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Searching for Homes With Price Cuts

"If it's not on sale, I'm not buying it." We've been hearing that from people shopping for everything from ball gowns to canned tuna, and evidently it's the motto of a lot of home-seekers as well. Today Trulia is launching a new search filter on its site to allow shoppers to look for only those homes that have had a price reduction. Folks at Trulia say 25 percent of the listings in the District have had at least one price reduction, by an average amount of $81,318.

In this climate, you have to wonder if sellers will (or ought to) build in a price reduction right at the start of the listing, dropping the price after a week or two so these filters catch them.

Sales volume is picking up in the Washington area, and not just because sellers have lowered the price, said Glenn Kelman, chief exec of the Redfin online brokerage. "Buyers have settled down, too," he said. "There was a lot more gamesmanship and uncertainty three months ago than now."

You can find more on Trulia, Redfin and other Web real estate services in a story about the new breed of data-loving home buyers, which I just turned in for Saturday's newspaper.

So, what's your advice? Should sellers list their home a tad higher, so they can splash around news of their price reduction after just a week or two? Are buyers getting too focused on the "price reduced" selling point? Is real estate becoming like rug shops, with their perpetual sales and "store-closing prices?"

By Elizabeth Razzi  |  April 23, 2009; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Buying , Selling , The market  
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Price reductions are irrelevant. Only value matters.

The only additional information price reductions tell you is that the seller _might_ be able to reduce it even further and accept your low offer if you think it's still overpriced.

But really, I only want to deal with sellers who already have resigned themselves to what the going price is for their house. Because anyone who's listing at a wishing price may not be able to bring the money to the table to reduce it (while still being perfectly capable of continuing to pay the mortgage).

Posted by: kingstowne_renter | April 23, 2009 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Price it the home right from the start. Like most going-out-of-business sales, people know the prices get jacked up then reduced by some crazy amount to show a false savings. Plus, you'll never get the same pop as the debut day/week.

But if you want to play this price-reduction game, brokerages like Sawbuck Realty and Redfin let buyers sign up for email alerts and RSS feeds of price drops and other changes in property status.

Cynthia Pang
Sawbuck Realty

Posted by: cynthiapang | April 23, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Quite frankly there is still a lot of mixed information out there. You can find sources that say that prices the DC area has an ADDITIONAL 34% to fall beyond declines to date. Other sources say that DC is one of the best, most stable areas of the country and a good place to buy now.

Posted by: burkemic99 | April 23, 2009 1:43 PM | Report abuse

ZipRealty was in fact the first real estate brokerage and industry site, in February 2006, to introduce a feature for buyers to search for homes that include at least one price reduction. Please see our press release dated February 14, 2006:

Also, ZipRealty tracks that 46.9 percent of the homes listed in the Washington D.C. area have reduced their home price at least once. See the data on

Posted by: ziprealty | April 23, 2009 9:43 PM | Report abuse

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