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Chasing The Market

By Alison Markham, Broker-Associate, GRI, RealtorĀ® | August 6, 2008

by Paul Pastore

Have you ever seen a dog chasing after a car? To a sadist, it might seem very funny.

No matter how fast the dog runs, it will never catch the car. The dog will never slow the car down. And, the dog will never bite a moving tire. What must the dog be thinking?

Today, many sellers are running after the market, the same way dogs chase vehicles.

What are these sellers thinking? Their home is the only castle for sale? Buyers will love the scent of their lilac bushes so much that it will temporarily cause them to forget the competition? Is it possible the smell of fresh baked bread will cause a buyer to pay yesterday’s price in today’s market?

In my opinion, it is imperative for a seller to price their property 10% below market in order to sell promptly and avoid being left in the long line of expired listings. It may be an election year, but it will be a long wait for the inventory levels to decrease to a balanced market.

There is a Turkish proverb that says, “No matter how long you are traveling down the wrong road, when you figure it out, turn around.” Overpricing is a two-edge sword. If a property is receiving little activity, it is overpriced. Or, if a property is receiving adequate activity, but no offers; it is also overpriced. The latter problem is called ‘always the bridesmaid, never the bride.’

By suggesting a seller has an overpriced property, the real estate agent runs the risk of being the messenger that gets shot. Courageous agents tell the truth. Cowardly agents hope the overpriced property will generate sign or ad calls while the seller reduces the price and stigmatizes the property with additional days on the market.

Say’s law says, “No good or service will remain chronically unsold, as long as prices remain flexible.” The next time you see a dog chasing a car, hopefully, it will remind you of the futility of chasing a declining real estate market.

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