Why won’t this house sell?

by Kerry on October 4, 2010

The first time I saw this listing was three years ago in the dead of winter. The shutters were closed and the house was ice cold.  It was  a pocket listing, and the owners wanted the house sold quietly without any public admissions that the house was available. The listing price was 1.2 million.

East Chop Cottage

Buy Me!

I am a big fan of discretion, particularly in real estate transactions. BUT, if you are going to price your property at the extreme top of the possible price range then you’d better have someone willing to shout it from the rooftops. You need an agent with a megaphone and unlimited funding for advertising because the worst mistake made by sellers is overestimating the value of their home.

In the case of this house, painfully, over time, the asking price was reduced. I remember it being at 1 million. I remember it being in the high 9’s. I remember it in the 8’s.  It is resting at $750,000 and that seems about right. It is a sweet summer house (3 season) with no basement and limited insulation, a  small lot and partial views to the harbor. The house is in need of some repairs, is over a hundred years old and very charming. On Martha’s Vineyard,  $750,000 is a fair price for this property and it should sell…but it hasn’t.

Listings experience a flurry of activity when they are first introduced to the market. If a listing is overpriced even the flurry will be small. As the reductions are made and the house remains vacant, a vibe begins to emerge. The vibe of “there must be something wrong with the house”. When your house becomes stale, finding the right buyer is that much more challenging.

The process of pricing a property is a simple one. The market will dictate where you should be. We look at the sales of comparable properties and then we add or subtract money where the discrepancies lie. If one house is newly remodeled and the subject property is not then what is the extent of the remodeling? How much value has the remodel  added to the property, and an adjustment is made. Same thing with number of bedrooms or bathrooms or lot size…Basing an asking price on what you THINK you should be able to net will not sell the house.

The single most important way to sell your property is to price it right. Find a real estate professional to help you, and always substantiate your pricing with the current market trends. You may not HAVE to sell your house, but if it is on the market don’t you WANT to?

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{ 1 comment }

Kris October 5, 2010 at 2:33 pm

Pricing too high, especially in a weak market, is a killer. I didn’t go in this one but remember it. Decent lot. But when you see it at $1M you take it off your list. Then it’s hard to go back when it’s reduced. You’ve moved on.

People are funny with real estate. It’s not hard to get a pretty good idea of what the market price is and price around that. But people think that someone rich and dumb is going to fall in love with their house and pay way over market. There are still a few homes listed this way and they sit for years; at least in this market.

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