“Serious” vs. “Non-Serious” Home Sellers

Men are like taxis. The theory is that when a man is ready for, or open to, the possibility of a relationship he turns his taxi light on. If you happen to be the girl that hails the cab (him) while the light is on, you’ve got a possibility of a decently long ride. But if you grab a cab with the light off, it doesn’t really matter what you do, it’s just not going to go anywhere.

–Candace Bushnell, “Sex and the City”

Substitute “serious home sellers” for “men” in the quote above, and you have a pretty good shorthand for what’s going on in the housing market at any given moment. (And no, this isn’t meant to be sexist; arguably the same phenomenon applies to single women.)

Just consider all the contrasts between “Serious” and “Non-Serious” home sellers (“motivated” and “unmotivated,” if you prefer):

Serious: Price their home consistently with the Comp’s (“Comparable Sold Properties”).
Non-Serious: List their home at a price that nets them “what they need” — or what their neighbor got 3 years ago.

Serious: If feedback and days on market indicate the price is unrealistic, reduces the price 3%-5% at regular intervals.
Non-Serious: Won’t budge from the original list price. Or, after an eon of market time, will cancel-and-relist . . . at the same price.

: Ferociously cleans and de-clutters before hitting the market. Donates accumulated stuff to charity to make their home feel as big as possible. Spends a nominal amount on cosmetic updating (painting, floor refinishing, landscaping, etc.) as needed. Brings in a stager — and takes their advice!
Non-Serious: Thinks their home is perfect as is — so why do anything?

Serious: Accommodates showing requests whenever possible. Cleans, empties the Kitchen sink, turns on all the lights, etc. ahead of first showings — and especially second showings!
Non-Serious: Does none of the above. Thinks showings are a good time to water the lawn . . . in their underwear!

Serious: Has the municipal point-of-sale inspection done prior to going on the market, and fixes any items listed.
Non-Serious: Leaves the point-of-sale inspection for if/when there’s a Buyer (illegal in some cities).

Serious: Hires a good, full-service Realtor who tells them all of the foregoing, markets early (pre-list) and energetically, negotiates well, knows the neighborhood, etc.
Non-Serious: Hires the cheapest Realtor they can find — or none.

And on and on.

While serious home sellers don’t literally turn on the equivalent of a taxi light — based on all the things they do (or not) — they’re just as easy for Realtors and prospective Buyers to identify.
About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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