How Long Is Too Long Before I Start Lowering The Price?

LoveInTheHouseMarch 10, 2011

Am I just being impatient? This is the fifth house we've sold ourselves and of course in this economy, it's taking a lot longer. But how long should I wait before I lower the price?

We're a FSBO. We're selling a little horse farm so right off the bat it's a little trickier since part of the value is that it's a set-up horse property, therefore I need a particular buyer. We put it on the market in September. We sold it for the full asking price, $259,900 in December. We got a number of inquiries while we were in contract. It appraised for the full asking price. Two days before closing in February, our buyer was declined for her mortgage. We refreshed all our advertisements. We put it on We drove around looking at comps to double check we were priced right. It's only been a month since my deal fell apart but in reality, it's been a lot longer since it's been on the market all together for six months because I told anyone who inquired when I was under contract that my buyer hadn't gotten her mortgage yet and I was still showing it. (I had a bad feeling about my buyer and was trying not to lose anyone.) So it's really been six months.

I know everyone says this but this really IS a unique property, because of the horse facilities. I know there aren't many people buying as it is and I have to find someone who's buying and who needs a set-up horse farm. My weakness is I only have one bathroom but everything else is top notch, from the curb appeal, to the condition, to the location. My property is advertised all over the place so exposure is not my problem. Of course I don't WANT to lower the price but I want to get this show on the road. How long should I wait?

Here is a link that might be useful: Smith Mountain Lake Horse Property

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I am looking at this from the buyer perspective because we have recently been in the market for exactly your type of property. We were far more concerned with the outside of the home and the horse amenities than we were the home. In fact, we recently purchased our horse property, and we spent 2 hours outside and about 30 minutes inside during our intial visit, if that gives you any idea about our priorities!

I don't know where you live or what the property is like, but we found very few horse properties in that price range. You are looking for a specific buyer, but reducing price typically does bring in more lookers.

Whether or not you lower the price is a personal thing. Nobody wants to lower the price, but if you are itching to get this sale over and done with then perhaps you should lower 10k. Or if you can, offer to pay partial closing costs or something like that. A reduction in price can help make up for the 1 bathroom. That WOULD be a big problem for me. If I were buying your home I would have to factor in the ability and cost of adding a bathroom. So that could make price an issue for me right from the get go.

Just know that there are buyers out there who, like me, are looking for your property EXACTLY. They may be fewer in number, but we're out there. Flexibility in price is going to add to the interest level in my opinion--you just have to decide if you're willing to do it or not.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2011 at 11:57AM
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4 bedroom two story house and only a single bathroom?? That doesn't make any sense!

You've got a lot of really great pictures (although some of the inside shots are dim). The house and grounds look gorgeous. I would think about taking out all of the kids/dogs pictures--I think those are unnecessary and not related to marketing your house.

As far as pricing goes...if you aren't getting any inquiries/showings at all, I'd figure you're going to have to drop your price. Are you aware of any other similar properties selling in the last 3 months, or is nothing moving at all?

    Bookmark   March 11, 2011 at 2:55PM
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Ah geeze Louise.......what a bargain! I can't believe they're not beating a path to your door. Revamp, I have a five bedroom 200 year old farmhouse and I only have one bathroom. I'm just happy it's finally inside instead of twenty feet from the back door. I don't understand why there has to be at least one throne for every occupant of the house unless somebody has a kidney problem. LOL. But yes, converting one of the upstairs bedrooms to a bath would be a wonderful selling point, especially since one of them is very small.

I wish you had kept a list of those people who were initially interested so you could contact them. If you had a queezy feeling about the legitimacy of the person with whom you wrote a contract, it would have a been a good thing to fall back on. Horsey people have specific needs. I used to be one and had to modify the property I had to accomodate them properly.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2011 at 8:36PM
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Revamp, ha ha, yes, four bedrooms and one bathroom. Like Calliope said, it's an old farmhouse and that's the norm. And I agree with you Calliope, I don't get why it's a problem for people. It's not a problem for me and I have irritable bladder and a teenage girl living here! But I know it's a problem for some, lol.

Anyway, if it's the bathroom, I'd rather lower the price than put another one in. I AM getting inquiries but from people out of state and so far none of them have come down to see it. They SAY they are going to. They all say it's beautiful like you guys, and thank you by the way. Properties around here in general are not selling fast. There aren't many exactly like mine and there are only one or two that are set-up horse farms in this price range. The rest of the real horse farms start at the $300,000 range. So I thought this one was going to fly off the shelf.

Valykrie, interesting that you are a horse person because I tell you, your screen name sounds so familiar to me! Could we know each other? I'm in Virginia and I'm a barrel racer.

