Real Estate Q&A: Fruita home for sale gets many looks, no offers |

Real Estate Q&A: Fruita home for sale gets many looks, no offers

Doug Van Etten
Free Press Real Estate Columnist

Q: My mother has had her house in Fruita listed for sale with a real estate company for about two and a half months with no purchase offers from any of more than 40 people who have looked at the house. With many people looking at the house, why has no one been interested in making a purchase offer?

A: That is a very good question! You did not mention whether any of those lookers came back for a second look. A second look is often an indicator of serious interest, and serious interest is what leads to purchase offers. If people have looked a second time and not purchased, the best thing to do is be sure the listing Realtor pursues feedback from the buyer’s Realtor. Two looks by the same party and no offer can be very frustrating for a seller, and it is hard to swallow that the buyer may have found something better. What is generally meant by “better” is that they found what they needed in another house for a price they liked better.

The National Association of Realtors tells us over 90 percent of home buyers do at least some of their home shopping on the web and over 50 percent find online the home they eventually buy. As the Internet has gained in popularity as a home-search tool, the number of calls or emails Realtors receive has declined. Buyers used to call us for more information that they now can usually find online. This online shopping also means far fewer houses get looked at by a buyer walking through the door than ever before.

The fact that your mother’s house has received so many showings is usually an indicator buyers have done their home searching online and her house has made their first cut. Once it is on the buyer’s “saved” list, they may want to go see it. To make it through that first cut houses usually have to show well in the photos used for marketing; they have at least some of the bedroom, bathroom, square footage, RV parking (or not) and other criteria important to any particular buyer; and the price has to be pretty close to what other similar houses have sold for in the area.

Once a buyer has been inside the house, gone outside to listen for traffic noise or barking dogs, and taken a general look at the location and neighborhood, they may write a purchase offer or they may move on to look at and eventually purchase another home.

As a seller, your mother can not control location, proximity to busy streets, size of the backyard, or a variety of other factors. She can control paint, carpet, oil stains on the concrete driveway. However, after a buyer has seen the house both online and live, almost always the only thing that will return their interest in a property is a price adjustment. I like to use the term “adjustment” rather than “reduction” because I can ask a seller how they think or want to “adjust” the price to re-attract buyers who have been in the house and to entice new people to come see the property.

The bottom line is that with over 40 showings the house held appeal to a lot of people, but the price is just not quite right when factored in with all the other criteria in those buyers’ minds. That makes now a good time for your mother to consider a price adjustment. The median days on market for houses that have sold since your mother’s house came up for sale is 75 days in Fruita (for properties priced $150,000-$500,000. That means that her house has already been on the market longer than half of the sold homes. If she is motivated to sell, now is the time to act.

How much price adjustment is enough to attract buyer interest? For those houses recently sold in Fruita, they have sold for, on average, 98.2 percent of the asking price. So if your mother adjusted her price by about four to five percent, since there has already been so much interest in the property, there is a good chance that might be enough of a pricing move to motivate a looker into becoming a buyer. It is important to keep in mind that if a seller is motivated to sell, they need a purchase offer to consider: accept or counter offer. Without a purchase offer a seller can ask any price they want and there may never be an opportunity to negotiate a purchase/sale.

Free Press columnist Doug Van Etten is a local Realtor with Cherry Creek Properties, a Colorado-wide realty firm that recently opened a Grand Junction office. Van Etten has been helping home buyers, sellers and investors accomplish their real estate goals since 1992. To contact him, email

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