Day: September 28, 2010

A follow up to where have all the Homebuyers Gone


I posted this blog in May of 2009…..so did sellers gain anything by waiting? No, absolutely nothing. According to August numbers released by the NAR and the Warren Group home sales in volume terms were down 18.5% since last August. The home buyer tax credit has expired and it is not coming back. Prices never really increased during the boom when the tax credit was in place.

Where have all the homebuyers gone? Buyers are asking where have all the realistic home sellers gone. Sellers need to look in the mirror and ask what they would pay for their own home. The kitchen you renovated in the 80’s looks the same way the 50’s kitchen looked to you when you bought the house 30 years ago. That modern 70’s bath with groovy tiling is now just an eyesore. While wall-to-wall carpeting was all the rage, it-is-no-longer, ditto for the wallpaper. Moreover, that knotty pine lower level you entertained your friends in back in the day is now just a musty basement. The truth is, someone is buying the bones of your home, and they want to create their own memories. You don’t like the cabinets, the tile, the siding or the paint colors on your next home either. Buyers don’t care about your daughter’s wedding in the backyard and how beautiful it was. Honestly, when was the last time you spent money on the garden other than weekly maintenence. We cannot be in both a seller’s market and a buyer’s market at the same time. It is highly unlikely that you will sell your home for a premium and buy your next house at a discount. If your home is not selling, it has nothing to do with your Realtor’s marketing plan. It’s the price; price melts away objections. Every house has a fair market value; the price point at which a buyer is willing to pay and a seller is willing to sell. Both parties need to be realistic, but in a buyers market the sellers need to be more flexible. As a seller, is it more beneficial for you to sell your home now or ride out this cycle and wait for the next boom? Does it make sense to list a home with a fair market value of $1.5 million for $1.650 and wait until next year or beyond to get the higher price? Do you think the market will be 10% higher next year? The catch is- the market needs go up 20% because your house is listed 10% above fair market value. Just ask the sellers who finally sold their homes after a year on the market what their early offers were, the price they found insulting; I can assure you it was substantially higher than what it ultimately sold at. I am not suggesting you accept a low-ball offer, but ask yourself, is it the buyer or me who is unrealistic? Remember, sellers who understand fair market value set the price for future sales. You don’t want your home making the competition look good. Most sellers are emotionally stuck on an arbitrary number and have trouble accepting a lower price. Oftentimes this number was something a friend said at a cocktail party. The conversation usually sounds like this, “did you see the house across the street sold for 1.5 million? Well your house is so much nicer you could get 2 million”. Of course, this person has no real estate qualifications, but now the sellers feel like they are losing money, you can’t lose money you never had. The question only you can answer is, do you stand to gain more from waiting? Will you be substantially better off if you sell in 1 -2 years, as compared to selling at today’s market value? Most often the answer is no.

August home sales drop to lowest level in 2 decades


Posted in today’s Boston Globe business section. Same numbers reported by The Warren Group and Mass Association of Realtors. I wish I could be as positive sounding as the MAR, but the past 45 days have felt slow. I had a very busy and successful July ’09 to July ’10 but something felt differet in August. Buyers should make offers!

August home sales drop to lowest level in 2 decades.