Chances are that if you are selling a home that has been on the market any length of time, you've had your share of showings. If you haven't sold yet, you might wonder what all those people who passed on your home eventually bought. I've got news for you: a huge percentage of them aren't buying anything anytime soon. They are working with an agent, they may be pre approved, but they might be a months or a year away from actually acting. How can this be?
Right now, the buying public is in a war of attrition with sellers. The vast majority of prospective buyers are sitting this out. They aren't indifferent, they just aren't in any hurry. We have listings that have hundreds and even thousands of unique pages views on the Internet every week. Many of those views are the same people, but they are there. The same listings have had dozens of showings, yet there aren't dozens of homes selling in that category. We get phone calls and emails inquiries, which we answer diligently, and believe me we are selling the value. But the mass inertia of the public will never be overcome by a persuasive phone pitch or email.
Here is a quick breakdown of what I am observing.
- Lurkers. The vast majority of the prospective buyers are silently lurking online. They watch houses online for weeks, months and more. If the one they really have their eye on reduces to a tantalizing number, they graduate to the next category:
- Callers. Callers are the ones who call the office asking about a listing or inquire via email, and then disappear unless the stars align. What floor is the apartment on? Oh, the first floor? Never mind. How close is the house to the school? One block? Oh, I was afraid of that. Too close. If the stars do align, callers become...
- Lookers. Ah, the looker. The mystery is revealed. The person I have been playing footsie with for 3 months has finally appeared in the flesh to see my listing. Lookers aren't buyers. Lookers look. And question. And ponder. And figure. They want to see the utility bill. They want to bring their father in law to check it out. They go down to City Hall to make sure the shed/deck/basement/whatever is up to code. They seem to not understand that there is a time for that. Sometimes lookers are...
- Likers. Likers like. They want to keep looking, but they like it. That's very nice. I like that. What? An offer? Whoa, there, don't pressure me. What's your hurry? This is a big decision. Are you hiding something? I want to keep looking. But that is very nice. Let me know if they get any offers. They say buyers are liars, but they are not. Likers are liars, because they game the agents with faux interest so they can keep seeing more houses.