Why A Westfield, New Jersey Home That Takes Too Long To Sell, Always Sells For Less


Many people interested in selling their homes often fall into the pattern of thinking: "Any realtor can sell my home cheaply and quickly, but why should I give it away?


What this implies, of course, is that realtors are mainly lazy (or greedy) and are looking to minimize their time and dollar investment by hastily pushing for a quick sale.


In reality, such a statement reveals a fundamental misunderstanding of the important relationship between market time and the ultimate sale price of a home.


Market Dynamics

A dichotomy occurs in every transaction wherein the seller wishes to extract as much money from the buyer as possible, while the buyer wishes to retain as much money as possible.  What many sellers may not realize is except when the market is unusually positive -- such as during the housing boom of 2001-2005 -- having your house listed on the market for a longer period of time does not insure that it will sell for more. In reality, many regrettably find the opposite is true, with houses slowly diminishing in value the longer they are listed.  


For most homes, interest and activity reaches its peak two weeks or so after the initial listing, and then gradually trails off.  As the house stays listed longer with no sale, the perception of value by buyers begins to diminish. When that happens, sellers often end up desperately trying to chase the market down to try and sell – and usually at a reduced profit.  

In order to get the most out of a potential sale a seller needs to capitalize on the point when interest in a home is highest from buyers. This period of maximum excitement represents the narrow window in which the seller can expect to receive the most money possible for the sale of their home. For whatever reason, this fundamental pattern seems to hold true in almost all market conditions and is likely attributable to human nature at work. The phenomenon can best be explained by relating it to people's unwillingness to eat in restaurants that are empty. The psychological term for this instinct is known as social validation, and it basically posits that human nature will cause us to follow the crowd, an idea that is important for selling. Sadly, many sellers (even listing agents) seem unaware of this dynamic and lose considerable money because of it.

Embracing The Opportunity

Simply stated, sellers must capitalize on the market at its peak; otherwise they will miss their opportunity, and thus lose all bargaining power. As it becomes apparent that a seller is attempting to bargain with no leverage, they will inevitably be exposed to low-ball offers. Even worse, buyers may lose interest in the listing altogether. Sadly this is happening to far too many sellers. For this reason, sellers need to find a listing agent committed to selling their home during the sweet spot of the market for as much money as will be possible. The ultimate goal of any listing should be to sell the home while it is fresh in the mind of potential buyers and maximize sales price by capitalizing on the buyer's excitement

Peter Jordan is a realtor in Westfield, New Jersey committed to helping and informing home buyers and sellers.

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