(Over)identifying with Home Sellers

“Stockholm Syndrome”:  a paradoxical psychological phenomenon wherein hostages express adulation and have positive feelings towards their captors that appear irrational in light of the danger or risk endured by the victims, essentially mistaking a lack of abuse from their captors as an act of kindness.


What’s potentially more harmful to a home seller’s pocketbook than a Realtor who recommends a price reduction too soon?

A Realtor who waits too long.

No Seller wants to hear — when their house sits on the market unsold, month after month — that their home is overpriced.

However, if the home has been well-prepped and aggressively marketed — and isn’t listed for $3 million — that prospect certainly looms larger as a function of market time.

It’s also the case that there are typically multiple, reinforcing signs that a particular home is overpriced.

Seller Denial

That is, if you’re looking for them.

So, there are few or no showings, or, if there are showings, the feedback consistently indicates that the home is overpriced (and why).

Or, the showing agents never respond to feedback requests at all (which, of course, is feedback).

Instead of drawing the obvious conclusion from the foregoing and asking for a price reduction, however, the listing agent convinces themself that the price isn’t wrong — the market is.

Patient — or Stubborn?

What happens next?

Once in a great while, the Seller’s (and Realtor’s) patience pays off, and a Buyer comes along who’ll pay the asking price (or relatively close).

Far more often, though, the home simply sits, quietly accumulating market time.

To re-ignite Buyer interest (and overcome their skepticism), such Sellers frequently have to resort to more and/or deeper price cuts than would have been necessary earlier in the listing.

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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