I met with a cool family a few weeks ago. They were going to interview a handful of agents to see what we all had to offer. I’m always a little freaked out at listing presentations. See, there are agents that come with power point presentations and go over a whole bunch of junk, crunch numbers, brag about how low the average days on market is for their listings, and then blurt out something like “After looking at the statistics for this price range, you house will sell at 5:46 P.M. exactly 43 days from now.” That impresses some people I guess. I’m not one of those that throws out a bunch of numbers. I kind of like to look at the house. Assess the positives and negatives that I think buyers will see, then do a CMA to find what I think the house is worth. I usually do all this wearing a pair of shorts, and often forget to give the people my business card. I ordered 1000 last year and still have about 993.
Before I get into statistics for selling houses, I’m gonna expose some tactics agents use to lower their own average days on market. I was checking out another agent’s blog the other day and she quoted the average amount of time her listings take to sell. The number she gave was very impressive……not at all accurate, but very impressive. See, she didn’t bother to include the listings that she had deleted, then relisted with a new MLS number. Where did that time go? It wasn’t in her average DOM (Days on Market-I am already tired of typing all those words!) I am sure to her clients that time didn’t disappear. Another thing that often gets lost in their average DOM is the fact that it only includes houses that actually sell. If the listing expires and never sells or gets relisted with another agent, that number doesn’t count. It would be like quoting your GPA in college but not counting the courses you failed.
The same thing happens with the average list to sale price. Say a listing expired after 6 months at $200k, was relisted at $190k for another 6 months. Expired again. Relisted again for $180k, then got a contract for the full asking price that very day. The agent could say that she sold that place for 100% of the asking price the first day on the market. But we all know it was a year and a day and 90% of the original list price.
Okay, now I’m going to tell why I don’t worry too much about DOM and list to sale price. It is because I am only dealing with one house. Yep. That’s right. The only number I care about is the one that will have to do with my listing. The list to sale price isn’t much help either since that number will be brought down by the over-priced listings that sold for market value. Also, like most averages, the low and the high numbers have too much control over the whole. Plus, there may be a darn good reason why one of the houses you’re using took twice as long to sell as the others in your test pool. Then you have to look at the history to see if any of the listing agents for the other houses pulled the old delete/relist game to give a false DOM.
The bottom line is that you really never know when the buyer who is going to bite at your house will arrive. All you can do is price it realistically, make it look great, and present it well online. When I get a seller that will do all that, their house usually sells in less time that the average DOM. My average DOM is lower than typical, and I don’t even bother to tell people my number. I’ve sold several houses in less than 10 DOM and had a 3rd floor walk-up condo in an area that tends to attract retirees take just over a year. I worked just as hard on all of them.
So, back to the listing appointment. I’m on the tour of the house and the husband asked me the average DOM question, and I told him that I didn’t even look at that because I don’t care how long it took other houses to sell, I only care about how long it is going to take his house to sell. As soon as I said that, I knew I either had this listing or I had just totally blown it.
I think the statistics agent uses them to impress you at first, then uses them to justify why your house hasn’t sold. C’mon, when you’re asking your agent why your house hasn’t sold yet, are you looking for advice on what to do next or wanting to hear about numbers?
Fortunately this cool couple saw my point and went with me.