Monday, September 15, 2008

Hard choices can be good choices

I was reflecting on a listing I took 2 years ago this month, in the fall of 2006.  A woman had had her home on the market for 4 months (with another agent) and wasn't getting any showings.  Her listing was expiring and she wanted to explore other options; a friend of a friend gave her my number.

The market had started to soften in the fall of 2005, so by this time we had been in a downward trend for about a year.  (On a side note, most "experts" were predicting a recovery sometime in 2007.)

Front

This particular home had been listed at $319,000 when it wasn't getting any showings.  After doing my research, I had a blunt, but honest, conversation with her about reducing the listing price to $289,000.  She was frustrated and upset about how much the market had fallen, and she took a few days to get her arms around the whole scenario:
It didn't seem fair that prices could drop so far so fast; $319k seemed too low when she first listed the home.

The market didn't care what seemed fair to her, nor did it care how much she paid for the home, why she was moving, or what she wanted to get out of it.

Maybe she should just keep the house & wait for the market to come back.

Maybe she could put a tenant in there & rent it out for awhile.

If the market fell another 5-10% over the next year, and then stayed level for about a year, and then started rising about 5% per year, it would take until 2010 just to get back to where we were at that point.  (turns out to have been wishful thinking!)

She finally decided that her goal was to get rid of the house, and although she wasn't happy about the current state of the market, she couldn't change anything.  She could only make choices given that day's environment.

About a month later we received an offer of $274,000.

This additional $15k reduction took another set of mental gymnastics to get her arms around - more stress, more frustration, more anger.  But she completed the exercise very quickly, and decided to accept the offer and get outta town.

This turns out to have been a GREAT decision.  Today, 2 years later, she would be lucky to get $245,000 for the home.

Your wishing he knew what the future held Realtor,

Chris Butterworth