The Euphemistic Price Improvement

Times are changing in real estate.

Properties are not selling like they used to along the Emerald Coast of Florida. Sales within a few hours or a few days are now a rarity.

Suddenly, it seems, prices are too high.

In the first six months of 2022, in the communities of Destin, Santa Rosa Beach, Niceville, and Fort Walton Beach, there were about 550 price reductions of properties for sale, including houses, condos, townhomes, and lots. In the second half of 2022, from July 1 to December 31, there were over 1100 price reductions. That’s double.


Fear has crept in. Real estate agents, many of whom entered the field recently, aren’t used to working in a normal market. They have never seen a market downturn. They have never asked for a price reduction. They never needed one. After all, if the average days on market is one week, and most listings sold above asking price, where would the skill of pricing be required?

And the past few years haven given rise to much fluffery in the language of marketing. Somehow, words like “luxury”, “prominent”, “unrivaled”, and “superlative” were attributed to almost any listing priced above $500,000. (That’s a fairly common thing along the Emerald Coast.) So, what were agents to do to save from the dreaded use of a pedestrian term when, horrors, a price must actually be “cut”?

Price Improvement.

That’s when the term “price improvement” was introduced.

The three syllable euphemism for… PRICE CUT!

“Price improvement” sounds so grand. It sounds as if the property itself had been improved. As if there were fear of tainting the offering if the truth were told. But truth be told… The price was cut! It was reduced! It was lowered! It wasn’t really “improved”. There is no shame in that. It’s a perfectly normal thing to do when a property doesn’t sell in a reasonable amount of time. (It’s been done for eons, in real estate, and in all sorts of other industries.)

(Just an aside, “price” itself is not the subject of value hypothetically being “improved”. A “price” cannot be improved. How could it, by putting it in bold font?)

Let’s be direct. Enough with the flowery hyperbole. Tell it like it is. The consumer may actually appreciate it.

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