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How to be patient while waiting for an offer?

May 24, 2019

Our house went on the market 7 days ago. We've had 2 showings and neither made an offer. One almost did but they were looking for their out-of-state parents, who decided it wasn't a good fit. The house is not cookie cutter and I know will take the right buyer and need to be at the right price.

I think I am most frustrated and discouraged because of people who say they had multiple offers in 24 or 48 hours for $x above the asking price. Who are these people?? Those are not our market and it's comparing apples to oranges, I know, but it's still exasperating. I have not once had a positive selling experience and sometimes feel we just get really unlucky with things we can't control.

We've worked hard for the last 10 months getting the house in tip-top shape, doing most of the work ourselves. I've made it spotless and done de-cluttering, depersonalizing, and staging. I keep it pristine and show ready every day, inside and out. I've tried to do all the "right" things. Since it went on the market, we've had 7 straight days of rain so no one is really looking in those conditions, I suspect. We have rain forecasted for at least another 7-10 days. And we do not live where there is a lot of rain!

This is the zillow listing - https://www.zillow.com/homes/for_sale/104623764_zpid/43.479362,-114.224017,43.451797,-114.269937_rect/14_zm/1_fr/?view=public

I am not completely confident in our agent and think he should be doing more. But then I wonder if I am too demanding or my expectations are too high. Is there anything else I can/should do? Or should I stop fretting and for the love of all things sacred, just relax?

Comments (23)

  • maifleur01

    Take those rugs away, one of those bookcases, whatever that thing on top of that small room that sticks out, declutter the bathrooms even more with towels that look new and nothing on or laying across the top of the stool.. Remove the hose from the outside spigot. That covering of the window well being at that angle looks odd. Straighten the drapes in picture 25 and remove that thing above the door. Ask agent to do a reshoot and also remove the extra pictures and that one chair with the red throw and pillow both of which should be removed. There is way too much decorating especially all of those rugs that other than the bedroom can be rolled up and put somewhere during any showing. All those throws and extras on the beds detract from the clean lines that people are currently looking for.

  • Denita

    What has your agent done so far that you like and that you dislike?

    What are the comparable sold properties in the area?

  • nini804

    I disagree with the above poster. I think your staging looks very nice. It straddles the line of being “homey” yet nicely depersonalized. It seems like it is located in a vacation area? That, plus the rain, might be hindering your showings. Perhaps meet with your Realtor to see what his plan is going forward. Your views are to die for!

    gra8fulgal thanked nini804
  • Denita

    I agree with nini804 - your views are spectacular!

    I don't know your area whatsoever - that's why I asked about homes that have sold in the area, to get a feel for pricing. Your Realtor should have provided you the recent comparable area sales and the justification for the list price.

    I think your staging is fine. The photos showcase your home well.

  • gra8fulgal

    maifleur01 - I am going to forgo addressing each of your points. I am not sure where you live. What you think of as "clean lines" may be important for your area. We live in a rural, mountain town. You can see horses from our window. There are people looking for all sorts of things and the style of our house is not unlike many in the area. No, it isn't modern, grey and with Carrara marble in the kitchen (which I think can be beautiful, by the way!) It would be disingenuous to try to make it something it is inherently not. I thank you for wanting to offer suggestions, but I didn't seek out recommendations for decorating.

  • gra8fulgal

    Denita - Thank you so much for your questions. I like how you framed it into like and dislike. It helped me balance my thinking and give credit where it is due.

    Done that I like:

    - responded promptly to emails or texts

    - reassuring when a problem came up right after listing, helped coordinate a person to come fix it

    - professional photography

    Done that I dislike:

    - emphasizing that the house is not for everyone….“unique” and “for the right person” on multiple descriptions

    - the Zillow description using “unique” and “etc.” I felt were off. I asked him what “etc.” meant and he said “That’s a good question” and couldn’t really give an answer. I felt it was left dangling and unfinished. I didn’t make it a direct ask, but gave him my perspective on the “unique” and “etc.” He did not make any changes and I don’t think he wants to put in any additional effort or thinks it is important.

    - makes promises he then doesn’t keep – said he would change out the flyers to better ones once pictures are done, will have Open House for agents right after it is listed to give it a big splash, "that will be done today" and it's not

    - asked him to put a “What I Love About this Home” blurb on Zillow and he didn’t know that section existed. He said that he was limited room to add copy as his fields (MLS, I presume) are different than Zillow; I have contacted Zillow as a work-around to have it done since I am not able to edit myself once it is agent-listed

    - asked for MLS link and he ignored that part of my email

    He and I have different styles, for sure, and I would characterize his (perhaps unfairly) as “good-enough” and lackadaisical. I think he will do the least amount of work he can get away with. I get the sense that if I ask for something, I am seen as a pain in the butt and demanding. For instance, the Zillow listing has some of the same photos repeated. I don’t know about the MLS. I can work with Zillow myself to correct the duplicates, but it bothers me that I will be paying him thousands but have to take care of these details myself. I don’t have the confidence that if I ask, he will do it.

