This is as Good as it Gets

If you’re a seller or planning to be a seller yet this year, this is the best this market is going to get so you better get going!  Here’s a summary of things to keep in mind.

  • You have to be the best price and best condition.
  • Talk to your agent.  If you’ve got questions or concerns, ask them!
  • If you’re not getting any showings, check your marketing, check your competition, check your photos, then drop your price.
  • Agents can’t make your home sell if you’re overpriced… price is still the #1 determination on saleability.
  • Market times are averaging 80-90 days right now… if you’re at that you need to sit down and go over things like you did before you listed.
  • If you want to talk to other Realtors that’s fine, but you cannot sign a new listing agreement until your current one is cancelled or expired.  Post-dating the contract doesn’t make a difference… it cannot be signed at all until you are clear of your current contract.  This is a state rule.
  • Agents cannot openly solicit you for a listing if you are currently under contract, but can respond to any inquiries you make.


  1. DAL says

    Transaction and interest costs are becoming the real problem. As prices approach or go below the debt on property, there is no room to pay a realtor to tell you to lower your price.

  2. says

    That’s true, however the plight of the seller is not the fault of the agent that is hired to help them sell the home, and an agent is not paid to tell them to lower the price, but rather is paid to represent their interests and provide their expertise to get their home sold.

    In this market agents have been hurt too… rather than get paid hourly, most agents are only paid on a successful sale. Agents spend many hours with both buyers and sellers that do not lead to a paycheck and the ones that do close are requiring significantly more hours to get there. So while commission amounts have not changed much, agents’ “hourly wage” has fallen dramatically in recent years.

  3. DAL says

    We have excessive supply, high gas prices, and an imbalance with demand. Value is the key concept and that’s what real estate professionals should offer. Consumer confidence comes into play because the consumers don’t want to get stuck trying to sell something later for less than their mortgage balance. They are seeing the problems their neighbors are having. Prior excessive liquidity has led to excessive pain. The plight of the seller has to be accepted by the realtors in order for the realtor to provide value. Pricing is spotty at best in a market with too few buyers. So, how do you know a property is priced right with this current lower demand, which may be declining further. If it’s just price, I can just keep lowering until I find a buyer. I don’t think that takes expertise. If realtors can’t sell the market on value, they become transaction only experts. This is the lowest in professional value.

  4. says

    In my list in this post about things to do, price was last on the list. If everything else is in order, then price is likely the final factor out of line.

    Some of the outer ring suburbs like Chaska and St. Michael are down 20% – 40% year over year in sales. With declines that substantial it is difficult for anything to sell at any price.

    There are a lot of things that realtors do beyond the simple transactional side of things. Unfortunately though no agent can make a market that doesn’t exist, and that’s where many sellers get frustrated.

    At the end of the day, selling the home is the only thing that really matters to both parties. Agents lose money on listing homes for sale… they make money on actually selling them.

  5. DAL says

    You said price was number 1. And, yes, that was my point, no market equates to price being irrevlevant.

  6. says

    If it is not priced correctly based off of condition, competition and the current market forces, no amount of effort or activity will sell the home.

    So yes, price is the most important factor in the home actually selling, but is not necessarily the only reason a property isn’t selling and should not be the first thing that should be adjusted.

  7. DAL says

    Right. The market is the first thing. We can’t have buyers using none of their own capital to acquire a home. In the days of old, equity provided cushion for the bank and encouraged the buyer to make their payments because they had something on the line. Also, it likely meant they had a clue regarding saving and managing their money in order to acquire the down payment.

    If you use 100% financing and can give the property back to the bank because of the costs of foreclosure and availability of mortgage insurance, the risk/reward structure is violated. Thus, we now have a horrible market because of the shenanigans over the past 4 or more years. The outer suburbs you mention are battling gas, roads/transportation, interest rates and mortgage issues. Some of the buyers heading out further did so because they could buy more house with their resources.

    Those who exercise “undue caution,” as one of the posts mentions, are still penalized because of the buyers who were encouraged to take on home ownership when they didn’t understand it and couldn’t afford it. They were likely told to buy before prices were too high and mortgage rates went up. Well, now we are learning that what many of these mortgage gimicks accomplished was likely to actually lower home ownership.

    Now, when real estate professionals tell people it’s a good time to buy, it’s falling on deaf ears. Even though there are some great deals out there, buyers are generally afraid and the real estate/mortgage industries don’t have the credibility to assist in accelerating the market come back.

    Pushing unprepared and under financed people into home ownership has hurt the market and will now raise rents for those very people who got burned buying a home they couldn’t afford.

    And, we all get to pay for it. This market down turn was manufactured by poor real estate/mortgage transactions, not the economy. It is the result of over reaching that was promoted by some professionals.

    Your blog is appreciated.

  8. says

    I agree with many of your points but I think there should be a clear difference pointed out between subprime lending and “A” paper lending.

    While both offer 100% financing, only the subprime market is in trouble right now. Default rates on “A” paper are still very low and have been.

    For those that are not sure of the difference, an “A” paper buyer is one with a high credit score, usually 720 or better, with a clean credit history showing both a long use of credit and an ability to make payments on time for those bills.

    Subprime borrowers are also sometimes called “B” or “B-” paper borrowers are those that have had problems with their credit in the past and/or have a relatively short credit history.

    Naturally these borrowers carry more risk, which is why they not only pay higher interest rates but they also were more likely to go to an interest-only ARM product to try to keep the rate down. As soon as their ARMs came due and the rate jumped 2% or more, they found themselves unable to pay the bills.

    Without differentiating these two groups of borrowers, it makes it sound like all 100% financing is bad when it has in fact been very successful for those that have demonstrated a clear ability to manage their finances.

  9. says

    A board member of MAAR just wrote a great analysis of the market and suggests we’re in a buyer’s market for the long haul. He comes to this determination by looking at the past MLS stats and find some very convincing parallels to our current market.


    In 2006, 44.34% of all listings sold, which is still stronger than the 38.09% that sold in 1989. So another way to look at this is that in 1989 we had a massive buyer’s market and yet there was no subprime borrowing, no 100% financing, etc. Housing goes through cycles, regardless of the reasons for it.

  10. says

    July saw an increase in lenders going bankrupt and tighter lending requirements across the board… the “easy money” is becoming harder and harder to get today, which is healthy for this market.