Recently, a fairly common question from home sellers in the Comox Valley real estate market is “Why hasn’t my house sold?” At the end of this week, I had these types of discussions with several sellers. After spending time explaining why this was the case, we jointly agreed to a plan and it was implemented. Four sales in the past few weeks is not that bad.
Before focusing on this specific question, let’s discuss our Comox Valley real estate market. Today’s featured and market priced Comox Valley homes for sale market is not the market of 2006 and 2007 when many sellers who are selling today purchased their homes. We are living with a significantly different market now compared to then. This is borne out by comparing any number of statistics such as inventory levels, sell to list ratios, time to sell, and price. Back then the real estate market was robust and active and homes were selling at all price levels. Today this is not the case. In fact, today’s market is also different from that of even a year ago. While statistics will bear this out, there is nothing like first-hand experience. A RE/MAX Ocean Pacific Realty realtor colleague recently remarked to me that this past spring was the worst that he had experienced in the past 20 years. While we could debate how accurate his observation is, the fact that he made it at all is telling. I could go into a lot of detail and provide a number of statistics to illustrate what I am talking about but, perhaps more useful, is to discuss what can be done about it.
Comox Valley home sellers often do not want to hear that their home is worth less than they think it is. Who does? Sellers also often believe that their home is better than other comparable homes near theirs. This is to be expected. Sellers bought, own, and live in the homes that they are now trying to sell. Many have some emotional connection with their own home. This is perfectly normal and to be expected. When emotions are involved, a purely objective and logical approach is made more difficult. You have probably heard the expression “don’t confuse me with the facts”. This expression can often have relevance to the real estate market when a seller is trying to sell in a buyer’s market.
The downtown core element of the Courtenay property market continues to be a buyer’s market but the market has changed since last year. To be successful in this market, it is important to be as objective as possible and make decisions based on the facts that are present in today’s market. Preparation and presentation continue to be important to a home sale. Price is also very relevant.
Let’s discuss a hypothetical example;
- Point 1. A seller wants to sell a home and thinks that their home is the nicest in the neighbourhood. Problem 1. Nice is a relative assessment made subjectively. What would a typical buyer think of the same home?
- Point 2. The seller has a predetermined price in mind to list the home based on what they paid for the home and what they have invested in the home. Problem 2. If the home purchase was made in a different market the purchase price may not be entirely relevant. As well, investments in a home can and do realize significantly different returns on investment. Money invested in a kitchen will generally realize different returns than money invested in a laundry room or patio area.
- Point 3. The seller has spent a lot of money on their home and thinks that all of the money spent counts towards its current value. Problem 3. Money spent to maintain a home (property taxes, maintenance, etc) have no bearing on the value of a home other than how well it is maintained from a “saleability” perspective. A well maintained home will generally be easier to sell than a comparable home that is not well maintained.
- Point 4. My friend (or family member) says my home is worth XXXX. Problem 4. Well meaning friends and family can often give bad advice when they do not know the specifics of a home selling situation and the local market.
The market value of a Comox Valley property and does change over time. A seller who puts a home on the market at a specific list price needs to be open to adjusting the price as the market changes if they truly wish to sell it. Real estate agents should tell sellers what they need to hear to sell their homes and NOT just what they think the seller wants to hear to obtain the listing. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.
As a seller, if your home is not getting any showings, this generally means that your list price is above the current market. Remember that the market is driven by what Comox Valley home buyers are prepared to pay. Anyone can ask whatever they want for something but if nobody is prepared to pay the asking price, the item will not sell. If your home is getting showings but no offers, price is often a factor. Some other things can also play a role in why this is happening.
This short blog just scratches the surface of a very important topic. If your home has not sold perhaps it is time for a change. New price? New approach? New Realtor? One thing is often certain. If you continue to do the same thing time and time again and get no results, you should not expect a different result if you elect to continue to do the same thing. Contact me if you decide to change realtors and let’s discuss why your home has not sold so that we can develop a plan to get it sold.
by Brett Cairns