Overpriced properties that don’t sell.  I’m sure estate agents have a word for them and they are a problem.
If we all just want to get on with our lives, then having a property unsold for months holds back it’s seller and all of the potential buyers who are out there but unwilling to pay the over-inflated price.
The expectations of buyers need to be more widely known and not just delivered as the opinion of estate agents.  After all, agents, quite reasonably enough, present their market opinion through the prism of a profit making enterprise.  Ask a buyer directly what they’d expect and be prepared to pay for your property and they’ll give it to you straight.  Their assessment will be based on what it’s worth to them.  Ask an agent and they’ll factor in that they want to sell your home and want to attract your business.  
Traditional bricks-and-mortar agents only really have two levers here although they’ll all tell you how significantly their level of service differs from the competition.  These are:

  • Their percentage fee they’ll charge* 
  • Their valuation of your home

*(I’d be fascinated to hear how fixed price, on-line agents valuations vary from traditional agents)

Unfortunately, as sellers, we’re often dazzled by high valuations.  They may be completely unrealistic and lead to our homes being on the market for months but they succeed in getting us to sign up with the agent.
This is where I think the property market can learn from eBay.
If buyers were able to advertise themselves and their expectations as easily as sellers can advertise properties then sellers would be able to pitch their asking prices more realistically.  
Additionally, if sellers knew what prospective market browsers thought of their advertised property, similar to eBay ‘watchers’ or even Facebook ‘Likes’, they’d get valuable feedback on how their advert was being received.

My belief is that better informed buyers and sellers would lead to a market that operates more efficiently and allows people to move home more rapidly.

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