to low inventory. Good luck with your search. Let me know if I can be of any help. 573-619-8860 call or text
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 16, 2013
We still continue to see favorable housing affordability conditions over the rest of these year, but it won't last forever. Inflationary pressures are expected to build during the next two years. As a result mortgage interest rate rise with inflation. Right now, sellers can sit down and wait for best offer.

All the best,

Maria Cipollone

http://www.Flahomespecialist.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 25, 2013
For the same reason that posters don't proofread their posts (see: why aren't "buyers" doing the necessary things).

Home sellers are not professionals, and while most of them respect our opinions, the fact is that many people just can't "git 'er done." Which is fine, really it is. Life is short, and people may be good at their job and not so good at organizing home cleanup. C'est la vie.

What is more vexing is how you are slow to find the homes that are properly priced and ready to go. I suggest that you get more lioness-like and focus on the prey that has been caught by other hunters, rather than at the inedible swill you complain about.

Go get 'em!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 16, 2013
Mack, I think that is good advice, however I'm relocating & don't have the advantage locals do. I've spent a long time getting caught up to what fair value market is for the area and researching in depth. Now, I'm in a position to act fast, but only after seeing all the dirty homes that have sat for 180+ and haven't been shown in a month or more before my arrival. Clearly I'm not the only one with an issue with these homes, money talks. Hopefully their agents will help them fix their issues.
Flag Tue Apr 16, 2013
Every market is different but I think my partnering with a knowledgeable agent I think is the best start. Sometimes they have access to deals before everyone knows about them. By being able to act fast you have much better chance at finding the right deal. Best of luck in your search!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 16, 2013
Amy,

Seems like you got this market summarized. Have you ever through of becoming a REALTOR? We are always hiring ;-)

Sebastian Bautz
Broker, Goodman Bautz
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 16, 2013
Yes I have, but I would be EMBARRASSED to rep. some of these homes! We'll see what the future holds. Wish I wasn't so restricted by life right now, this is an excellent market to make a killing, for someone with time, knowledge and a little $!
Flag Tue Apr 16, 2013
...assuming you meant sellers, many sellers may be in financial distress and may not be able to do any necessary things to help sell their home. Further, there are many agents who are not addressing the whole picture including the financial distress of the owners. Many agents who do not address the probable short sale of the property, may, in fact, push their sellers into foreclosure because they're too stubborn to come clean, too stubborn to learn, or outright refuse to risk pricing the property appropriately for fear of losing the listing! Many agents will not learn how to conduct a short sale and GET IT SOLD! ...which is why I began specializing in Short Sales.

I do not believe agents such as these are doing what's best for their client, and I have run into many properties such as those you describe. You and your agent should be asking these types of questions as to why the seller is selling or your agent may conduct some good ole-fashioned research to determine whether there is any wiggle room between the mortgage owed and the asking price. I'm sure you will see many properties are listed at the break even point so that the list agent avoids marking the property as a "short sale." While this tactic is not at all helpful, this will also help you decide or avoid making offers on properties in the first place. You'll find out about those stubborn agents, inexperienced agents, or those who refuse to be flexible - due to the other reasons he or she has not told you. This is why I always conduct my research, and I do not work with these types of agents. I don't like wasting my time.... money, effort, etc.... So, while this tactic is not helping the sellers at all, your agent's research will show the true picture, and you can make your decision of whether you're even going to pursue the property in the first place. I've written about these issues and more in an article on short sales from the seller's perspective. If you'd like more info, please visit the link! Good Luck!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 16, 2013
Well, basically - yes, they'll still list it if they wish to avoid the Foreclosure. There are some sellers who still recognize that they have a responsibility - their home. If they are in financial distress, I have seen owners just walk away, and that solves nothing. I've even had sellers tell me their attorneys have advised "just walking away" which is just irresponsible. So, yes, there are some owners who just choose not to deal with anything, but there are consequences for their decision. If they choose to just walk, this decision will harm them later even if they did declare bankruptcy. If a seller doesn't even make the effort to try to sell, or try to modify their loan, or try to offer the Deed in Lieu which we all know are valid ways to deal with the financial distress, and they instead do nothing, the bank has no choice but to Foreclose. That result is a foregone conclusion. However, the net effect will be even more harmful as their inaction will reflect on their character in the future - when it comes time to apply for that new job, apply for a new apartment; or yes, apply for a new bank loan to purchase a new home. Anyone who looks at their credit report will see the Foreclosure, and they will make a judgement call.... Bankruptcy is a legal way to deal with debt, and a Short Sale is always - always - always better than a Foreclosure on your record. It shows you tried and succeeded in solving your financial issue, and you're a responsible adult. As for moldy basements, and greasy tubs, well, I can't justify filth, but I can say that each financially distressed home and it's owners have a different story. The owner(s) may be disabled, they may be somehow physically incapable, they may be overwhelmed, they may be extremely depressed, he or she may be widowed... there are many reasons why some people don't clean as good as you would like. And then, there are different definitions on cleanliness... But, if some lucky buyer can see through all the cosmetic deficiencies and has the time, and is working with an experienced agent listing the short sale, and is willing to roll up his or her proverbial sleeves, short sales can be a very good buy! Put a little sweat equity in, and you've got instant apprciation! In short - a little work "never hurt nobody! ...Hope this helps....
Flag Thu Apr 18, 2013
I'm specifically avoiding short sales b/c I want to enroll my child in school on time and can't wait for the delays...although otherwise I agree and would likely pursue them. I guess what I'm wondering is...is the market so bad, historically, that sellers are so disadvantaged they are willing to show a home with a moldy smelling basement or grease covered tub, while they still live there!?! If you want to sell your home, make effort. If not, why list it? Being a first-time buyer I don't understand if this is normal and why it's so prevalent. I am checking out the article link.
Flag Tue Apr 16, 2013
I'm specifically avoiding short sales b/c I want to enroll my child in school on time and can't wait for the delays...although otherwise I agree and would likely pursue them. I guess what I'm wondering is...is the market so bad, historically, that sellers are so disadvantaged they are willing to show a home with a moldy smelling basement or grease covered tub, while they still live there!?! If you want to sell your home, make effort. If not, why list it? Being a first-time buyer I don't understand if this is normal and why it's so prevalent. I am checking out the article link.
Flag Tue Apr 16, 2013
I'm specifically avoiding short sales b/c I want to enroll my child in school on time and can't wait for the delays...although otherwise I agree and would likely pursue them. I guess what I'm wondering is...is the market so bad, historically, that sellers are so disadvantaged they are willing to show a home with a moldy smelling basement or grease covered tub, while they still live there!?! If you want to sell your home, make effort. If not, why list it? Being a first-time buyer I don't understand if this is normal and why it's so prevalent. I am checking out the article link.
Flag Tue Apr 16, 2013
My experience is that potential buyers are disillusioned with reality, that on TV home shows feed to the mind. If the home doesn't have granite or stainless steel, if there's not 3x the value for a third of the price, buyers aren't interested.

