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On Pricing and Pacing

It’s been a year since the median price of homes in Santa Cruz County passed the Million Dollar and, the market has finally started to show signs of leveling off. The transition from May to June is typically accompanied by a jump in prices as we move into Summer, but this year the median price actually dropped from its all-time high of $1,300,000 in May to a mere $1,175,000 in June.

This is in part because inventory is returning to more normal levels, which some see as a signal that the bull run of the past year may be coming to an end. For some overly optimistic Sellers, this has meant having to reduce their prices. And in related news, buyers in certain segments are starting to regain their footing.

So what should you expect if you put a home on the market in these current conditions? That depends in part on what kind of home you are selling and where it is. In fact, the strategies for pricing and the proper timing and strategies for market exposure can vary greatly depending on the location and sub-market for the specific property.

For example, a home on the Westside of Santa Cruz may get dozens of agents coming through at a broker tour, while a home in Bonny Doon will often not get a single visitor. This is due in part to the low number of homes available in a remote rural area relative to travel time it takes to get there relative to the limited amount of time agents have to see as many homes as possible in the short window of time during the tour.

On the other hand, you will typically get a slow but steady flow to a weekend open house in a rural location like Bonny Doon with a greater percentage of serious buyers than a home in town will typically get, for precisely the same

reason of the amount of travel time, which serves to deter the casual visitor. And with an effective online presence, quite often you will get visitors to an open house for rural property who have come a great distance specifically to see it, while in town can be a little more hit and miss, with a mixture of the serious and not-so-serious attending.

Similarly, the frequency of showings for a rural property will typically be slower, and with more of the focus on the quality versus the quantity of showings. But the seasoned agent will know not to panic, because when it comes time for offers, instead of the dozens of offers like you will often see in town, it just takes two competing offers to get into an overbid situation.

In fact, it’s not uncommon to also see a rural listing go for substantially over its list price when even a low number of competing parties have a strong connection to a place with unique appeal and few if any available alternatives.

It takes a qualified level of awareness to recognize the context of the particular segment you are in to properly gauge the correct pricing and pacing of a listing, and ultimately this will help bring the best possible result and keep the stress to a manageable level as you navigate the highs and lows along the way.

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