fsbo w/mls listing when to reduce???

alexismApril 17, 2012

Hi all,

We have had our home on the market since March 8,2012. We originally decided to price our home a little higher to see if we would get any traffic at that price and reduce if not. In the first few weeks we had several showings all with positive feedback so we decided to stay at our existing price. There were a few lookers, re-lo, first time home buyers, etc. It seems that the general consensus was that they loved our home it was staged perfectly for showings, super clean, well-maintained, and some even asked if we had used an interior designer so I know the home shows well. The only problem was that most couples it was their first home and first time out looking and the wanted to be sure they were making the right decision. Two couples each had 3 kids and loved the home but wanted a game-room area for their children.

Since listing our home we've received one incredibly low ball offer (less than what we paid for the home), and two offers around $25k below our reduced asking price with contingencies of them selling their current home.

We aren't exactly in a hurry to get out of our home it is more a matter of convenience. My husband took a new job and the commute (hour and 1/2 most days) is beginning to wear on him.

We live in a very nice town/area and have made a lot of high end improvements to the home since purchasing and feel that our home is worth its current asking price (new wide plank hand scraped hardwood floors throughout first floor, all new paint, new kitchen cabinets, granite, new fixtures, lighting, fully landscaped front and backyard w/new sod and plants, new spa cover,etc. ) Our home is on a cul-de-sac and also backs up to a private greenbelt ( no neighbors behind). We're considering reducing another 10k but that is almost the number we need to get out of the house after closing fees, buyer's agent commission, etc. Another problem that we have is two houses in our neighborhood were recently dumped for not much money due to sellers needing out fast. These homes have been used as comps but the home/ lack of updates don't even compare to ours. I don't want to get in a situation of making constant reductions and fear that since 5 weeks have already passed that we are no longer hot on the market. Any advice?

Here is a link that might be useful: Link to our home's MLS listing

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I am familiar with the area and recently bought a home not terribly far away (not in the Woodlands and we have acreage so not comparable). That said, I think your price is too high just looking at the other houses available in the area.

Whether an offer is lowball or not doesn't have much to do with how much you paid for it. We bought a house within 20 minutes or so from your house and the sellers sold it us for less than they paid for it 4 years ago. In fact, last year we sold a house that we bought in 2006 and we sold it for less than we paid for it.

Yes, the Woodlands is a nice area but there are a lot of homes available in the Woodlands and quite a few of them back up to a greenbelt, are on a cul-de-sac and are landscaped and have granite, etc.

Now aside from the price, you need to improve your pictures. You have 14 and I think you can have 32. I would put up a lot more pictures. I would want to see pics of the secondary bedrooms and maybe secondary bathroom, even the utility room if you have one. On your listing you show a 11x15 extra room. What is that? I would put a picture of it (or is that the sitting room attached to the master). Also put captions on the pictures.

On picture 2 I don't know what that room is. Is it a study (desk is very small) or what?

Picture 3 - I guess this is the dining room. Frankly with the half walls and the dining table that takes up so much space the room looks really small. Also the white is overwhelming. Just not a flattering picture.

Pictures 4-6 -- great kitchen and breakfast room but the pictures are awful. They are too dark.

Picture 7 - I guess this is the living room? Or is this the den? I would take a picture of each, but you only have a picture of one of them (I assume that the den and the study are different rooms. If they aren't the listing needs to be corrected). Room looks small in the pics.

Pic 8 - I guess this is the master bedroom with a sitting area? Again, put captions on. The angle for the master bedroom doesn't show much. Don't try to show the master and the sitting room in one picture -- just makes the room look small. I want to see more of the master bedroom.

Pic 9 - Looks bluish. Also angle of the pic doesn't do much for me.

Pic 10 -- OK but I would take trash can out and retake the pic.

Pic 11 and 12 -- These just serve to make your yard look really small.

Pic 13 - Fairly nice but I would vary the angle a bit so you see more of the spa and less of the plant.

Pic 14 - blurry

    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 6:54PM
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First I have to say that your home is beautiful! I dont know the area at all so I cant comment on the price. I have to disagree though with kats, I think you have enough pictures and they show enough to give a buyer a feel for your home. When looking at homes, I dont have to see every corner of every room. One can tell from looking at 14 pictures whether they are interested to arrange for a showing or not.

