Saturday, July 10, 2010


In the After Tax Credit world of real estate, I find myself being asked the same question again and again... how's the market?

And, much to the dismay of my audience, my answer remains... it depends.

A good home in a great location at the right price will sell in any market, including this one.

A good home in a great location that's not priced right will get activity, but it won't sell.

And an "okay" home in an "okay" location that isn't priced aggressively is a dead listing, at least right now.

Buyers tend to be ahead of the market.  Sellers are living behind it.

By that I mean, most buyers today are operating from a very cautious perspective.  They have seen others get burned in the market.  They are attuned to the negative headlines in the news.  And bottom line, they want a deal. 

They assume things will get worse and they want pricing based on calamity that isn't here yet.

Sellers, on the other hand, are married to the past.  I have probably talked to a half-dozen sellers this year who have referenced appraisals that were done in 2007.  An appraisal done in 2007 isn't worth the paper it was printed on today.

There is a very large perception gap in the market, and it's a difficult one to bridge. 

Therefore, for many buyers and sellers, we are now in standoff mode.  People make decisions based on how they feel.  Buyers feel cautious.  Sellers feel angry.  Bad match, a lot of the time. 

Agents need to bridge the perception gap.  If you have a listing, you need to explain why it's priced where it is.  You need to provide current comps.  You need to itemize the features and sell the benefits.  Do not send me an appraisal from 2007.

If you are working with a buyer, you must provide a reality check.  Interest rates are in the 4's (are you kidding me?).  Values at the lower price points have adjusted and corrected.  Values in mid-market are steady.  Values at the high end are soft and getting softer.  

Educate, educate, educate.

Deals are getting done in this market, even after the expiration of the tax credits.  But it's reasonable sellers and reasonable buyers who are meeting at the closing table.  For everyone else, it's a standoff.