Active Rain August 30, 2010

Why Your Westchester NY Home Expired Unsold

While Westchester County has remained a sought after destination for home buyers and 450 single family homes closed in July, there were still an enormous number of homes that quietly came off the market this August, unsold. While it would be easy to dismiss the results on the poor market, even a casual examination of the homes that the public threw back reveals more than the seller might think they know. 

If one were to compare the sales with the expired listings, I see trends too considerable to ignore. While success always leaves clues, so does failure. It isn’t just Murphy at work- it is an unwitting conspiracy between agent and client that contributes to many of the duds. 
  • MLS Photos. The Westchester -Putnam MLS allows for a maximum of 30 photos for a listing. While you don’t need to hire a pro, I see some regrettable blunders that I am amazed the sellers missed- out of season (snow/leaf covered) photos, no curb view shot, one crummy photo, and other fumbles. While I blame the agent, the client has the capacity to check this online and should have their agent accountable for good pictures. 
  • MLS Description. Of the 50 expired listings I surveyed, 2 had no marketing remarks at all. Many had one sentence, including one being sold by an agent selling their own house. The Westchester-Putnam MLS allows 500 characters, or a decent paragraph, to describe the property. I could get a 3-ring binder for a $35,000 car; a decent paragraph on a $500,000 house isn’t too much to ask.
  • Price goofs. Pricing is always a bone of contention with sellers and their agents, and I sympathize with sellers who don’t want to lower their price into the 3rd ring of Hell. Point taken. But hanging out there at $504,900 while you fly under the radar of everyone who isn’t looking at anything higher than $500,000 is a fatal mistake. Price points matter to the public. 
  • Ridiculous showing instructions. No showings Saturdays? No showings after 5pm? Really? Did your agent tell you than many Westchester buyers are Manhattan people up for the day or evening and they don’t have much flexibility to accommodate you? There is no tomorrow if you live in another city and are only in town for a few hours. 
  • Overall neglect. Buyers gauge motivation, and spelling errors that remain for 6 months send a message you will regret.

Nothing can guarantee a sale in this economy, but in the ultra competitive Westchester real estate market it pays to mind your Ps and Qs. Everything matters. Handling these mistakes maximizes your chance at getting shown, getting offers, and getting packed.