A house I had listed a long time ago came on the market recently. It sold really fast of course.
Let me tell you a little about this house.
The seller paid $157k for it in the summer of 2006. That was pretty much the peak of the market. We were already starting to hear stories about the market crashing by then.
The seller didn’t want the house any more. Listed it for $166k the summer of 2007. After 291 days it did not sell.
Then it was my turn. I listed it in 2011 for $153,900. It didn’t sell after 129 days on the market.
Late in 2014 the seller tried again with another realtor for $159k. 61 days on the market with no buyer.
Spring of 2015 it sat on the market for 201 days with a list price of $156k with a new realtor. Still did not sell.
Spring of 2017 it was listed for $162,900 with yet another realtor. After 68 days on the market, it sold for $153,500.
So, after 11 years and literally 750 days on the market using 5 different realtors, somebody finally bought it for less than the seller had paid for it in 2006.
What was the problem with this house? The yard. The lot had such a slope that you couldn’t get a car in the garage. It was so steep that your ankles hurt just trying to get to the front door. The backyard was worse. There was a patio, a retaining wall, and a grassy strip about 15 feet overhead.
You can imagine that seeing this house listed for $180k this year got my attention. I’m glad I was sitting down when I saw what it sold for. Can you believe somebody went $20k OVER the listing price for this house? It sold for $200k!!
This house is the poster child for what happens when buyers don’t have many choices. They pick terrible houses and seem happy to have just gotten one. Today is 2005 all over again, but worse. When you have almost no choices, a lousy house seems great. It won’t always be this way though. That is why you should never buy a house that in a buyer’s market took 750 days and 5 different realtors to sell for less than was paid for it during a seller’s market.
Bottom line is this……don’t buy a house that will become a noose around your neck in a buyer’s market. I’ve been saying it for 15 years. Never buy the house with the bad lot, one that backs to something unpleasant, one that backs to apartments or a lot of rental properties, one that doesn’t fit in with the rest of the houses in the neighborhood. If you are the seller of such a property, this house proves now is the time to unload it.