How About a ‘Disappointment Index’ for Real Estate

Tim just posted an interesting set of stats on Redfin, titled Biggest Discounts, and one of them particularly caught my eye.  His primary topic was the difference between Final Listing Price and Sold Price and how that varies by area.  But what caught my eye was the final chart that showed discounts from Original Listing Price to Final Sale Price.  This hit right on a topic I have been thinking about for some time, that I had mentally labeled the Disappointment Index.  In a very real sense, it represents the difference between what a Seller hoped to get for their home, and what they actually got after perhaps many months and many price reductions. 

Presumably a Seller, in consultation with their agent, has consciously decided what they want to ask, and get, for the property, and has some expectation that that might happen. So to the extent that they start with that expectation, then a subsequent completed sale for less is a disappointment.  And a 15% disappointment on a $500,000 house would be a big disappointment  – $75,000 not showing up in your bank account would be a very big disappointment indeed.

So here’s the question: why are these discounts so big? 

Are the agents not able to estimate market value and expected selling price any better than that?  Or are the Sellers not listening to their agents and overriding them? 

At what point does the listing agent walk away and let the Seller find a more compliant agent to list the house at a visibly above-market price?  Or does the agent take the listing and hope to work it down over a span of time, perhaps several months.  

Maybe this Disappointment Index is higher right now because both Sellers and agents are having trouble adjusting to current prices levels that are significantly lower than a year or so ago.  But it certainly does impede sales by leading to longer times on market, and lower buyer confidence in what the price really should be.

10 things I learned from my stats tonight

It’s been a long while since I posted about traffic on RCG. Two reasons come to mind… One, I’ve been swamped in starting my new job and never got around to updating my excel sheet and two, I knew we weren’t seeing much growth, so what’s the point 🙂

However, I took a little time out tonight to play around with RCG stats and I was actually surprised (in a good way!).

First I’ll give two charts and then I’ll explain what I learned from my research. The first chart looks at visitors and the search engines that they are coming from, while the second chart compares the growth in unique visitors to the total visitors to give an idea of how many people are returning to the site on a regular basis…



  1. While traffic may not be growing exponentially any more, we’re still gaining new unique visitors at a relatively healthy clip. (If you take out all the Zillow-hype related traffic in February of this year, then the chart would look a lot more like exponential growth! 🙂 )
  2. Google provides a majority of our unique visitors (almost 15K hits last month alone) and far outweighs any other traffic source (it is all organic traffic as I don’t spend any money on AdSense).
  3. MSN and Yahoo still have not figured out how to parse through the glut of Seattle real estate content in order to drive more traffic to RCG! 🙂
  4. The ratio of total visitors to unique visitors has always hovered between 3.0 and 4.0. This tells me a fair number of people continue to return to RCG and it increases as we attract more unique visitors. It also tells me we haven’t found the viral “secret sauce” that causes either a ton of unique visitors (who could care less about a majority of our content) or a super sticky feature that causes new visitors to come back at a higher rate.
  5. 61% are using Internet Explorer, 23% are using Firefox. The rest go using “Unknown” (8%), Safari (4%), and others…
  6. The top 10 search phrases (like [Seattle Real Estate] and [real estate blog] account for a combined 7.2 of all search engine traffic. The other 92.8% of search engine traffic comes from more obscure phrases. (Think Long Tail!)
  7. Traffic is highest around lunch (between 11am and 2pm).
  8. Mondays get hit the hardest while Saturdays are the slowest days on RCG.
  9. Seattle Bubble (404 hits), Ardell (399), and Bloodhound (384) are the three blogs that sent the most traffic to RCG in August!
  10. Google analytics tells me that of all the unique visitors in August, 1,333 had been to RCG more than 200 times!!! (4,710 unique visitors have been to the site over 25 times).