We have just moved through an incredibly strong spring market. In May, for example, in zip code 15143 we put 38% more homes under agreement than we did last year at the same time. We are now in the expected decline of late summer, dropping from a high of 36 homes under agreement in May to only 10 homes under agreement in July (well below the 20 we had last July). In response to a very strong spring, more sellers have entered the market, although inventory levels have remained reasonably stable. Historic trends predict that inventory levels will dip slightly in December before we start the cycle all over again next April.
Sellers have already perceived the drop in the summer market and are anxious if their home hasn’t sold. Buyers, if you sat on the sidelines all summer, or are just entering the market, now is the best time to act. Sellers are correctly wondering if they will have to carry their home through the winter. If they were ever going to be motivated, now would be the time. You also have significantly less competition – far less chance of ending up in a bidding war.
Sellers, if you are actually motivated to sell and not just testing the market, it is critical that you adjust your price to market. We have a tremendous amount of overpriced inventory – it is most likely that homes that have not sold because the market does not match price to existing condition. That is not true in every case – there are some unique homes that just require waiting for the right buyer, but if your home has been on the market for more than 60 days without an offer, you are probably priced too high or have conditions that must be attended to. If you are getting feedback and the conditions are correctable, correct them! If you do get an offer, even a low one, work with it! At this time of year, sellers must balance price, condition and patience. Sure a higher price might be achieved – if you are willing to wait it out until next April. But in the dog days of summer, if you must go and have tested the market already, then your only remaining options are condition or price adjustments.