Notes from the Field

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Yesterday, I managed to get a big price reduction ($100,000!) on a listing I have out on Tabor Drive in Scotts Valley. I dutifully cranked out a new flyer with the lowered price, and hopped in my car to drive up to the property to put them in the flyerbox. When I got up to the property, the listing agent of the home next door (which was also for sale) was there, and we had a nice little chat. I asked him if he’d had any offers – none at all, he said, and very few phone calls – even though his listing price is just $530,000 – the lowest-priced listing in the city of Scotts Valley.

Yep, things have changed from last year! My listing is down to $599,000 – the third-cheapest listing in the city. It compares well to the listing next door – both properties have the same sized parcel (1/4 acre!), but my listing has twice the square footage, and a concrete foundation, which my competition lacks. My own listing has a few of its own drawbacks, but even so, I would think that at this price – given the location, the school district, the views, the square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms…I would think that I’d get a few calls at least!

But no, not really. I have had two Realtors call me in 3.5 weeks. One of them called me yesterday, actually – to ask me if I’d had any calls since I dropped the price. It seems this other Realtor has a listing in Scotts Valley, too – in a very desirable neighborhood, and her listing seems to me to be well-priced, too. Alas, it doesn’t seem to be that well-priced to buyers, though: it’s been on the market for three months.

Amazingly enough, there’s still some debate as to whether or not we’re in a buyer’s market. Some folks around the water cooler here at the office seem to think that it’s simply a “balanced” market. I can see why they say that: many sellers are sticking to their price, and if they don’t get it, they simply won’t sell their property. That, and the fact that there are still multiple offers happening on a few select properties.

To me, I think we’re in the early stages of a buyer’s market that is likely to last some time – a couple of years? Nobody knows. I need to buy that crystal ball I’ve been looking at in magick shoppe’s window. It isn’t, however, a total rout. Most sellers are not simply waving the white flag, saying “I give up!” and letting their house go for 10-20% less than asking price. The sale-to-listing-price-ratio is around 97% these days, meaning that sellers are only selling for 3% less than their asking price.

Of course, it’s a fluid situation! We’ll see how things go – especially up on Tabor Drive. 🙂

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