The “Golden Time”
Selling your home within the first 30 days — even first two weeks in the Washington DC metro area — is critically important if you want to get the most money the market will bear for your property. Think of it this way: there is a group of buyers out there that are motivated, ready, and actively looking for their new home. When your property becomes available to see, they will rush over to take a look. After that initial wave of buyers, the seller is left with new buyers who are just entering the market. And usually those new buyers will be just starting out and will want to see the world before making a commitment. If your property isn’t perfect for them they will wait for the next one, since they may not understand that there is no “perfect” house.
Also, when a listing is still new, buyers often feel lucky that they’ve found something special and were able to get in under contract before anyone else. In a very hot sellers market like we have today, a well-priced, show-ready property can receive multiple offers, results in bidding wars that not only mean an offer price over asking, but these offers are often very straightforward offers with few or no contingencies, a quick close, and sometimes cash. In short, the first week a property is on the market is the best and only time for a seller to enjoy the results of a well orchestrated launch that can yield multiple, highly qualified buyers jumping over themselves to buy that property. After the first week or so, that eager feeling to buy your property goes away and is replaced with a feeling that they are getting the “leftovers.”
From the seller perspective, a seller is in a much stronger negotiating position when the listing is still fresh. Buyers understand that the seller is not desperate, and don’t necessarily feel that they can come in with a low offer. Once a listing has been on the market for more than two weeks in our market, that feeling change, and your listing becomes a target of suspicion.
This is when sellers often think that buyers will at least come in with a low offer. Wrong! The statistics very clearly show that homes, once priced right, sell on average for 98% of asking price in our real estate market. Buyers are very savvy, and know when they are getting a good deal. Once a listing is priced right, buyers will make offers. However, price reductions over time just chase a market perception of the property that is also dropping, and so a seller ends up selling for less than they would have gotten at the start with a right price.