Good luck with your sale.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 7:03PM
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Just because your home has upgrades doesn't mean that you get the price of those upgrades back in a higher selling price. Buyers don't care what you "need" out of a house, all they care about is the comps, including foreclosures and the two low priced sales you mentioned. You started out overpriced and are already behind the 8 ball. 10K isn't going to do it. cut it 20K and hope that you can attract someone without a contingency.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 7:06PM
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I'm with kat's meow & live wire oak. Unless you bought the home more than maybe 10 years ago, you may not get more than you paid for it & the improvements. You may not need more photos, but you could get better ones -- try bracketing the exposures if you have a camera that allows that.
As a buyer, if a house has been on the market more than two or three months I might expect to see a reduction. But things seem to be moving slowly, and as you are not in a hurry, you could try at that price a while longer. But I don't know the area and how you priced your home; usually you want 3-5 good comparable sales & then adjust according to features (size, renos,etc) but that may still not be as much as you paid for it.
Hope this helps

    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 7:30PM
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Those neighbors that dumped their homes because they had to sell. They are now real comps. You need to adjust your asking price to be in line with those comps. Don't price much more than the comps even with your upgrades...maybe $5-$7k over the comps if comps were in so-so shape. If comps are pretty nice, give yourself $4k more for the granite/stainless/spa.

This is reality. I had to do this when I sold when a few neighbors dumped their homes and my comps were outdated homes against my home with many new updates. I had to price very close to the comps since this was now the market. I suppose after I sold, other neighbors thought I dumped my home as well. This is really just the new market price and it is so shocking we tend to think someone "dumped" a home cheaply when they sold it for the new market rate.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 9:16PM
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I dont know the area at all so I cant comment on the price. I have to disagree though with kats, I think you have enough pictures and they show enough to give a buyer a feel for your home. When looking at homes, I dont have to see every corner of every room. One can tell from looking at 14 pictures whether they are interested to arrange for a showing or not.

I am familiar with the area. We recently bought not far from this house (we bought a different type since we bought in an acreage subdivision but I'm generally familiar with the area). When were looking at this local MLS most houses in this price range showed more than 14 photos, usually more than 20 and often the full 32.

When I saw a listing with only a few pictures -- not enough to show all the rooms I did wonder why. I remember one house that I was vacillating on whether to ask for a showing. There was no pic of the master bath so I assumed it wasn't nice -- didn't have a separate toilet room or something. Finally, the house was near another house we were going to look at so I went to look at it. The bathroom was fine but the lack of a picture could easily have caused me not to look.

When there are major rooms not pictured I always wonder why and assume there is something unappealing about them....

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 1:11AM
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Sounds like you made the most common mistake(s) that a seller can make. You started your asking price "on the high end". And since you are the seller/owner and broker, that sales price is probably even more above the average than you think. And the # of showings that you are seeing - heavy in the first few weeks, and then a trickle every now and then - is how it goes. Your most attractive price should be presented to buyers when there is the most buyers. And that is at the time when you first put the home on the market. At any one given time, there are X amount of buyers that match your home's criteria. Let's say it is 10 buyers. When you put your home in the MLS, those 10 buyers will see it and over the next few weeks, they will schedule a showing. This is the influx of showings that you experienced at the beginning. Since the home was overpriced, there was no contract. Now, as that group of 10 buyers finds other homes to buy, they eventually leave the market. As these buyers leave, you now have to wait on their replacements. And these repacement buyers come into the market one at a time. Which is why you are now seeing showings scheduled every now and again, as opposed to when you first put it on the market. So yes, you did waste this most advantageous time, the first few weeks, by being overpriced.
Since you received two offers at $25000 less than asking, you are probably about $15,000 overpriced. And it does not matter about your kitchen... all of the kitchens in the Woodlands are looking like yours.
Do not get caught up with trying to "break even" on the home. You are not there. And the Market will call you out every time. Save up and bring the difference to the closing table like so many others are doing. Good luck.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 7:42AM
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We are a young couple and this is our first selling experience and first FSBO experience so I knew that it would also be a learning experience. Fortunately for us we don't necessarily have to move it is more of a choice and therefore we can take the time to figure out what is working/what is not and how to proceed forward.

I appreciate your advice and taking the time to give your opinions on the matter. To answer kats_meow's question about our number of pictures- We went with a flat fee MLS broker not your traditional realtor and as a result they only allowed us to upload 14 pics max (it was actually 12 but I was able to talk them into allowing us a couple more). The broker told us only to list the main rooms and outdoor areas for selling purposes (study,dining,kitchen,living room and master). I think the pictures have been good enough to get quite a few people in for showings but I can see where better/more detailed shots could possibly bring in an even larger amount of potential buyers. We weren't sure if we should spend the extra money for that since we have had several showings and are already taking a loss but clearly it is something that needs to be addressed and will hopefully open up a larger pool of potentials for us.

I think our new strategy will be to remove our current listing while we have a professional photographer come in to get better quality and more detailed photos of our home and then come back on with our newly adjusted price point in order to capture those potential buyers.

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 8:58AM
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When to reduce your price? When you get serious about selling your house.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 10:28AM
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