An open letter to sellers about pricing during a slower real estate market

Dear Sellers,

How are things? I hope all is well. I wanted to reach out and and pitch some thoughts your way about listing your property in a real estate market that is cooling off. I’m not trying to tell you what to do, but I figured this might give you some helpful context or conversation fodder with your agent. Here goes.

  1. Image purchased at 123rf dot com and used with permission - 14688774_s - smallerBe aware of change: Real estate markets are constantly changing. There are times when values increase and other times when they are flat or decline. This means it’s important to price according to how the market is behaving. Yes, values increased rapidly in recent years, but we’re not in that sort of market any longer. Moreover, the real estate market is cyclical where buyers tend to pay more in the Spring and less in the Fall/Winter.
  2. Know your competition: Price according to the most recent similar listings that are actually getting into contract instead of the highest sales from several months back. Remember that well-priced listings tell us about the current market whereas sales are more like pieces of history because they represent what the market used to be like in the past when these properties got into contract. The bottom line is if you want to sell, you need to be priced in the sweet spot where buyers are currently willing to pay. You can find that sweet spot by looking at sales, but don’t forget to give strong weight to similar actives and pendings.
  3. Be prepared for credits: It’s becoming normal for buyers to ask sellers for credits for repairs or even credits to assist with closing costs. This doesn’t happen in every price range, but it does tend to become more common when a real estate market softens.
  4. Listen to your agent: If your real estate agent keeps telling you the property is overpriced, is there a good reason why you are not listening? Your property might be incredible, but if it’s not generating interest or offers, something is wrong. What is it?
  5. Overpayment expectation: Don’t count on pricing your property really high in hopes of attracting that one magical cash buyer willing to pay extraordinarily more than anyone else. We are no longer in a market where buyers have to overpay since housing inventory is approaching normal levels.

I hope this was helpful. I’m around in case you have further questions or a story to share in the comments below.


Ryan Lundquist
CA Certified Appraiser
Sacramento Appraisal Blog

p.s. Remember to pick up the dog mess before the appraiser comes  🙂

an open letter to sellers from sacramento appraisal blog - image purchased and used with permission

NOTE: This information was written in response to many overpriced listings in the Sacramento area. Your market may or may not be similar. Be sure to study the trends in your market so you can price accordingly.

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  1. says

    Could I get u to call a client for me and explain this. Lol. Omg this is becoming difcult. They want the world for there homes right now. It’s crazy. They look at the Internet and pick a few high priced homes that are not in the right area but have same type of criteria as there’s and wala that’s the price they want and if you are not willing to list they will go elsewhere, until they find someone to do as they ask.
    So you go with it and end up with a listing that won’t sell and you spend time an Monet to market it for nothing. Six months later someone tells them the same thing u have been telling them and they jump at it, lol what’s a fellw to do.
    Answer, don’t take the listing, stand your ground and move on. Let somebody else hassle with a overpriced listing and a demanding client. Sometime you just have to cut your losses. So what do you do when they don’t like the price you have come up with?

    • says

      Oh the pain of the current market. I’ve heard some agent friends talk about angry clients lately. Their listings aren’t selling, and the sellers are not listening about price reductions. Thanks for your take Sherm. I appreciate it. It reminds me I should have added a bullet point about what makes a comp a comp.

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