Statistics on Home Sales

Articles on home sales fill the internet lately, and most people cite those statistics without doing a deeper dive, or having the background information to interpret the data.  But it is imperative that you know where the numbers come from that influence your decisions related to buying a home, or selling your existing home, or both.  And it is important that you understand your market well enough to truly understand what the data is telling you, or whether it even applies.

I just read a article that said existing home sales are down 2.6%.  For many, that would be the end of the story.  But in my market, if existing home sales are down at all, it is definitely not due to the economy; it is because there is a shortage of listings.  In other words, MANY realtors have clients standing in line to buy existing homes, but there just aren’t any available to buy in their price point.  IMPORTANT: If you are thinking of selling YOUR existing home, this is GREAT news for you!  Supply is low and demand is VERY high.  This means many thousands more dollars in your pocket!  So in this case a 2.6% drop is not bad news. In fact, it’s a reason to celebrate.  And that is in the Raleigh/Triangle market, not in Chattanooga.

Something else to consider is seasonal effect on data.  Most folks don’t want to have their home on the market for sale during November and December, because of the holidays.  And during summer vacation time, it’s not unusual to see a slow down in buying activity.  It doesn’t predict gloom and doom for the market; rather, data predict typical human habits and traditions.  I always have homes closing over both Thanksgiving and Christmas, so some folks clearly take advantage of the lower supply of homes and they list, or they take advantage of the holiday slowdown to take advantage of buying at potentially a lower price.  See how this works?  Make the data work in your favor by understanding it.

The other thing you need to dig out of these articles is the source of the data.  I just looked at a chart showing lowest time on the market for existing homes.  I know our time on the market here is much lower, on average, than what the chart showed.  So I found the small print and saw that the data came from San Francisco CA, Billings MT, Chattanooga TN.  This data had NOTHING to do with our local market.  So be sure you know where these “stats” come from.  In fact, in some neighborhoods, I can almost predict when a home will go under contract, based on that community’s time on the market.  In the last case I examined, time on the market was about 40 days, lower than that chart indicated from these other areas.

The bottom line is this, and you’ve heard it a thousand times: Real estate is local.  Now that sounds a bit ridiculous, right?  But the saying is packed with truth.  What happens in San Francisco has nothing to do with us, here in the Raleigh/Triangle market.  Each day we have 60+ people moving here, needing homes.  EACH DAY.  So our market is always healthy, or healthier, than markets anywhere else in the US.  This means if the economy crashes, we will slow down, but not as much as most other markets in the whole country.  So don’t be afraid to buy, and I will beg:  Please list your existing home.  I can sell it!  I probably have a buyer waiting.

Stubborn and real estate don’t mix.

The One Hundred Thousand Dollar Stubborn Streak
(or, Blood is Shooting Out of My Eyes)

There is a …maybe a million dollar home which just sold for about ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS less than its value, primarily because of one outstanding attribute of the sellers: Stubbornness. I have to talk about this, people. I just have to. These sellers deserve to be applauded, even lauded for their supreme grasp of the phenomenon of stubbornness, because they took it to soaring heights and even paid six figures for the sake of holding on to it. They are my champions so far. Nobody else beats this streak.

Somebody will though. Somebody will. You can’t make this stuff up.

Don’t get me wrong. They’re lovely folks. But they take resistance to good solid advice, presented in the interest of getting them top dollar, to new heights. Or should I say depths. I should say depths. There it is. I am not the listing agent by the way. If I WAS I couldn’t write because you can’t write with an exploded head.

I’ve run across this tendency many times in my career. Usually the ones who own it best are the ones who think they are the Realtors, the ones with professional real estate training and professional real estate experience, even though they’ve never actually BEEN a Realtor. They think this because 1) they have big egos; 2) they think they are smarter than everybody else…everybody; 3) they hold Realtors in low esteem; 4) they don’t do well with separating emotion from business; and 5) they have bought or sold a home before. Okay and 6) they want to hold on to their ‘decorating’ theme…and I use that term loosely at times…even at the cost of oh say ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS!

