Selling in the slow lane.

Drive Slow
Creative Commons License photo credit: biscuitsmlp

April Groves recently reminded me of a post I had written last summer which was originally published on another blog. I had forgotten I had written it and admittedly didn’t even recognize the words at first.

Now, one year later and with benefit of a shiny rear view mirror, I will say that much (most) of the point I was making turned out to be just flat-out wrong. I was accusing agents of rushing to judgement in lowering prices on listings. The slash and burn mentality I was criticizing turned out to be quite enlightened and even prophetic.

As I enjoy my breakfast of crow, however, some of my words are still very relevant. Sellers and their agents are experiencing life in the slow lane. It’s new to so many, and it takes both patience when you are confident in your pricing and the ability to admit when you are wrong and that it is time to regroup and reduce. Here are a couple of out takes from that article:

“The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing that you will make one”. Elbert Hubbard

Even veteran agents have seemingly forgotten that markets change, and with that, our approaches to the business need to adapt. Speedy-quick contracts, contracts proffered and negotiated without breaking a sweat, contracts which are all but guaranteed to make their way to the County Recorder’s office in 30 days with nary a hiccup, are a thing of the past. Unlike the new agent, they once lived a time when the hard part wasn’t “winning the listing”, but when the real work ensued once the contract was inked. Many seem to have forgotten.

Listings are becoming a dime a dozen, and it’s what you do with the listing and the trust the client has placed in you that now separates the men from the boys, the “salesmen” from the “professionals”. What does it take for an agent to successfully represent a seller today? Hard work, time (a lot), money (a boatload), and patience…

Granted, our market has more than its share of overpriced listings, but panic seems to be the new pink for Spring. It is time to buck the trend and dust off the classic suit, the one that never goes out of style. Stop seeing yourself as a salesperson, know your market, check your self-doubt at the door, and do what you were hired to do – Advise and represent your client and assist them in achieving the best price the market, not you, will allow.

Market times are long, the “fake” average hovering around 70 days for detached homes and closer to 120 days for attached properties in Scripps Ranch (fake, because this does not reflect the effect of listings that are refreshed with an odometer magically rolled back to zero). Actual market times are longer yet. If you are a seller, the idea of marketing a home for sale being a process and not an event has never been so true. If you are an agent, you know all too well that the costs associated with marketing a home for sale have increased dramatically and in large part due to longer market times. And, as with any dynamic environment, it is rare that you will hit that sweet spot of pricing out of the shoot. Predicting human behavior, and market value, is an art form at best. It becomes infinitely more difficult when the canvas keeps moving.

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