It's a war zone out there in local Essex County, NJ real estate, as it is almost everywhere else. Since 2008, some sellers have tried and tried again to move -- and they're still living in the same house. Rather than positioning these houses where they could really even sell, they top off pricing in a no-man's land, then endure months, even years of visits from cautious, unresponsive buyers who just aren't feelin' it, receive oodles of analytics about their market and their neighborhood sales, see all the dire headlines, all the while protesting that their agents just aren't working hard enough to make it happen. Despite relentless public feedback about what their houses DON'T have, where it AREN'T located, and what THE AREN'T priced at, our intrepid band of oblivious sellers maintain that the whole world is wrong.
Meanwhile, plenty of other homes sell, and what does that do? It reaffirms the contrarian's view that his or her house is better and deserves more -- and that next season or next year, this month's inflated price will be vindicated by that one buyer who better understands just how great the house really is.
We Realtors have been through this more times than we'll admit to counting. Just recently, I received one such seller protestation that quietly pushed me over the edge into stark, raving Realtor madness: "My objective," he announced, "continues to be to sell my home at a price consistent with my perceived value of the home and at a price that will allow me to recover the investment I have made in my home over the last several years. It is my hope that this will happen soon."
That, after six months on the market, a series of glacially arrived at price reductions totalling $80,000; about 10 showings; and another half-dozen showings rejected because the owner wouldn't accomodate less than 24 hours notice. In that time period, during which we exchanged some 75 detailed email discussions, the immediate market swelled to near 400 listings, more than 50 of them similarly priced. Meanwhile, prices of local solds that provide appraisers with tools to analyze a home's value, dropped faster than we could keep up.
Without a seller's unconditional need to sell a house today at a price consistent with the market as it is today, failure is the outcome. The seller who says he's withdrawing the listing to try again next spring or next fall at the same price, hasn't a clue about value, does not get it and doesn't feel the need to get it because - and we hear this every day - "I don't really need to sell."
If it could talk, really talk, the beleaguered real estate market itself would rise up and say it loud and clear: Then don't! Our market glut isn't exclusively from short sales and foreclosures; it's also caused by the try, try again crowd to whom every indignity associated with selling with today's real estate conditions is a badge of honor. Go figure.