Sue Fox, @Properties. Direct 773.816.1788

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Chicago home sellers: Should you stay or should you go now?

filed under: Chicago home prices, Chicago home sales, Lincoln Square, Market conditions, Sellers posted on January 25th, 2011

A couple days ago I met with a group of about 25 seasoned @properties realtors to discuss a weighty topic in our topsy-turvy industry: pricing. Leading the discussion was Paul Boyd, our assistant managing broker and performance coach, who emphasized that Chicago homes that aren’t selling in today’s market are, by definition, over-priced. If they were priced correctly, he pointed out, they would attract a buyer.

THE PRICE IS RIGHT: This 3-bedroom Lincoln Square house sold

THE PRICE IS RIGHT: This 3-bedroom Lincoln Square house sold in October for $504,000. But it was on the market for nearly two years. A classic case of over-pricing, the house was rehabbed and originally listed for $744,000 in 2008. The price was then reduced five times to $725,000; $619,900; $599,000; $575,000; and finally $545,000. Whew!

The realtors gathered around the conference room swapped stories about stubborn sellers who refused to lower their prices, their homes gathering dust without showings for months. We recalled others — the ones who listened to us! — who agreed to a reasonable price right off the bat and quickly found buyers. We lamented the difficulty of telling “the brutal truth” to sellers: Your property is worth much less than you had hoped.

Finally, Paul advised one of us to tell a seller (someone who was unwilling to lower her price, despite being on the market for months with no showings), “I think you should stay here.”

Because that, after all, is what it really comes down to. Do you want to move, or do you want to stay? And if the answer is move, that usually means you are going to have to lower your price. More than you wanted to. More than your neighbor did when she sold two summers ago. Maybe more than you can really afford. But enough so that buyers who are out house-hunting this spring will actually come to visit your home, realize that it is well-priced, and be confident enough to make an offer.

How much is enough? Your realtor should have a pretty good idea. Ask her or him to sit down with you and carefully explain the comps for your neighborhood and type of home, so that you can see clearly what similar properties are selling (or not selling) for. If your home is already on the market, consider how much traffic you’ve been getting and what comments prospective buyers have made.

And whatever you do, do not simply leave your house or condo on the market for months at the same price! If it’s not selling, that means it’s priced too high for the current market. And if you’re not willing to lower the price, as Paul says, maybe you should just stay put.

Written by Sue Fox //

  1. Aimee Renkes

    I really enjoy your honest perspective of the real estate market and totally agree with you! “I think you should stay here” is difficult advice to receive but is the professional advice to give.

    Would have been fun to be a fly on the wall of that meeting with all of those @ properties agents! Keep up the great work!

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