I have been following the progress on a couple of homes currently for sale in my area. These are homes I have seen and I have spoken to the owners about their goals and reasons for selling their homes. In each case they owners selected very good agents and they have, for the most part, done a great job of showcasing and marketing the homes. So why aren’t these homes selling?
These are very nice homes, in great neighborhoods with great schools. The homeowners have maintained the properties well. While they don’t have lots of upgrades they are all move in ready with fresh paint, nice carpeting and no deferred maintenance. So why aren’t these homes selling?
My comments are based on speaking with lots of potential buyers that I meet weekly at open houses. These buyers are smart, savvy and have done their homework. Oftentimes they know the market at least as well as I do, and I live real estate everyday. These buyers are prequalified in most cases or have at least an idea of what they can reasonably afford. They are taking their time to understand the home buying process and explore neighborhoods to find the right fit for themselves. They know what they want and what it takes to get it. They also know what they don’t want and what turns them off. They ask questions about area prices, resale value, schools and neighborhoods. They actually make my job a little easier because they have educated themselves. They are conservative in what they want to pay and how much home they want. Most of them are trying to avoid being “house poor” so that they can have a life with a home, not a life after a home.
My conversations with these new buyers are very insightful. From them I have learned that unlike the Baby Boomers who wanted “fixer” homes as their first purchase, these buyers want everything done. They don’t want to have to paint the interior as the first order of business. They don’t want to install carpet before they even get their furniture inside. They don’t want to become handymen and handywomen just to get the basics covered. They want a home they can move into, put their furniture in place and live for several years before they make changes.
According to the latest NAR Buyers and Sellers Profile the average buyer and the average seller are from two different generations. I heard someone recently refer to the current group of sellers as nostalgic. I am not sure if that means they want a return to the 2004-2006 prices, the “fixer” home as highly sought after or house hunting done in the local Sunday newspaper real estate section. I also heard someone refer to the current group of buyers as emotionally disconnected. I think that means these new buyers use Yelp reviews or the consensus of their friends when choosing a home, I will say the new buyers I meet don’t fall into this description.
Whatever the term you want to use, I find that the most successful home sellers are those who recognize and accept the wants of the new buyers. No matter how you dissect the market, buyers are the new drivers and sellers the new passengers.