A New Perspective: The long and short of it | Real Estate Insights

How much will my house sell for? When homes hit the market, it helps to understand how time balances out money.

The personal stories of one Realtor’s battles and triumphs in the highly-competitive Bay Area Real Estate Market, seeking to illuminate and humanize the very real ups-and-downs of homeownership.

Sarah, Jill, Kate, and I are working on a bevy of homes that are headed to the market over the next several months (We’re grateful for the business, thank you!), and in nearly every case, the Seller has one OVER-RIDING concern.

“How much does my house sell for?
(Good question.)

I wish I knew. The reality is that NO ONE knows. We can guess, we can hypothesize, we can predict, we can hope, AND pray, AND do everything within our power to push the numbers higher, but in the end, it’s a willing and able Buyer that will qualify the value of your home. That’s the long and short of it.

You may not agree. (We empathize.)

That’s okay, it’s your home and your prerogative. Moreover, the listing agreement does NOT obligate you to sell should the numbers fall FAR short of your expectations, but I would ask you to look objectively at the market to see if your expectations actually align with reality before rejecting any and all offers.

“But couldn’t a better offer come forth?”

It’s not impossible, but it’s also unlikely.

Why that first offer is usually the best

While it’s typical for Buyers to believe that a higher offer is just around the corner; in point of fact, the first offer is almost always the best. Those that follow tend to be less compelling (often substantially).


The first offer is the most motivated. They didn’t wait. They stepped up and proclaimed their interest in no uncertain terms, AND then codified their desire with a contract. They clearly wanted the house.

Given the speed with which our Northern California market trades, a house grows stale quickly. Within three to four weeks, the buying public begins to wonder what’s wrong with the property . . . . Thus, when we begin to chase the market, we’re usually on a downward trajectory. In other words, time will typically cost you money.

By way of example, one of our COMPASS colleagues had a terrific property on the market last spring that had been completely rebuilt, was hip & cool, and received several excellent offers that were each routinely rejected in turn by the Seller (against the advice of his Agent). A professional flipper by trade, he didn’t see it that way and several months later, he sold the property for hundreds of thousands less! Ouch, that stings, but it was also a self-inflicted wound (less empathy here).

“But we’ve invested a lot of money to get the house ready.”

Yes, you have, and it was money well spent. Imagine if you hadn’t done the work . . . Where would you be sitting now?

In a world where interest rates are still hovering around 7%, Buyers are having to readjust their purchasing power by a fair margin, and that affects property values in significant and meaningful way. As a result, Buyers are far more discriminating as they typically have to spend more for less. (Remember, it’s not necessarily about the cost to buy; it’s about the cost to carry . . . )

If you’re hanging on to what your neighbor sold their house for in 2022 (the pandemic created the perfect storm), you’re going to be disappointed. But if you look at current sales and do the math, that’s a more realistic guideline with respect to where your house will likely sell.

Expectations aside, the most satisfactory results come about when the Sellers put their best foot forward, adjust their expectations accordingly, set emotions aside, take nothing personally, make no assumptions, negotiate in good faith, and manifest good thoughts. (That recipe works in life, too.)

Actions, intention, follow-through; they’re all equally important; however, none of them will tell you what your house is worth. That’s up to the market. So far, the 2024 Spring Market appears to be in much better shape than the Fall Market of 2023, so we’re cautiously optimistic. Early sales seem to confirm that Buyer demand is still outpacing supply, and that’s great news for Sellers. (Tougher for Buyers.)

Whether you’re on the buy side or sell side, we’re at your service.

How can we help you?

Julie Gardner & Sarah Abel | Compass Realty

Not just Realtors, but consultants in all things house and home, we’re here to educate, explore, examine and refer . . . In short, you may count on us to take care of your home as if it were our own and anyone who knows us, knows we take pretty darn good care of our homes.

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