Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Listing Homes in Today's Market, and the Passive Aggressive Seller

As a broker that works with both buyers and sellers, it is sometimes a strange dichotomy being on both sides.

Sometimes I am jealous of, and contemplate being a buyers agent. It would seem to be simpler, have an us versus them attitude, and travel around with abject disdain at any and all over priced listings.

There is absolutely something pure and hopeful about meeting and working with a motivated buyer. Newness and discovery, and exploration.

On the other side, selling seems to be a sadder experience. Really the only thing that makes a prospective seller happy when meeting with a broker is the hope that the home is worth what they have heard it may be. Everyone has heard whispers about what it may be worth, but they always seem to cling to the highest. That is until John the Grinch comes along and shatters their illusions.

It reminds me of an incident that happened to me when I was around eighteen or nineteen. I was helping my then girlfriend's family clean out an old barn full of furniture. I discovered a Hank Aaron rookie baseball card from the Milwaukee Braves from 1954. Her family said I could keep it. I had a feeling it was worth some money. But I had no idea how much.

Now this was at around eight o'clock on a Sunday night, in the very early nineties, so there was no way to verify how much the card was worth. There was no google or yahoo or eBay or howmuchisthiscardwoth.com. I had to wait until Monday to call a card dealer.

Now keep in mind that to me this was found money. But throughout that evening the worth of that card ballooned in my head. I spoke to a friend who told me his dad sold a Mickey Mantle rookie card for like $75,000. By the time I went to sleep that night I was a possible millionaire.

It turned out the card was worth around $800. $800 of found money, but by the time I spoke to the card dealer, I was disappointed.

It seems that this same thing happens to a lot of the possible sellers that I speak with. I have a very careful comparative market analyses that I follow, and when I present them with what I feel the home is worth, invariably I get the crestfallen look, and a stony silence.

Now the ones that protest, are easy. I am armed with comps. and reasons and explanations. As part of my listing process, I let the sellers know that if they want to hire a licensed appraiser to appraise the home, I will reimburse them that cost at closing from my commission.

Now I'm sure some of you know my feeling on the appraisal process, but having a house previously appraised makes it much easier once the bank appraiser comes in. Sort of the herd mentality, also it makes it easier during negotiations. "liscensed bank appraisal" sounds very official.

I guess finally I have gotten to the point of this post. Recently I have has sellers agree with me on the price I told them, make it seem as if they are ready to list, and then drop off the face of the earth.

I had one guy who called me to list his property. He had had it on the market for a year prior, with a few bites, but nothing real. I told him that I thought it was priced to high, lets drop it twenty percent, which is still high, considering the market, but we could guage the response. He agreed, I sent him the paperwork, and I never heard from him again. Voicemails went unanswered. Then last week I see it listed on the mls for twelve percent higher then it was originally for. Sorry I did not realize we were in a real estate boom.

I wish him luck. I just feel that agents should not be rewarded for over pricing listings, and then once a realtionship with the seller has been establsihed, massage a reduction. Believe me I have been guilty of taking over priced listings, and all you end up with is unhappy sellers.

I suppose for some it is easier to be passive, and list with a yes ma'am realtor. That way they can hold onto the dream of the big payday for a little longer, which in some cases may be comforting. All I can say to them is good luck.

1 comment:

  1. Doesn't matter what you list at right now. Prices are in a free fall. The low is two years away.