    Comparables in the area are few and far between. The town we are in has only 2k people and not even a stoplight. There is everything from manufactured homes to single family to large cattle ranches. Up the valley, there are 2 other towns that get closer to the resort, ski area and get insanely pricey (Bruce Willis and Tom Hanks pricey). The listings closest to us are generally around $215 p sq/foot and our pricing is in line with that.

  • gra8fulgal

    Nini804 - Thank you. I really appreciate your thoughts and perspective. You are exactly right that we are in a resort area - similar to Aspen, CO. Locals are often priced out of buying because of the very expensive cost of living. Some homes are vacant most of the year and serve as second-third-fourth vacation homes. The little airport has more private jets land than regional commercial flights. Our house is in the area furthest away from the ski resort, but still the market is really not the norm. That plus the crazy weather are definitely going to slow things down and it is a good thing to keep in perspective. Thanks again for your thoughts!

  • gyr_falcon

    My internet is suddenly being cranky, so I could not review the photos a second time. therefore I am only going to make comment on one, at least until I can view them again. Overall, it is a nice home and the view is one I would love to have.

    I did pause a while at Photo 20. The steps do not appear to be of proper tread depths, and the rise and where the steps land appears very off. Is it a camera angle illusion or were they not constructed to code?

    gra8fulgal thanked gyr_falcon
  • maifleur01

    Kathy in this area clean lines mean nothing that can catch on your feet or appear to be dust catchers. Viewers seem to want their eyes to sweep the whole room without the visual being broken up. Definitely nothing on top of the back of the stools. In this area it is also suggested that if there is a counter only one item be on it.

  • gra8fulgal

    gyr_falcon - Oh technology, friend and foe. Sorry for your internet crankiness, but thank you for posting. I think it is just the angle of the photo and I can see why it caught your eye with the angle it has. The decking boards are newly installed but were put onto the framing of the original steps, which passed inspection when the house was built. So the depth and rise is the same as what has always been there. Geez, it sure better pass this time, too! That was spendy to replace. The pictures had to be taken before The Great Rainstorm Event started here, so what you see is without the railing that does need to be there to meet code, given the height of the stair rise and the top landing.

    Enjoying the view right now - it is a good one! :)

  • mjlb

    I think you've done a wonderful job -- your house looks immaculate. However, the living and dining spaces are not really represented in the photo array. And I think there may be some near-duplicates of the home's exterior.

    gra8fulgal thanked mjlb
  • cpartist

    Your house photographs beautifully. Trust me having an extra thing on the back of a chair is not the reason your home is not selling.

    As mentioned, did your agent do comparables so you know you're priced well?

  • rrah

    Ignore other posts about multiple offers in 24 hours in other markets. The only market that matters is your market. Given your description of the market area I think 2 showings in a week is great. Remember that your buyer pool is very small--vacation home buyers. It's made even smaller considering the price of the house. Think about it: How many people can afford a home at that price? How many can afford a second house at that price? How many of those buyers want to be in your area?

    Again, I know nothing about your area, but I did notice that you're one of the most expensive homes in the area when I look at Zillow. If that's true, your buyer pool decreases even more.

    You have a beautiful house. Your hard work will pay off, but it's going to take some time. What did your agent say about the average days on market for houses in your price range in your market? That's what matters.

  • gra8fulgal

    Thanks, cpartist. Comparables are really tough. There have been two houses nearby that sold this year, but neither is a true comparable. The tough part is that there really isn't anything else like ours. That alone should be enough for me to realize it is going to take awhile for ours to sell. It just doesn't help ease the anxiety of fearing it will take so long that it gets harder to sell as time goes on. We are open to dropping the price and are aware of the trap of being emotionally invested or digging in our heels and thinking the house is worth $x. The market will dictate what it sells for and we are not stuck on a certain #.

    rrah, Our agent didn't say what the average number of days on the market is for our price range, but I will ask. I think we just happened to get unlucky with the timing. We pushed ourselves to get everything done to list in mid-May rather than June 1 because our realtor said things often peak here in the Spring and suggested doing it before June 1. But then with the really oddball weather of constant rain and now the holiday weekend, it's possible it just didn't end up jiving well with people looking. It will tell us a lot, I think, once the rain stops (looks like around June 4th!). If showings pick up and feedback is positive, it was the timing. If they don't, then we'll need to figure out and address whatever the real cause is. My hope is that our realtor actually does the work needed to get us the showings. The jury is still out on that.

    "Your hard work will pay off, but it's going to take some time." .... I need to get this tattooed somewhere I can see it everyday. :) Thank you!

  • littlebug zone 5 Missouri

    Though of course I don’t know the Idaho market, here’s our experience. We had a very nice home on an acreage. Secluded in the woods. Physician-built to high standards with high quality materials. Naturally there were no comparables.

