In the present economic climate, home sellers have been tense, while potential homebuyers have had a tendency to sit still. But for ten days, beginning on October 10th, one real-estate company will try to get house sales moving again by cutting the asking price on thousands of homes by 10 percent.
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage has arranged for the owners of about 23,000 homes nationwide—about 1,300 of them in the Chicago area—to take 10 percent off their asking prices. “[It’s] a way to spur some excitement, to bring home seller and interested buyers together and help generate some sales,” says Fran Broude, president and COO of Coldwell Banker’s Chicago region. (The region includes Milwaukee, where another 170 sellers will cut their prices for the sale.)
About 14 percent of all the local homes listed with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage are included in the sale. Other homes listed by Coldwell Banker affiliate offices may also discount their listing prices during the sale period, though perhaps by not as much as 10 percent. On Friday, October 10th, you can find a complete list of CB Residential Brokerage homes participating in the sale at coldwellbanker.com.
Homeowners whose properties are listed with Coldwell Banker first got approached about participating in the sale around Labor Day. Some sellers have already cut their prices ahead of the ten-day window, and Broude says that at least 18 homes in the Chicago area have been sold in the past ten days as a result of those price cuts. “So we’ve already seen that it’s effective,” he says.
With the number of real-estate sales painfully low at the same time that prices are very appealing, Broude and others hope that the sale will lure buyers who are worried that the market still hasn’t hit bottom or that they won’t get good financing in the present credit crisis. “We want to connect the pools of buyers and sellers,” Broude says. Coldwell Banker’s recent survey of its own agents nationwide found that 76 percent of them felt that a price reduction of up to 10 percent would help bridge the gap between sellers’ and buyers’ expectations. Seventy-seven percent of the agents said that most sellers still have unrealistic expectations of what they should ask for their homes.
Getting sellers to agree as a group to cut their prices is a start toward stimulating the sleepy housing market, Broude says. Of course, the other half of the equation are the buyers: they need to believe that these new markdowns are about as low as home prices will get. And if the Coldwell Banker stimulus plan moves you to go look at, or even buy, a new home between October 10th and October 19th, please let me know. I’m as eager as anyone to see how this works.