Buyers are so concerned with perfection that they let nice property with potential slip away, some that may require a little bit of effort to work. Overpriced is another big thing, all houses appear to be overpriced. Well, in reality that idea of overprice is a mental barrier, as most people have so much in wasteful spending, their already paying for the house, without the house to show for it. They're stepping over dollars to pick up pennies, and they'll continue to wait for that perfect house.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 28, 2015
Most of these properties you have been viewing might belong to sellers in some kind of financial distress and they are not selling willingly.
There might be cases of willing sellers who fail to take good care of their property, but this should be the exception rather than the norm.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Apr 20, 2013
They have the opportunity of shortsale or forclosure if they are in financial distress. Overpricing your home or not fixing it's legitimate safety issues, (or both!) is not going to get you out of your distress faster.
Flag Sat Apr 20, 2013
Amy,
What you describe is frustating.
From buyers in Jefferson City MO to those in my back yard in Palm Harbor Fl, the story is identical.
Buyers are disconnected with the reality of the market.
Sellers hear and do what ever they want.
Both believe they are right.
The market is proving one group to be correct.
-
Both have within their ability the means to change the outcome.
Too often BOTH say, "No thank you, I have standards."
-
Bob provides a very compelling image of what is happing in that market.


Best of success to you,
Annette Lawrence, Broker/Associate
Remax Realtec Group
Palm Harbor, FL
727.420.4041
http://RealEstateMadeEZ.us
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 17, 2013
- Mack, I think that is good advice, however I'm relocating & don't have the advantage locals do. I've spent a long time getting caught up to what fair value market is for the area and researching in depth. Now, I'm in a position to act fast, but only after seeing all the dirty homes that have sat for 180+ and haven't been shown in a month or more before my arrival. Clearly I'm not the only one with an issue with these homes, money talks. Hopefully their agents will help them fix their issues.

Thank you, Amy.

Well, you are at a disadvantage if you're not local, which isn't the fault of sellers with dirty and overpriced listings.

If we separate the issues - there's one issue where there are overpriced homes in poor condition whose sellers don't have them appropriately priced or prepared for the market, there's another issue in that you can't bid quickly enough on those that are well-priced and well-prepared for the market - then I think we should forget about the former and concentrate on getting you in a place where you can buy one of the latter.

All the best,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 17, 2013
Thanks to all who actually read the question and empathized or gave legitimate answers. It's nice to know there are some real reasons behind homes that aren't selling. As far as the rest of you who suggest buying a problematic home before "prices go up even further," no thank-you, I have standards.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 17, 2013
It is not the market for sellers to dump money into their homes to make a sale anymore. If the price is right, the home will eventually sell
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 16, 2013
With all due respect, maybe the world doesn't revolve around buyers. And, it's no longer a buyers' market. If you want something, buy it now before prices go up even further. Just sayin'.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 16, 2013
First of all, we are in a sellers market now, we are no longer in a buyers market.

Second, while I dont know what homes you are looking at, if you are looking at homes that are "distressed" - estates, short sales, etc - you are looking at homes where people are at their lowest point - they dont necessarily want to sell their home, but often they have no choice. They are overwhelmed, depressed, and out of money. They often dont want to sell their home but are being forced to due to medical issues, job loss or cut-backs, divorce, death and other things that have occurred that were out of their control. Keeping the house clean and "show ready" is not their priority - their priority is survival. They know the house will be gone whether because it sells or because the bank forecloses on them.

Third, there are some sellers who due to age or medical issues literally are unable to see, smell, and hence recognize thatbtheir home is not at the same status of cleanliness as other homes are.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 16, 2013
Unfortunately, these are not the reasons for my issues. I am not looking at short sales or forclosures, mostly rehabbed or occupied re-sales that aren't short sales. There may be a few who are incapable due to ability/expense, but others are not and there is no reason for a house to be dirty when it is shown.
Flag Tue Apr 16, 2013
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