As a Realtor, I sometimes have the unfortunate task of sitting around a kitchen table and hearing the back story of how a family, a good family, has reached a desperate situation which is forcing them to sell their house, to sell at a time when prices have bottomed out and sales are slow. It pulls on my heart to give them a market evaluation that shows they will be losing all the equity they have built up over the years of ownership. Finding out the only solution to their desperate situation is to sell their home is a tough scene to witness.
Often they want to list higher than the evaluation dictates in a desperate attempt to cover all the costs involved in the sale. I don't have a crystal ball, so we try. We try to squeeze that extra $10,000 out of the sale. It only takes about 30 days of open exposure to the market place for everyone to discover the reality of pricing. No calls, no showings and no offers. The truth is obvious. The market will not bare their price. What can they do?
I call this situation, "taking the bullet". For many sellers, I think it must be almost as painful as actually getting shot. Lowering their price once, maybe twice, maybe even three or four times before they start getting serious interest and an offer is so difficult. I know I must sound like a broken record when I call them, yet again, to discuss strategy when another two weeks have passed with no interest.
When sellers simply cannot wait for the real estate market to rebound, taking the bullet it is often the very best (and only)plan of action. They must lower the price until the market responds, and it will respond. Buyers will look past busy streets, poorly maintained houses or wild yards, old roofs, broken furnaces, ugly flooring and leaky basements IF the price is right! Suddenly the property has value for someone and an offer comes forth.
The hardest part about a seller taking the bullet is timing. For many sellers, if they had initialled listed where the stats indicated and sold the property quickly, their losses would have been smaller than wasting four to six months trying to get that elusive extra $10,000 that is never coming. Many times a seller will miss the spring market, or the fall market, where activity is at it's peak, with an over priced home and by the time they reduce the price, the rush is over and the listing sits.
In this strong buyer's market, I cannot stress enough that price is king! Buyers are sophisticated and well informed. They check comparables, they analyze the stats and they negotiate hard. They will not over pay. If you need your house sold, take the bullet, stop the bleeding and move on with your life.