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Monday, November 19, 2007

Forget About It...

One aspect of the current market, which may have an unintended positive side effect, is that some sellers are getting so frustrated with the market that they are taking their houses off the market. These folks haven't given up wanting to sell, they've just lost the will to persevere (see my posting of August 14 on the 3-P's of Real Estate) through the current market.

It's not easy to be patient with the market, but it's even harder for some to persevere, which has connotations of keeping the house ready to show and putting up with short-fused requests to leave, so that the house can be shown. Many sellers get tired of that routine and just say the heck with it. Some rationalize their move by stating that they are just taking the house off for the winter, which is a tougher time to sell.

It is especially hard right now; because, so much of the competition in the market is from foreclosed houses and the pricing pressure that those houses bring onto the market is just ridiculous. So, many sellers have wandered away, mumbling to themselves about waiting out the market. That is likely to be a 2-3 year wait, at least until the market corrects and gets back to a more balanced level. The unintended consequence of these sellers wandering off is that they are actually helping to make that market correction by reducing the inventory a bit.

Of course, many people who are on the market right now don't have the luxury of waiting - either job moves or loss of jobs force many to sell no matter what the market is doing. For those folks, the third "P" in real estate - price - will likely be the determining factor on how long it takes, even if it means bringing money to the closing.

As with most answers that are on the extremes of any set of solutions, taking the house off the market is not the best answer. Winter is a time when the tire-kickers stay home and the people who do show up to see the house are normally serious buyers. I have seen a slight pickup in the number of serious buyers who are out looking for mid-range ($250-450K), move-up (or downsize) houses lately; so, I'm encouraged that at least a few people have enough confidence in their jobs and the future to get on with life. If your home is on the market, I'll show it. If not, oh well. You can't sell it, if it's not for sale.

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