List-Price-Accuracy Gauge

A great quote about higher-end listings from this free WSJ article:

Tomer Fridman, a luxury agent with Compass said the prices on some of the homes were exorbitant in the first place, so the reductions represent a long-overdue correction. “When you do a price adjustment at this level, that seller has to make it impactful,” he said. “You have to show you mean business.”

Once a home is for sale but not selling, how do you know what to do? Just dump on price? Lower in small increments and risk irritating buyers? Isn’t there a guide somewhere?

Both buyers and sellers can apply my List-Price-Accuracy Gauge:

Once on the open market, if you are……

  • Getting visitors and offers, you are within 5% of being right on price.
  • Getting visitors but no offers, you are 5% to 10% wrong on price.
  • Not getting visitors, then you are more than 10% wrong on price.

It’s nothing personal, it’s just a simple guide to know how close you are to selling.

The serious buyers rush out the first week to take a look, but after that it’s crickets, with only an occasional visitor. It is tough for sellers to cope, or make adjustments. But once the initial urgency has expired, you have to do something – don’t just sit there.


How quickly should sellers make adjustments? The DOM clock is ticking!

0-14 days on market – Hot property, sellers have max negotiating power.

15-30 days on market – Buyers get suspicious, want to pay under list.

30+ days on market – The jig is up, and buyers expect deep discounts.

After being unsold for two weeks, sellers will suspect that something is wrong. But it is natural to resist changing the price and instead blame everything else.

Sellers, and agents, need to shake that off and act quickly to keep the urgency higher. The first price reduction should be for at least 5% and happen in the first 15-30 days for maximum effectiveness. If the home doesn’t sell in the next two weeks, then another 5% is in order, and by then the fluff is eliminated.


Where do sellers go wrong?  They don’t properly price in the negatives.

Typically sellers just pick apart the comps to convince themselves why their home is the best around, and then settle on a list price that will show everyone who’s the boss.  If you don’t have any negatives, then you probably will get your price!  But typically sellers are forced to come to grips with the negatives of their house, and adjust accordingly.

Do sellers have to lower their price? No, not neccesarily.

There are other alternatives:

1.  Make your house easier to show.  Listing agents who insist on buyers jumping several hurdles just to see the home aren’t realistic about today’s market conditions. Make the home easy to see!

2.  Fix the problems.  New carpet and paint is the best thing you can do: 1) it looks clean, 2) it smells new, 3) you have to clean out your house to install it, and 4) you are managing a business transaction now – it is the logical solution.  Utilize staging too.

3.  Improve the Internet presence. Have at least a 12-25 hi-res photos and a simple youtube tour.

4.  Wait for the market to catch up.  If unsold for 60+ days, cancel and try again later – probably next year.

5. Reset the Days-on-Market stat.  As long as the MLS allows agents to refresh their listings, then it’s in the best interest of the seller to reset the DOM.  It is a gimmick, and instead sellers should concentrate on creating real value for buyers – that’s what will cause them to pay more.

The longer it takes to sell, the more discount the buyers will be expecting – usually about a 1% off for each week on the market.  When other homes are flying off the market, the buyers’ obvious conclusion is that your price is wrong, and they load up the lowball offers.

Even if you complete one or all of the five ideas above, don’t be surprised if you need to lower the price too. Keep it attractive!

Gift & Estate Tax

It’s natural for people to wonder how this will all play out.

The Fed raising their rate until they crush inflation (and everything else), home prices are higher than just about anyone can afford, and inventory levels so low that prices will probably keep trending higher too.

How could this all stay afloat?

We are already in the midst of the greatest wealth transfer in the history of the world.  Unless there are changes in the law, those who have accumulated between $5,000,000 and $11,000,000 will be expediting their distributions over the next three years to save on taxes before the limit is lowered in 2026:


The free-and-easy money has already been flooding into our real estate market.  Back in the old days, the cash buyers always demanded a discount – but today the craziest sales are to buyers paying all-cash.

With the gift and estate taxes changing in 2026, it should continue, and possibly increase.

Inventory Watch

Until there is a significant increase in inventory, we won’t know how the current market conditions are affecting the demand, if at all.  I thought we’d get off to a sluggish start, but this is shockingly low:

Total NSDCC Detached-Home Listings, First 13 Readings of the Year

2018: 1,067

2019: 1,110

2020: 932

2021: 670

2022: 545

2023: 431

This is how the new listings look on a weekly basis:

Mortgae rates have improved considerably, and now buyers can get a rate in the fives, instead of the sevens, which sounds attractive. But if there aren’t enough quality listings, who cares?

Lower rates should mean that buyers can get a little more for their money, but sellers want to squeeze some of that benefit too:

More listings are needed – let’s go sellers!


Assigning the Contract

Agents are supposed to maintain a good working knowledge of the purchase contract, and every year we go to the C.A.R. review to keep up with the changes. But I don’t remember discussing this paragraph that was added in 2021, and expanded in the most recent version of the contract.

We had an interesting test case on it recently.

The buyer wanted to cancel their purchase, but they knew someone who was also interested in buying the property too. They claimed that Paragraph 23 gives them permission to plug in the new buyer, and the seller can’t ‘unreasonably’ withhold consent.

The way that paragrah reads, they might have a case. If they were able to provide a pre-qual letter and properly notify the seller and listing agent, it looks like they would have complied with the criteria expressed in this paragraph.

Do I want to get into a battle over it?

Luckily, they did not produce the documentation, and instead bowed out gracefully. But for a minute, I thought we might be stuck with the assignee, who had said that he flipped homes in the past. I cringed at the thought of the usual discount that flippers demand after their home inspection.

From now on, we’re going to counter out #23 before we enter into an agreement.

Dogs Are People Too

Not mentioned are the conversations people have with their dogs. I just want equal time with all decision-makers!

Given the increased share of pets in households and the increased time and resources spent on pets, it is no surprise some home buyers consider their pets the most important factor when making home buying decisions. Factors such as proximity to the vet and outdoor space for pets is important for buyers with pets.

Among all unmarried couples, nearly one-third of buyers considered their pet when deciding their neighborhood to purchase in compared to 14% of married couples. One-quarter of single women considered factored their pet into their neighborhood choice in comparison to 16% of single men. This trend is similar to the BLS Time Use Survey which found women are more likely to spend time with pets on a daily basis.

Among those who considered their pet to be very important to their neighborhood choice, they were also more likely to factor in a pet for other neighborhood features than those who did not.

Pet lovers also purchased a home in an area with availability of larger lots or acreage and were more interested in convenience to parks and recreation areas and in walkability. This is not a surprise as it is likely not just the human who desires these neighborhood features but the pet themselves who need room to run and play.


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