Updated: Aug 30, 2018
You’ve decided to sell your home.
The market’s hot. You know it’s the right time. Your neighbor sold for 12% over asking price and your house is bigger and has more updates.
You meet with your agent, decide on a price based on similar sales nearby as well as the cost to spruce the place up, and establish an offer review date for six days after listing. This should give buyers plenty of time to visit the open houses over the weekend or visit with their agent. This even gives enough time to pre-inspect the property if they’d like to make their offer more competitive by removing the inspection contingency.
Over the weekend, the open houses are packed. 23 groups come through on Saturday. Another 30 on Sunday. Tons of interest. No pre-inspections, but plenty of firm leads.
Offer review date comes around. Offers are due at noon. 12:30 comes and goes with no offers. 1pm… 2:45… At 4pm the truth hits you.
No one’s going to put down an offer.
The Seattle market is changing. We’re noticing more price reductions, less foot traffic through listings, and fewer multiple offer situations on the offer review date. Is it the slowdown we’ve all been waiting for? Have buyers FINALLY been beaten to the point of quitting? Is the economy crashing and Amazon’s going to leave Seattle and everyone finally realized that they really DO hate the rain and I’ll have to short sale my house and oh my God it’s 2008 all over again WHAT AM I GOING TO DO?!?
WHOA. Hold on. Take a step back.
The world isn’t ending and Bezos is still the king of South Lake Union, for better or worse.
We’re not sure what’s going to happen in the next couple years. We don’t even know what will happen in the next couple of months. Frankly, this hot market could use a cold drink. This might be the slowdown, or maybe it’s just a summer slump. Or there was a holiday and no one was in town to see your listing. Or maybe you and your agent need to take another look at the comps to see if you chose the right price.
Any way you slice it, you’ll need to address the fact that you didn’t get any offers. Here are three strategies you should consider the day after the review date:
1. Lower the price
Overpricing is dangerous, even in a seller’s market. For the past few years in Seattle, buyers have considered the list price as the “starting price”. They expect to have to pay 15-20% over the price that any home is listed. If your house is priced 5% below the top price someone can afford, they’ll give up before they even start. They’ll go check out the listing down the street with the same square footage and number of bedrooms. They may not like it as much, but the list price is $30k less. They decide to put an offer on the other house, win the bid at $40k over that list price - 10k over what your house was listed at in the first place.
Lowering the price on your listing will send out a notification to anyone that’s searching for homes with the same stats as yours, which may generate additional interest at the open houses the following weekend and get you a strong offer.
2. Absolutely Nothing
What was going on in your city the last six days? Was there a giant protest downtown that prevented people from viewing your home? Was it the first warm weekend of spring? Was there an election? A holiday? Gay pride?? Maybe it just didn’t get the attention it would have gotten during another weekend. Sit tight. Have your agent schedule a couple more open houses, be as flexible as possible when agents call to come in and view your home with clients, and see if an offer pops up in the next week or so. If not, talk to your agent about considering option #1.
3. Have your agent follow up with interested buyers
Your agent should be doing this with either option. They should be keeping track of which agents are accessing your home when you’re not there as well as every buyer that comes through the open houses on the weekends. Your agent should be following up with their list of interested buyers on review day to see if a) they would like to submit an offer, and b) if not, how come? This is critical information. Are they not submitting because they thought it would go way over what they could afford? Did they hate the carpet? Does their 3rd grade teacher live next door and they HATE their 3rd grade teacher? Your agent can use all of this information to either re-strategize how they present your home or to convince the buyers that slipped through the cracks to take another look and reconsider.