The Secret of Why Homeowners Are So Hesitant To Sell Despite Low Inventories

Armen Hareyan's picture
Home low inventory reason

With home inventory well below healthy levels in most areas, why are homeowners so hesitant to sell their properties even if they have to?

I am sure you had these responses after your listing presentation: a) we decided to wait a bit longer, b) we decided to rent it out for now, c) we decided that our kids can share a room for now, d) we are not ready to move and it is OK that only two of us live in a 5 bedroom house, e) we decided to etc. Or, from buyers: a) I decided to save more money and live longer with my parents /or rent, b) I decided to buy something else( yep! some people like toys more), c) etc.

No one can predict what will happen next year, or the year after that, but did you notice that there are more hesitation and procrastination going on? This question is asked by Inna Ivchenko, a Realtor from Los Angeles and here is what fellow real estate agents say about low home inventories despite rising house prices.

Ron and Alexandra Seigel of Carpinteria, CA
I think you have to ask people outright what is influencing their decision. On a recent flight I was seated next to a lady, who told me that she and her husband considered buying a new home...and then backed off feeling that they did not need to. They would rather spend their money on other things. That was her reason. I think many people are not so swayed by moving up or out. Life for many has become more important than stuff.

Joe Petrowsky a Mortgage Consultant from Manchester, CT
There are so many reasons, but I have gotten a couple of answers from folks. Many are concerned about what they will be able to find and many are concerned about being able to qualify for another mortgage.

Jill Murty, Realtor - Orange County, CA
People sometimes make decisions out of fear or uncertainty rather than facts and logic. People change when the solution is less painful than the problem.

Praful Thakkar, Keller Williams Realty - Andover, MA
Most of the towns I see in our neighborhood are close to balanced market - still seller has advantage, though. With holiday season in Winter coming up soon, they just want to stay in the home, hoping that spring market will bring something better for them.

And yes, none of us know how Spring market will be.

Nina Hollander: RE/MAX Executive Realty/Charlotte, NC - Charlotte, NC
Here in Charlotte, NC, they hesitate mostly because once they sell their home quickly they have no where to go. Not enough inventory for them to select from.

Wayne Martin of Wayne M Martin LLC - Sarasota, FL

  1. People think they will wait for prices to continue rising.
  2. People abhor change, even when it is bestt for them!

Debbie Gartner: a Floor Specialist from White Plains, NY
I think for many, it's a big inconvenience and big expense (moving, closing costs, prepping house/dealing w/ showings, time to find a home/another home etc). For many, it does not feel like it's worth it (the time and expense). I think those motivated for personal reasons (e.g. growing family, retiring/moving south, relocating) are much better bets as they really want to/need to move.

Jack Lewitz: IL Real Estate Specialists
There are two kinds of sellers. Those that want to sell and those that have to sell. I am not sure which seller your question is directed at. It is my belief that those who need to sell should do it at anytime of the year because they need to sell. Those that want to sell can put it off for a variety of reasons but I think the numer one reason is they feel they would not get enough money if they sold today and are waiting to get the highest and best price.

Michael Thacker, a Realtor from Louisville, KY
I think that much of that is the new "world" that we live in. People need to, and should be more careful, about the undertakings that they make that could, and often will affect their financial lives for years and years!

Joan Cox, a Real Estate Agent from Denver, CO
In Denver, many homeowners would love to sell, but nervous they will not find a suitable replacement property. I have begun to add "contingent upon Seller finding replacement property" again into MLS to comfort the Seller.

Debbie Reynolds, a Real Estate Agent from Clarksville, TN
I think it is the long term commitment that they aren't ready to make. Not knowing where they want to end up or live is a big part of it or starting a fresh new mortgage. It is easier to do nothing.


Submitted by Teresa Herraiz (not verified) on
This week I went to 3 listing presentation. Grateful I was able to have 2 listed, but they only want it to sign for a 3 month contract. The one that is still pending gave me several reasons. But the main reasons Sellers are confuse to Sell now is that they think next year their equity will increase by 25 % . In my opinion this is an awesome time to Sell.

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