Alternate Title: The Importance of a Good Pricing Strategy

“We can always come down,” says the confident seller. This is a true statement, but there can sometimes be unintended consequences that can have a serious impact to the overall goal of selling a home for the best price and terms and in a timely manner.

“How long has this been on the market?” asks the interested buyer. In my personal and professional experience, the buyer usually wants to hear one of two responses. Either long or short. If long, the buyer’s thinking; “low-ball offer.” If short, the buyer’s thinking, “I better see this soon!”

What we know for sure:

 1)  More buyers will see the listing in the first 2-3 weeks of its commencement compared to any other time during the listed period.

 2) If there are going to be multiple offers on a home, they usually occur in the first few days of the listing, or the first week after a good price reduction.

3)  The longer that a listing is on the market, the greater the distance between the selling price and listed price.

The Phoenix Metro real estate market is currently one of the most well balanced markets in the country, which has not always been the case. In July of 2005, which was the peak of our blistering seller’s market, the average time it took to get a contract on a home was just 24 days. Contrast that with the ugly market downturn in February of 2008, where the average market time for a home to sell shot up to 140 days!

Today, the average market time is 78 days. Bear in mind that the amount of days on the market very much depends on what price range you’re in. If you’re priced under $200,000, your home should sell quickly, depending upon location. If it’s over $500,000, the length of market time increases dramatically.  It’s not strange to see the million dollar+ homes sit on the market for a year or more.

For these reasons we always prefer to list the home competitively up front, so take what I’m about to say with a couple grains of salt. If you want to “test the market” with a price that is above what a professional says the home is worth, there may be away you can do so and not get burned. Well, no one can say for sure because it’s a gamble. The method we’ve used to do this, is to list a home with an automatic pre-agreed price reduction that takes place after 3 weeks down to our original recommendation.  This way the seller can feel confident he/she isn’t underselling his home, but still get to a competitive price point while interest is still relatively high.

In the technologically advanced age we live in, the world of interested home buyers will see your home online before they ever decide whether or not to go see it in person.  If not, they will either file it in the trash never to see it again, or perhaps save it to keep an eye on it. If the home is reduced they will then take note of it again, that is, if they haven’t already decided on different home. The best course of action for the seller is to get the home under contract during the first 3-4 weeks. In this situation the seller will most likely not be “low-balled” and still be able to obtain the best possible price.

Over the years we have seen too many sellers waste time and money because they fail to price their home correctly in the beginning, and worse than that, not reduce the price in time to still capture that initial wave of market interest.  This is especially important in our current $500k+ market range where demand is low and supply is high.