Here is a link that might be useful: Smith Mountain Lake Horse Property

    Bookmark   March 11, 2011 at 9:51PM
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Went to your link. Wow! I WISH we could have had options like that when we were looking. We have had so few things to choose from in the 250k and under price range that we were getting very discouraged. Luckily we found something.
As a horse property your farm looks great. I would want another bathroom--can't stand having only 1. Grew up in a big family with 1 bathroom and find that I just can't go back to that! LOL

We are in Western NC. I am on several horse forums. Do you go to any?

    Bookmark   March 11, 2011 at 11:34PM
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Yes, I'm on some horse forums. Barrel Horse World, and I used to go on Virginia Horse and I'm part of an active Yahoo group for horses with headshaking syndrome. Let's see what else? I belong to a writer's group and we're in the flooring business, Shop-At-Home Floors. Let's hope that if we've been hanging out on the same boards that we've been nice to each other on there! You know how those horse boards get! lol

Thanks for the big "wow!" Well, would you have bought this place with these great horse facilities and the charm and the location (I'm in a hot spot, right by the lake) even though it only had the one bathroom?

Here is a link that might be useful: Smith Mountain Lake Horse Property

    Bookmark   March 12, 2011 at 4:21PM
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Yes, I would have bought it with 1 bathroom...but I would have HAD to have added one, so that cost would have factored into what I could offer based on your asking price. But from my perspective, your asking price is very reasonable (would be for around here) and I think you can sell this property. You're right that a non-horse person probably won't buy this property simply because it set up so well for horses. That's why this sale might take a little longer.

Are there any realtors in your area that can help you market your property?

    Bookmark   March 14, 2011 at 11:46AM
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This sounds like common sense and probably something you have already done, but are you marketing specifically towards horse people?

Are you posting links on horse enthusiast forums, sending mailings/flyers out to local boarding facilities and 4-H clubs, how about tack and feed shops? Have you posted on Craigslist? (local and nearby major cities)

Don't necessarily keep it local, either. I'm sure there are people who are looking to retire/relocate if the right horse property came along. The key is getting the word out and allowing people to network. As a rule, people love to be helpful so the more people who know of you place, the more people that can say, "you said you're looking for horse property in VA? I saw a place online...let me find that link for you"

    Bookmark   March 14, 2011 at 1:26PM
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If you are a FSBO, then you are not listed on, as you say. You also say you are highly exposed, yet 98% of buyers use buyers agents. Are you offering any commission to a buyrs agent?
As far as your price reduction answer... if you can lower the price, do it now, as the shopping season is starting.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2011 at 2:19PM
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I AM listed on ncrealestateguy. I paid a flat fee. I am exposed and am marketing to horse people. I have it all over the place. I have it on a number of horse websites and publications. I have ads in publications in other states where people are moving from to locate down here. I have flyers on bulletin boards. I have it on for-sale-by-owner sites. I have it on Craigslist in this state and another state. I had it in the newspaper. I put it on Facebook. I don't stop marketing. Yes, I will pay an agent a commission for bringing me a buyer.

The first person who looked at it wanted to make an offer and then her son-in-law, who was relocating with her, talked her out of it. He is not a horse person. She called me up about as disappointed as I was. The second person who looked at it offered me the full asking price, actually said, "I would like to offer you the full asking price because I looked at fifty other properties and I know this is worth it." She actually said that. But then two days before closing, her mortgage was declined because it's agricultural. She had a small downpayment and was getting an FHA loan. A couple of people from other states tell me they want to come and look at it but they have to plan the trip. I've had three or four people who want to lease it with option to buy. I can't do that. I think I'm getting good action but I want it sold. There's no reason other than my life is on hold because we're moving to another state and we can't grow our business or do many things in this state since we're not staying. I can lower the price a little if it'll make a difference and actually make something come to fruition. I just don't trust myself because I'm impatient. That's why I'm wondering how long is long enough? But like ncrealestateguy said, the shopping season is starting.

Valkyrie, yeah, there are realtors around here but honestly, I don't think they could do a better job than I can. If a realtor wants to bring me a buyer, I'll pay them a commission.

Thanks for your opinions!

Here is a link that might be useful: Smith Mountain Lake Horse Property

    Bookmark   March 15, 2011 at 11:41AM
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OHHH, you didn't say that you paid a database entry person to list your home.
Find out if your property qualifies for the USDA Rural Property Loan Program. Go to thier site, and search around until you find where to type in your address. It will tell you right then if your property qualifies. It probably does. If so, call your first buyer back and see if she checked them out.
Good luck.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2011 at 1:16PM
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Your home and property are really beautiful!! And the price looks to be very good too, however, the one bathroom would turn me away too :( Is there any way at all you could get someone to help you put in a bathroom? Even if it was just a half or three quarter bath? I bet you would get alot more interest! Even if you had a contractor come in and give you an estimate, it may not cost as much as you think.
Good Luck!