    We finally sold at about 10% over what we paid 13 years earlier. It took 3.5 YEARS.

  • homechef59

    The pictures and staging look fine. I don't see anything that is a red flag.

    If this home is situated in a resort or recreation area, it will most likely be a second home. That will require more time on market. Your high season hasn't even started. People aren't up there looking around. Recreational markets simply require more time because it's a discretionary purchase.

    Weather does affect things, but more likely is the opening of your seasonal market. You are first out of the chute. Be patient. I've never lived in a market where they are lined up on opening day begging me to sell my home. I don't know anyone else who has, either.

    Do your due diligence. Ask your realtor to provide you with a copy of his listing that the other realtors see. Review it for errors or verbiage that you don't like or needs correcting. Also, have him do an updated CMA with days on market.

    gra8fulgal thanked homechef59
  • jama7

    Have you questioned the realtor as to why the things he promised aren't being done? Doesn't sound like you have a real top flight one there unfortunately. Yes...ignore these stories about "24hr sells". They are the outliers, not the norm. Everything has to fall in place for a home to sell that quickly including it being a very hot, popular area with a shortage of inventory.

    I wouldn't be very good at this waiting game either....:)

  • gra8fulgal

    Hi jama7, You are exactly right that our realtor was sorely lacking in skills, drive and motivation. He was cavalier and lackadaisical and yet lamented when we informed him of the switch how hard of a worker he is, that he was exactly the right person for the job and we were making a big mistake. We changed to work with a different realtor in the brokerage. She is the top seller in the area and is organized, diligent, communicates well and has been great to work with. Once the change took place, I was able to relax. Not about everything, but at least that part. :)

    With the new representation, I was finally able to get an answer to my question about the average length of time a house in our price range in this area is on the market. 94 days. So we will just hang in there and know that we have done everything we can and the buyer will come eventually.

    Thanks for the support!

  • midcenturymodernlove

    I would not have hired him for this reason:

    "He and I have different styles, for sure, and I would characterize his (perhaps unfairly) as “good-enough” and lackadaisical. I think he will do the least amount of work he can get away with. I get the sense that if I ask for something, I am seen as a pain in the butt and demanding. For instance, the Zillow listing has some of the same photos repeated. I don’t know about the MLS. I can work with Zillow myself to correct the duplicates, but it bothers me that I will be paying him thousands but have to take care of these details myself. I don’t have the confidence that if I ask, he will do it. "

    Not cool at all. For that chunk of change, I expect above and beyond.

  • cpartist

    What did the new agent think about your pricing? Did she think you were in the right ballpark?

    While there might not be any comps that are the same, i'd think the square foot price would be similar?

  • Denita

    gra8fulgal, I don't know how I missed your answer to my original questions. I see that you have changed your Realtor, which is a good thing given the answers you provided. Every agent works differently. Some are much more diligent/detailed/creative than the others. Sounds like you have found a much better fit for your property.

    To answer your unasked question: Zillow pulls directly from the MLS. So do some of the other services like Realtor.com, trulia and other websites. So if the listing agent has put in the same photos multiple times in the MLS, that is exactly what shows in Zillow and the other websites. That happens to be one of my pet peeves. When bringing out a professional photographer they shoot many, many photos IME. 100 shots is not unusual. We, as Realtors, don't get all the 100 photos but the best 35 to 40 or so that have been edited by the photographer. My personal POV is show the best 35-40 shots or even a few more but don't duplicate photos. Check with your new agent. She should be able to go back to the photographer and get additional photos so the property and house can be showcased effectively without duplicates.

    That section you refer to in Zillow is physically filled out by the listing agent after it is uploaded to Zillow. I like to have the seller mention their key points in their own words so it looks like the people that live there and love it have added to the listing. This should be done now. Your new agent can do it with your thoughts.

    One more idea: when there is a property that is tough to price, it is a very good idea to bring in an appraiser that is familiar with your area. The more complex your property, the more important it is to have an appraisal done up front. Complex can mean several things, including lack of recent comparable sales.

    gra8fulgal thanked Denita
  • PRO
    JudyG Designs

    Your home is great! Yes, I and others looking at listing photos can see a few things which could be tweaked/removed, but any sensible buyer is not going to reject the house because of your style of decor (BTW loved the Craftsman style rug…perfect!).

    I wouldn’t expect a 7 day listing to result in a P & S. Give it a couple of weeks, then put the pressure on your agent…and his BOSS.

    gra8fulgal thanked JudyG Designs
  • violetsnapdragon

    Nothing negative about the listing photos--the views are extraordinary! When someone asks about their house price, I like to look at the zillow listings for the area priced $20,000 below and $20,000 above and compare them--are the other properties offering more? A better view? An extra bedroom? Pretend you are house-hunting in this range and see how your listing compares to what else is out there in a similar range. Good luck!

    gra8fulgal thanked violetsnapdragon

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