I can hear all of the realtors saying, “AMEN!”. No, wait. Some are looking around and saying, “Are you kidding me? One hundred THOUSAND?” That’s right. I’m not kidding. Do I look like I’m kidding with smoke coming out of my ears over here??

You need to think about this. Just because you’ve been IN a courtroom, does that make you an attorney? Because you’ve had surgery, are you now a surgeon? If you’ve had surgery twice are you now CHIEF of surgery? I think some people think they ARE! If you look at beautiful art, are you then an artist? NO! So why would you think that just because you’ve bought or sold a home, or bought AND sold one, you are now a Realtor?? It makes about as much sense as the art analogy or any of the others. People, you are not the real estate agents; you are the CLIENTS. I should make a sign.

Gone are the days when realtors are the ones who can’t do anything else and that’s why they’re realtors. That was gone a LONG time ago. Realtors today are educated, strong, talented and up to the minute with stats on YOUR market. We have to be because everybody sues EVERYBODY these days…yes even CLIENTS (that would be YOU), whom we protect. We have a responsibility to you that we take very seriously. 

We protect you, we encourage you and we do our level BEST to make sure you get the MOST for your home that the market will bear. The way we DO that is by making sure you know how to be COMPETITIVE. We tell you what will make your home stand out and get that buyer to make an offer on your home, and we advise you about how you can make that offer SING, not hack like a life-long smoker about to keel over. You can listen to us, OR, you can disregard us and lose ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS.

Here’s a good one. Even after receiving feedback after feedback about grandma’s quilt or the blue wall or the CLUTTER do you think ANYTHING gets changed? NOOOOO! You can’t make this stuff up! You really can’t! The market speaks and some clients pat their ears and say, “la la la la I can’t hear you”. Now I’m crying.

Can you tell I’m upset? I’M UPSET.

And these sellers are mad at the REALTORS!!!! We are the ones who warned you about being competitive, about LISTENING to the feedback and actually DOING something about it. We are the ones who tried to get you top dollar!! My head is about to explode. I can hear it expanding. I really can. It’s creaking.

There was no earthly reason for this house selling this low except for pure, unadulterated, boiled down, precipitated, strained, dried, sifted, freeze-dried, died in the wool STUBBORNESS. Now blood is coming out of my ears too. THIS WAS COMPLETELY UNNECESSARY, LOSING THIS KIND OF INVESTMENT DOLLARS!

Let me alert you. I have two college degrees, one in chemistry, a subject which makes most people cringe. And I graduated at the top of my class. The other degree is in business, where I studied marketing, economics, sales…I’m good at what I do and I’m qualified to have an ego just as big as anybody else. That’s why, if I visit you to talk about selling your home, you should listen to me. And you should listen to other realtors who have been down this road a thousand times and who tell you exactly what you need to do to be competitive in this market. We don’t make this stuff up, people. It’s based on data. Set aside the stubborn streak and think about what you might do with ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS. Is it worth paying that much to keep your grandmother’s quilt on the bed or that neon blue wall in the den? NO! IT’S NOT! For crying out loud, redecorate or paint! You’re LEAVING, remember? Is there still LOGIC in the world? I think there is, but why not in REAL ESTATE?? If you have a 14×14 foot room and enough junk in it to fill an 18×18 foot room, MOVE SOME STUFF OUT! Or, think about what you could do with ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS that you are about to flush down the gold plated TOILET.

You’re selling space, wide open space. Not your ‘décor’, not your grandma’s quilt, not that carving of an amoeba eating a shark. NOT that flower arrangement you made when you were on the crack pipe. SPACE is all you are selling. And not neon blue space. If you have to kick chairs and pillows out of the way to get INTO a neon blue room, LIGHTEN UP THE CLUTTER or kill me now. This is not rocket science, people. I’ve done rocket science; this ain’t it.
So there was this couple who sold their home for ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND less than market value, but they showed US didn’t they? I don’t think so. I think they shot themselves in the foot. Twice. Per foot.