    Bookmark   March 15, 2011 at 9:59PM
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I agree... first you have a limited number of buyers in your pool because you have a specialized property, and then you narrow that buyer pool even more with having only one bathroom.
It is fine that only having one bathroom is OK with you, but most buyers will not think the same.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2011 at 1:15PM
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ncrealestateguy, I did look into the USDA loans. The buyer made too much money! That's what killed me with this. She qualified for a property that cost a lot more than mine, her credit was great, she and her husband had stable jobs, the house appraised for the full asking price... I thought, "What can go wrong?" Ha! Banks!

The one bathroom. We thought about putting one in for selling purposes and could actually do the majority of the work ourselves, but I hesitate to do it because there's no real room. I'd have to take one of the bedrooms and they are small. This is an old farmhouse. I think we need the bedrooms. If I go out, that's major work and I'd have to raise the price drastically. I thought I priced it for having one bathroom. All the real comparables (but they all had two or more bathrooms) were more money.

I think it boils down to this is truely a unique property and I have it priced correctly but I have to find someone from a small pool of buyers (a horse person) from an already small pool of buyers (people who are actually able to buy a house in this economy) and it might take some time. Unless I underprice it. Tough one.

On a good note, I had two inquiries about it today.

Thanks for your help.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2011 at 10:49PM
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I bet you are priced correctly. Just give this Spring a shot. But, you better do some advanced homework for your buyers. Start calling financial institutions right now, and find out which one will lend on this type of property. When you find one, advertise the fact that you have a lender willing to lend to the buyer.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2011 at 6:59AM
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ncrealestateguy, thanks for all your help by the way.

I already called a broker. When the deal fell through with my buyer, I tried to find her something else. I called a local person who is familiar with this area and explained the situation and he said my next buyer would need 20% down for a conventional mortgage. I asked him to send me brochures and business cards, which he did. But now that I'm thinking about it, do you think they will undervalue my horse facilities because it's a conventional loan and then the property won't appraise out high enough? (The appraisal that was already done came out right on the money but it talked in detail about all the horse facilities.) Am I making any sense? Thanks.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2011 at 10:14PM
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Property taxes are $846 . . . a year!?

    Bookmark   March 18, 2011 at 9:33AM
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The value of your property has nothing to do with the type of loan a buyer might have, nor vice versa.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2011 at 9:36PM
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Okay. Thanks.

Yes Kelly, $846. a year and I'm trying to buy a place in New Jersey with property taxes that are $6700. a year! I'm crazy, right?! lol

    Bookmark   March 18, 2011 at 11:03PM
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Our property taxes in NY were $22,000 a year.


    Bookmark   March 19, 2011 at 2:19AM
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Wondering how I can move my life in Texas to a sweet little horse farm in Virginia . . .

    Bookmark   March 19, 2011 at 12:59PM
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What a beautiful place you have. I have a couple of suggestions. One; don't say small bedrooms, just say bedrooms. You have the sizes listed, people can judge for themselves. Really, only one of them seems small to me.

Two; your pictures are in no order. You should regroup them. Start with the front of the house and the porch. Then show the inside rooms. Put all of the bedroom pictures together and all of the kitchen together. I didn't see a picture of the bathroom, can you put a picture of it? You don't need all the pictures you have.

Next do the putside areas. Cut some of them, like the pictures of the dogs. Put all the barn and horse pictures together. Put all of the backyard/deck pictures togeather.

Some of your pictures are too dark and many of them look cluttered. For example clear all the small stuff off your kitchen countertops before the picture is taken.

You could get an estimate for converting the smallest bedroom into a bathroom. Even if you don't plan on doing it you could have it to show a buyer. I think a lot of people would perfer a 3 bedroom 2 bath house to a 4 bedroom 1 bath house.

Good luck, I hope you get another buyer soon!

    Bookmark   March 19, 2011 at 2:08PM
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I just looked at your listing on Zillow. Again, the order is strange. The first picture is of your above ground pool. You don't see the front of the house until picture number 19! You need to redo the order and put the front of the house first.

Also, your Zillow listing says 3 bedrooms, not 4.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2011 at 2:17PM
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I am not sure how I got on Zillow. One of the other websites I've advertised put it on there and I have no control over what they do. BUT you guys are right about the pictures on our website and I've been telling hubby (he's the computer guy) to put them in proper order. He's been dragging his feet about it because it's a lot of work. Maybe he'll give in since I told him what you guys said.

Happyladi, that's a great idea about getting an estimate for a second bathroom. This way I can show it to them and THEY can decide. Thanks everyone!

    Bookmark   March 19, 2011 at 9:08PM
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