The benefits of staying put; some homeowners decide this isn't the right time to sell

The couple admits that they’re not especially decisive people. They still haven’t been able to decide on a replacement for their dishwasher that leaked all over their kitchen floor more than a year-and-a-half ago. They do their dishes by hand now.

So you have to pity the poor real estate agent who’s taken them out on home showings throughout the Western suburbs on five different occasions, spaced out over a two-year period of time. After seeing every batch of homes on the market in the suburbs of Bartlett, St. Charles, Geneva and Batavia, the couple has decided that the time isn’t right to sell their split-level home.

The couple asked that I not use their name or identify their suburb. I won’t do that. But I do have to add, with all affection, that they are a real estate agent’s worst nightmare. One minute they’re dead serious about selling their house. The next? They decide to stay put.

This can be awful frustrating for a real estate agent. Thing is, I wouldn’t sell, or even think of selling, if I were these homeowners.

Here’s why: They’ve paid off their home. It’s just the two of them; they don’t have any children. Why not wait until the market improves before selling their home? They could fetch a better price if they’re patient.

Of course, real estate does have two sides to it. If the couple waits until the market has improved, they’ll end up spending more for whatever new residence they’re purchasing. Me, though? I’d rather have the peace of mind that comes with selling my home for a solid price.

Anyway, I can’t help but be a bit jealous of this couple. Because the residential market is still sluggish, their real estate agent comes when they call. And I would love to have my home paid off. As it is, I’m betting that we actually owe more on our home than what it’s worth.

The couple’s experiences make me wonder how many other homeowners are just like them, yo-yoing from selling to not selling from day to day. This is a challenging time to be a real estate agent. The indecisive homeowners, whom real estate agents can’t ignore as easily as they could during the housing boom, are only making it more difficult.

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