Sellers Who “Fall on Their Sword” (or, Did They??)

Even in a Seller’s market, not all homes are destined to sell in multiple offers — or at all.

When that’s the case, assuming the Seller is genuinely motivated to sell, and the home is already optimally prepped, staged, marketed, etc., a price reduction is indicated.

Depending on Buyer interest (or lack thereof), the typical drop is between 2% and 5%.

So, what can Buyers read into a listing where the Seller who just lopped a gargantuan $100k (over 14%!) off their asking price earlier this week? (from $700k to $600k).

Answer:  not much, at least without more context.

“$100k Off!!”

That’s because there are (at least) four possible explanations:

Scenario #1: the home was egregiously overpriced, and slashing $100k merely corrects that (or starts to).

Scenario #2: the Seller is trying to foment multiple offers, betting that the resulting premium will recoup a good chunk of the price reduction.

Scenario #3:  The home was under contract; the Buyer’s inspection turned up a HUGE issue, prompting them to cancel; and now the homeowner is disclosing the defect, and trying to jump-start interest (as the locals would say, “uff-da“).

Scenario #4: the Seller is (suddenly?) acutely motivated, and wants (needs?) to sell ASAP, regardless of price.

Market Re-positioning

So, which is it?

The only way to know for sure is to know the market — specifically, the 3-4 Comp’s (“Comparable Sold Properties”) that establish the fair market value for any given home.

Anecdotally, however, as a long-time Twin Cities Realtor, I associate such precipitous drops with Scenario #1.

Which is why I think most veteran agents eschew them, and instead press their clients for a more-realistic initial list price.

See also, “Nurse! I Need a Price Reduction, Stat!!”

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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