Friday, September 6, 2019


After a good run spanning several years, the Lucky Sellers Club is officially...closed.

We're sorry to break it to you, all those who loved tossing a home on the market at any price in any random condition.  Owners and agents alike, it's been a great seven years, and we hope you enjoyed it.

When most habitable listings would draw 30 - 40 showings and five to 15 offers in a weekend, putting your home on the market with shag carpet, wood paneling, popcorn ceilings and laminate counters wasn't an issue.  Sure, it might cost you a few bucks off the bottom line, but when the buyer pool was deep and listings were scarce, it only took one desperate first-time buyer tired of losing in multiple offer shootouts for you to cash in.

Agents, too, enjoyed being a part of this unique club, while it lasted.  Because if you could somehow persuade a seller to sign a listing agreement with you, regardless of how bad the inside might smell or how totally lacking your own skillset might be, you could be a part of the Lucky Agents Club.  

Listing agreement has been signed, let's book that vacation to Mazatlan!  

The problem now is that, if you list a home with obvious defects, the market is no longer interested in assuming someone else's liabilities.  In fact, with active inventory having nearly doubled since the start of this year, a lot of buyers are downright insulted that you wasted their time with a home that offers so little value.  

As I've been saying to my sellers for the past several months, going forward you have two choices... compete on condition, or compete on price, but to compete in neither category leaves you in no man's land, right alongside 11,000 other active listings that can't find buyers in today's transitioning market.

We've got a lot of bad habits to correct that have taken root over the past several years, and with the licensed agent population now north of 23,000 in the Denver metro area, the truth is a large number of our fellow agents have never said "no" to anything.  

You see, historically speaking, selling a home takes time, money and effort.  Sometimes, historically speaking, it's not a very enjoyable process, for the agent or the seller.

That's one reason so-called iBuyers have a model that may get traction over time.  If you're sitting on a $400,000 home you've owned for 31 years and you know that you have ripped and padless carpet, nicotine-stained walls and a collection of yellowing and stained sports pages from the Rocky Mountain News featuring John Elway headlines piled high in the basement, it may not appeal to today's more discriminating Millennial buyers.  If that's you, why not sell it directly to Open Door or Zillow for $350,000 and close on your terms?

Heck, five years ago it was worth $275,000, so $350,000 may feel like a gift!  

Agents face a real challenge right now.  Sadly, for the 12,000 new, so-called "real estate professionals'  who have taken out licenses since 2011, no one told you that one day you would actually have to create value.  That you would need to solve problems and compete in a shifting market.  That you might one day need to make hard decisions about working with certain types of personalities, because while anyone can deal with a headstrong seller for a few days in a market where homes would sell in a weekend... working with Mr. and Mrs. Difficult for months on end (while not being paid a penny, nor being assured of any compensation at all) might not be your cup of tea.  

(Sidebar:  HGTV, when you're ready to launch that new show called "Impossible Sellers", give me a call.  I know people!)

I have seen firsthand the magic of the Lucky Sellers Club, when it was a thing.  I've turned down listings when sellers have insisted on over-the-moon pricing, only to see them cash in (on occasion and against all logic) when partnered up with a member of the Lucky Agents Club.  

I've also seen a bunch of these listings sit for weeks or months, take multiple price cuts, change agents or brokerages, and eventually turn into rentals or VRBO's - grateful that I had the discipline to say no to the forehead-whacking hammer hits that other agents signed up for in pursuit of a buck when the market made everyone feel like a genius.  

Going forward, attrition is going to replace delusion as the primary driver of our market.  It's going to be a war of attrition for agents, and truthfully, for sellers, too.  Putting a home on the market guarantees little any more.  Agents must be prepared to compete, and sellers must also be prepared to compete, because for the first time in years not all inventory is good inventory.  

The Lucky Sellers Club is being replaced by the Logical Market.  It's a market that will have winners and losers, and it will take work and skill, not good fortune or a greater fool, to get your home sold in a price-flattening environment.