Last month, I talked about the strangeness of a buyer's market with no buyers. With skyrocketing costs, it's really no surprise people aren't stepping up to buy, despite the huge selection of properties for sale. The same factors that are making ownership so hard for many are also making things tough for sellers. Both sides are stuck.

For many people looking to sell, it's just not happening. While there are certainly undersupplied areas where offer dates are still working and places are getting snapped up fast, that's no longer the norm across the board.

So, what can you do as a seller to make it happen? Four things: get the price right, understand the data you’re looking at, learn how long it takes to sell in this market, and (most importantly) work with the right agent.

It’s always about price

If someone feels a property is a good value, they'll buy it. It’s that simple. Offering that value may mean lowering your price. But that isn't what sellers want to hear, especially on the heels of the recent real estate heyday. As a result, prices aren’t coming down the way you might expect in a buyers’ market: the benchmark is still up 1.1% from a year ago, while the average transaction price was up 2.0% year-over-year.

When sellers see that kind of increase, they tend to dig in on price. They’re saying “look, prices went up, so I'm going to hold out.” But here’s the thing: it will take a while for this change to filter through.

Most data is lagged data

Also, let's not forget that the real estate data in month-end reports isn't particularly current anymore: it reflects what happened two weeks ago or last month, not what’s going on right now. Sellers are looking at outdated numbers, thinking they can get a better price, and saying no to lower offers. However, after a month or two has gone by, they may end up wishing they took that first offer instead of holding out.

Agents need to consistently tap into hyper-current data. Looking at sold prices from four or five weeks ago isn't going to reflect current value, especially as more and more inventory hits the market. Only up-to-the-minute stats will give clients a realistic picture of what to expect.

As sellers slowly come to grips with this pricing adjustment, the biggest challenge for agents is determining a price current buyers can actually afford.

Look closely at how long the property has been on the market

Price isn't the only stat to focus on, however. Days On Market (DOM) is also important. TRREB reports two kinds of DOM: Property DOM and Listing DOM.

  • Property DOM tracks from the first day a home is listed for sale – whether or not it is temporarily taken down or relisted at a different price.
  • Listing DOM tracks each individual time a home is listed, not the total length of time it has actually been on the market.

A lot of agents will cancel a listing and bring it back and say “hey it was only on the market for 3 days before it sold!” So, what about the 44 days it sat unsold? Knowing which statistic to look at can really help you stay informed and manage your expectations.

Right now in the GTA, property DOM is sitting at about 30 days. It’s taking longer for homes to sell than it did a few months ago. But that amount isn’t unusually high; we've just gotten used to the whole “it sold in one day” landscape, which just isn't the reality anymore.

A great agent will make the biggest difference

This is a time where agents need to go back to offering more. The good news? Because many of them aren’t as busy, they actually have time to go the extra mile right now. Whether it's staging, fancy brochures, or new and different marketing strategies, the agents who step up and put in the work are the ones who will be successful for their clients.

Homes are selling, but they're taking longer to sell – and many are selling for less. That 1.1% increase in average price may not reflect what’s happening in your area. It could have been driven by higher than average sales in a few under-supplied neighborhoods, or a few sales of very unusually high-priced homes.

If you're a seller in this market, be prepared for a more challenging experience than you would have had earlier in the year. Look closely at current data, work with an agent who's willing to put in the extra work, be willing to negotiate – and be patient.


This article was produced in partnership with STOREYS Custom Studio.