Chopping Before 'Spring' Comes

By Dave Fratello | January 30th, 2015

Oh, it seems like such an easy year for sellers again. Huge gains last year, big deals already this year. We're on a rocket to the moon!

But what if you've had your house on the market a while already, haven't drawn good offers, and the Super Bowl kickoff of our Spring selling season actually seems threatening?

You chop.

We saw that on a couple of Tree Section listings this week.

The most notable was at 3005 Maple (pictured).

As to the home itself, we like what the sellers did with the place after acquiring it in 2011. That's clear in our review from mid-month. (See "Sunday Opens (1/15/15).")

But entering the 7th week of the listing, the sellers seem to have had no action.

What's holding them back? Maybe the upside-down floorplan in a non-view location, or it could be a case of location or style not quite matching up yet with buyers' desires.

But price must be the biggest factor. At launch in December, 3005 Maple came out at $2.940M, clearly a stretch.

Now it's down to $2.699M (-8%) after a second cut on Thursday.

It's also obvious that the timing of the listing was, shall we say, suboptimal. It came out a week before Christmas, which is pretty much a time that you would never choose to start. (See "You Should Never List Now, Unless..." from December 2014.) So now, as January wraps up and the "Spring" market gets ready to go with Super Bowl Sunday, this is on the short list of listings that are long in the tooth.

Now buyers are going to be looking at all the new options. A price cut should signal to buyers that it's worth taking a second look.

3613 Walnut Avenue Manhattan Beach CAIt's a similar case over at 3613 Walnut (4br/5ba, 3545 sq. ft.).

This is a flipper remodel that's been impressively transformed. (For a look at what they pulled off, see "Before and After at 3613 Walnut.")

This one also listed just a tad before Christmas and has failed to ignite. In the case of a flip, you know they put it on the market ASAP as soon as the work and staging are done. So the timing is perhaps less questionable here.

The start price of $2.699M did seem lofty for a home so very close to Rosecrans and the low hum of the refinery. But with a place so dolled up, they figured they could start high. You can't raise the price later. It's rare to see a home raise its price later.

The cut of $50K to $2.649M on Thursday still seemed a bit like a token move. But it's progress toward where they'll need to get. One thing you can always be sure about with flips: They will sell.

One observation about both listings: They're represented by out-of-area agents, one who has done a lot of business in other parts of Southern California, and one who – well, it's not clear.

It shouldn't be fatal to have an out-of-area agent, but the listing might falter out of the blocks if it's not priced right for the market and promoted in the usual ways locally. Time will help solve any issues.

As will price cuts.

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