Sunday Night Stats – Days on Market DO Matter

I have to admit that it is hard to think about anything but tomorrow’s election.  It’s an historic occassion, to say the least.  Especially for those of us who grew up in the turbulent 60’s, and have been around from when President Kennedy was killed to present.  I can’t help but feel that tomorrow “is the first day of the rest of our lives” in a profound and meaningful way.

Next Sunday will be the first opportunity to capture a snapshot of October 2008 as to closed transactions.  Last week I reported that October pending sales that will close in November are obviously down in price, and fairly substantially down, from 3rd quarter sales.

This week I’ve been trying to answer the question “Where are prices?”.  Are they back to early 2006 levels?  Are they back to mid-2005 levels?  The answer is both, and days on market is what separates the two.  When comparing apples to apples and studying data within small segments of each market, virtually no sales are selling at peak levels, peak being summer of 2007.  Those that sell in 20 days or less are selling at mid 2006 to early 2006 levels.  Those that remain on market for 40 or more days are selling at mid 2005 levels.  Those that try to sell at 2007 levels, end up at 2005 levels.  If they had started at 2006 price level, they would have sold more quickly and at a higher price.

There’s really no message to anyone in this post.  Just reporting the facts.  Buyers who buy something as soon as it hits the market, will still do that, and rightly so.  Sellers who ask more than the last property sold for will still do that, because they need the market to beat them down.  Most people can’t sell for less than the neighbor by voluntarily electing to do that.  They have to be on market for 100 days or more before they “give in”, which costs them about 5% on price.  Still, that’s human nature for most people.

New construction is more attractive than it has been for a long time, short sales are still the best values, and best homes in the best locations still sell quickly at the highest prices.  No big news there.  Once we get to early 2005 pricings, the wait will be over.  Why?  Because the prices in 2004 and 2003 and 2002 are not substantially different from one another.  Once prices roll back to January 2005 levels, we will be “at bottom” here in the Seattle Area, unless you think prices will get to 1998 levels.

So for all of the people waiting for “bottom”…your wait is about over.  Now you just have to figure out how to finance those “at bottom” prices, and interest rates will be the obstacle vs. fear of overpaying.

Now let’s all focus on the election tomorrow.  It’s an historic event.  Don’t miss it.  Vote and vote early.

NWMLS to Allow Brokerages to share more Data

The Northwest Multiple Listing Service has announced policy changes that will allow brokerages to display more information on their websites. This means that if brokerages choose to, people will be able to see the length of time a property has been on the market, referred to as days-on-market (DOM), as well as cumulative-days-on-market (CDOM), along with the listing price adjustment history. The NWMLS will only allow the DOM to be shown if the CDOM is also displayed in order to insure that consumers are not mislead.

Another change for brokerages is that they now have access to three download feeds instead of just two. This could be significant for brokerages that want more options and vendors to choose from to manage their data feeds for property searches, which they make available to agents and the public.

There's No Fool Like An April Fool

If your home has been on market for more than 100 days, it may be a good day to take a hard look at why that may be. Being wrong from April 1st until June 30 is a whole lot worse than being wrong from January 1st through the end of March.

1) Write down the 5 best things about your house and the 5 worst things about your house. If you can think of 20 things that are good about your house and can’t come up with 5 things that are bad about your house, you likely are in the wrong mental space to sell your home. In my experience, owners who can’t get themselves to say one bad thing about their house, out loud, take a much longer time to sell their home.

2) If you are priced at anything 09 or 59 change that to 00 or 50 right now. $259,000? Make it $250,000. $309,000? Make it $300,000. $459,000? Make it $450,000. Someone who didn’t pick your house to go and see in the $450,000 to $500,000 category, may have picked it if it were in the $400,000 to $450,000 category. Don’t miss the boat by being in the wrong price tier.

3) Remove all words from your public remarks section that are negative. Don’t be unique or unusual. Don’t be cute or cozy. Don’t tell them the chandelier does not stay.

4) If you have had no showings in the last 20 days, stop waiting for “just the right person”. No showings equals wrong price.

5) If you have had 30 people come to see your house and no offers, your price and mls presentation are probably right and what is wrong is at your house after they get there. Smell? Smell is a big one, especially if you have pets. Dark? Turn the lights on…Yes, ALL of them. Did they say “you have a lovely home” as they were leaving? That usually means your home is too personalized and they visited you. They couldn’t picture anyone there but you. Remove the personal photos and your “treasures”. Give them a blanker canvass to picture themselves in.

If you have been on market for 100 days, don’t just say “Oh goodie! It’s April 1. NOW someone will buy my house because it’s Springtime. Change something…today.