The Price versus Time decision

Pick a price, any price for your home. Now start the clock and wait. Eventually, someday, someone will probably be willing to pay you that price. But, the question is – Do you have the time or the desire to wait for that to happen or would you rather sell your home now for a reduced amount of money? Welcome to the price versus time dilemma that faces all homeowners.

The price versus time dilemma is the challenge of determining which is more important to you as a homeowner – selling quickly or selling for top dollar. Of course, it’s easy to bang the kitchen table with both fists and say I want both, but that’s unrealistic. In the real world every homeowner falls into one of two different categories: the necessary seller or the optional seller. Let’s define these two vastly different types of sellers:

The Necessary Seller: Necessary sellers are homeowners who must sell their home and it’s not something they can avoid or put off further in time. Perhaps they have a job transfer or job loss, a pending divorce, health condition, or a financial crisis that is causing them to sell. Regardless of the reason, they need to sell, and the faster the better so that they can move on to their next step in life.

The Optional Seller: Optional sellers are homeowners who have made the choice to sell. They aren’t forced to move, they just prefer to make a housing change. Perhaps they want to upgrade to a newer home, a larger property, or they are looking to relocate entirely in order to travel or move closer to friends and family. The bottom line is it will be inconvenient if they don’t sell, but the world won’t end.

So which kind of seller are you – a necessary seller or an optional seller? The answer to this question is key to unlocking the decision with how you resolve the price versus time dilemma. Caution however, as it may not be as easy it might sound.

For instance there are tens of thousands of necessary sellers across the nation who desperately need to sell their homes quickly, yet they act as if they are optional sellers. These sellers list their homes for inflated prices and then are shocked, frustrated, or even angry that their homes fail to sell within their time frame. While in a typical real estate market an optional seller might hold out for top dollar, this strategy can easily backfire in some markets as their home may be worth significantly less the longer they hold out for their higher price.

If you are having a challenge determining just where you fall on the motivation scale ask yourself this follow up question. If I listed my home for 90 days and it did not sell, what would be my next step – adjust the price or give it a little more time? If your answer is to adjust the price, this would seem to indicate that selling quickly is more important for you. On the other hand if you feel more inclined to give it a little more time, top dollar is more than likely your primary motivator.

To unravel the price versus time mystery further sit down with your broker and give them an honest assessment of the reasons for why it is you are selling. By reviewing what homes similar to yours have sold for in recent months and the time frame it took those sellers to sell, it should help you to set a pricing strategy that meets everyone’s needs.