Does A Property For Sale Become Stale Over Time?

If you speak to any layperson, who is selling, they will talk to you about their fears that if their property is on the market for sale too long, it will go ‘stale’.

It is a real source of anxiety for some sellers – yet it is a complete myth to the cognoscenti of the Industry.

Properties on the market do not ‘go stale’ they are simply overlooked, when they are over-priced. Invariably, serious, potential purchasers are not really interested in how long a property has been marketed for, even though they may seek to try and use this against an owner, where the period has been prolonged, in any negotiation.

Every day of the week, people are making new decisions to move and as a result, their ‘eyes are opening’ and their ‘receptors turned-on’. Their personal circumstances may have changed, e.g., they are having a new baby and they need more space, they may have a job promotion, or recieved a windfall of cashfrom a deceased relative.

Fresh as a daisy

Any property which may have been marketed before this decision was made and was not seen by this buyer, is to them ‘fresh as a daisy’ when their interest ‘lands on it’, even though it may have been on the market for several days, months or years.

This is particularly applicable to a For Sale board. In the main, people do not usually notice these signs, if they are not looking for a property and then perhaps it could be out of ‘nosiness’. However, the moment that their circumstances change and they become potential buyers, any For Sale sign within their relevant catchment area (and perhaps outside of it), become noticeable and therefore, the relevant property becomes ‘in play’.

Vendors are obsessed with ‘staleness’ and ‘freshness’. Yes, there is impact, when a property first comes to the market at a sensible price, close to underlying value, but this is severely attenuated and quickly evaporates, if the asking price is too zealous. This is all the more so, in a market where there is a shortage of stock and the converse applies, when there is excess of supply.

Power of the For Sale board

The power of a For Sale board, in marketing terms, is little understood by laypeople, but as agents know full well, it is the cheapest and most potent tool in an estate agents’ armoury, to sell or rent property. Only serious sellers are prepared to put a For Sale board outside of their property and canny buyers know this only too well, which helps them discern between ‘real sellers’ and those who may just be playing a game. Goodness knows there are far too many of this variety!

A prospective purchaser who has responded to a For Sale board, knows the area and the exterior of the property and once they have the price from the agent, three out of the four criteria have already been established, leaving only the interior and rear garden aspects to be ascertained.

If, after vetting of the applicant, an appointment is made by the agent, to inspect the property, this invariably can lead to an offer and it then becomes a thoroughly more efficient process.

UK sellers crave privacy

Sellers, particularly in the UK, crave their privacy and some feel that a For Sale Board is an invasion of this, regardless of its huge value in marketing terms. A well-trained, conventional estate agent will help to persuade them, that it is the most vital component of an efficient and exhaustive sale. If they are doing their job properly, they will point out to an owner, who refused to have a board, that ‘kicking themselves’ after the event is a fruitless exercise, if they subsequently find out that a perfectly good, latent purchaser, living nearby, may have paid a fuller price for their property, but were not aware of its existence and hadn’t seen any marketing collateral.

Frankly, I woudn’t dream of selling my own property without a For Sale board, since I would never be quite sure that I had achieved the best possible price.

As you can see, ‘staleness’, is a figment of the seller’s imagination and you need a determined estate agent to overcome the hardened, preconceived mental barriers, that are erected by some clients.

The ‘bing, bang, bosh’ method of the online estate agents’ methodology, does not allow for time to debate these issues properly, since they are far more interested in completing the standard forms and getting the money from the seller, ahead of the sale.

Good business if you can get it. As a conventional agent, I would love to be paid in advance of doing any work but we all know full well that the contingency based system of ‘deliver the service, get the results and be paid’ is the only way forward.