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Brickor mortis is the real estate equivalent of rigor mortis, when a house fails to move on the market, in response to a number of factors. Unlike rigor mortis, brickor mortis is potentially curable, although the property owner must generally be willing to take a hit on the price. Otherwise, the home will simply die on the market, sitting on the market for months and generating little to no interest.
Several factors come together to create a case of brickor mortis. The first is a lack of understanding of the current market on the part of the seller, who may ask too much for the property. Many sellers have an idea of the worth of a home which may differ from the opinion held by real estate professionals or the market, and sometimes they have difficulty adjusting the price of a home to meet the expectations of the market.
High expectations can be a big problem during an economic downturn, when property values tend to fall. Potential buyers may turn their noses up at properties they perceive as overvalued, believing that the price will eventually drop, or that they can find a better deal elsewhere. Buyers who might be interested in a home regardless of price may also have difficulty getting financing in a struggling economy, especially if the bank finds similar properties in the same area at much lower prices, suggesting that the home is overvalued.
When all of these circumstances combine, a real estate agent may have a case of brickor mortis on his or her hands. As a general rule, agents recommend dropping the price of a home if the listing has generated absolutely no interest in the first two weeks on the market, as this suggests that the home may be over-valued. Sellers who refuse to lower their prices may find that the home will not sell, even if they switch sales agents. Agents who try to move property as quickly as possible may recommend dropping the price enough to generate interest from multiple buyers, potentially setting up a bidding war which could bring the price back up again.
Brickor mortis can paralyze a housing market, especially in a region where property prices have historically been high, and people are slow to adapt to a changing market. As a result, a large inventory of unsold homes can flood the market, making it difficult to move any property, and sometimes contributing to blight, as empty homes tend to be less well cared-for than homes which are occupied. Especially if a home sits on the market for a long time, the motivation to maintain it may disappear, and the home may be allowed to fall into disrepair, which of course makes it even more difficult to sell.
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