Ask Rodkin: Is Our Amazing Home’s Asking Price Too High?

A Glen Ellyn man wants to know why his charming, well-located house has no buyers for $950,000 (or $915,000).

Some comparable homes in the Glen Ellyn area.

Photography: Courtesy of Redfin

Some comparable homes in the Glen Ellyn area.

Q: We are selling our home in Glen Ellyn and are a bit frustrated that we’re getting no showings. Our agent tells us that people are on vacations, getting ready for back to school, and afraid of interest rates.

We originally listed it at $950,000 in June, but we now have it at $915,000. We had one open house and ten groups through, but still, nothing.

Why aren’t we getting any interest? We bought it for $875,000 in 2006. Are we priced too high? Our agent told us that we should be between $935,000 and $965,000, but we decided to bring it down to $915,000.

We just want some showings. We feel like the house is immaculate, and would be great for a couple moving out from the city. We are two blocks to the highly rated elementary school, etc. —Chris

A: Unfortunately, Chris, I think the answer is yes, you’re priced too high. A home as charming as yours in such a great location could have moved by now. (I’m not linking to it because I don’t want potential buyers to feel that I’ve blackballed this particular house; I have changed a few details for the same reason.) The idea that people are on vacation now may or may not apply; the opposite reading is that buyers are eager to get something nailed down now, before prices and interest rates go up even more.

Home prices in Glen Ellyn seem to be, on average, still at or below where they were in 2006, according to the data. Our last study of the full metropolitan area was in the magazine’s April issue, based on end-of-2012 data. You can see that at the end of 2012, Glen Ellyn prices were still at about 17.7 percent below where they were in 2006. Of course, the market has been recovering well since the start of 2013; prices are several percentage points above where they were then. Zillow says Glen Ellyn prices in June were up 8.7 percent from a year earlier.

Because Zillow’s data and ours are not on the same schedule and don’t necessarily include all the same criteria, I can’t say precisely where prices are right now in Glen Ellyn, but it should be obvious that they’re not yet above 2006 levels. The facts that you bought in 2006 and your listing doesn’t indicate that you’ve made any major upgrades while in the house suggests to me that your sale price will come in much closer to the price you paid for it than you’re now asking.

Now, I don’t mean to run afoul of what your agent has told you. Certainly he or she has more precise knowledge than I do of the current state of Glen Ellyn prices. But I do know there’s a tendency among agents and sellers to price homes optimistically.

A few things I’d look into:

  1. How fast are other homes within range of your present asking price moving? If they’ve been moving fast and yours hasn’t, that’s an indication that the buyers in that price range have determined that yours isn’t worth the price.
  2. Is there anything missing from your home that others in your asking price range generally have? For instance, if you have one bath fewer than the norm, maybe that’s hurting your chances with these buyers.
  3. How is your agent’s recent track record in this price range in Glen Ellyn? Again, I don’t mean to doubt your agent’s credentials or judgment, but the question is whether the person has a good handle on what a $915,000 house in Glen Ellyn looks like right now.

Please keep in mind that these are my observations based on my reporter’s knowledge of the Chicago-area real estate market. It’s not intended to compete with or override a trained real estate agent’s information.

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comments
8 months ago
Posted by m6305g

I agree with you - here in the Winnetka/North Shore area home prices have risen slightly but not anywhere near where they were back around 2006.
I bought my house in 2004 then had to remodel to the tune of $175,000. Today, my house is worth what I paid for it - but all the money we put in is lost.
So there are many factors involved in pricing a home for the market - but in this hot seller's market any house that lingers is, simply put, overpriced.

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