40 Zaccheus Mead Lane
During the open house tour today I found myself, as I usually do, trying to assess the “proper” price of some of the listings I saw. It’s just about impossible these days, because almost the only buyers active right now are my kind of people, bottom feeders. They are concerned about where the market’s heading and to ensure that they’re protected against a further lurching drop in prices, they are interested in deep, deep bargains, not what’s a decent price today. That’s what makes it so hard to price things. I have a listing now that is definitely over-priced for this market – my clients know it and I know it, and they’d drop the price if I could give them some sort of assurance that at “X” price we could sell the place. But I can’t, and if, just as an example, I told them that cutting the price in half would cause it to sell and it failed to sell, then they’re really stuck, because there’s no going back: despite the occasional attempt, raising a price after lowering it almost never works.
Which brings me to the house pictured above on Zaccheus Mead. This is a gorgeous house built by a excellent local builder with a great reputation for quality. I think he misjudged the appeal of a house sited where it is, with four acres but not much lawn, and he’s paid the price for that: the asking price is now $7.495, down a long way from where it started two years ago, at $11.2 million. With 15,000 sq. ft., he’s offering it at $500 a foot – you couldn’t come close to duplicating this house at that price. Would the builder go lower still? Possibly, given the market, but at this point he’d just be bidding against himself. I wouldn’t blame him if he stayed right where he was and waited for someone to come along who didn’t want a huge yard to maintain and preferred what this offers; beautiful, secluded woodlands.
I suspect that there are a lot of sellers out there like my client and 40 Zaccheus Mead’s builder. They’re probably open to lower bids, but don’t want to publicly announce that by dropping much further lower than they are. One of the problems in our market that I see is that the buyers are all looking for deals at around twenty cents on the dollar and the sellers are stuck at perhaps eighty cents. If you’re a buyer, you and your agent might nose around and if you find a house you like, try a bid at maybe fifty or sixty cents on the dollar and see what happens. My guess is, you’ll be successful and get a good deal on a house. And by the way, have your agent pull the price histories – there are properties out there, like Zaccheus, that have already taken huge chunks off their initial price. Some of those prices were, admittedly, too high to begin with (well all of them were, in the sense that they didn’t sell) but there are some well priced properties sitting out there, right now. And, lest you think I’ve gone soft in my old age, even more properties whose owners still haven’t got a clue. The job of you and your agent is to determine which is which and deal only with the former type of sellers.