- Episode 38 -
Everyone says that when you become a listing agent you’ve truly made it in real estate. You list a property, are guaranteed the listing side of the commission and it’s up to everyone else to sell it for you. Sure you have to do your marketing and stay in constant contact with your sellers but the offers will eventually come if the property is priced right in any market.
But what if it isn’t priced right and what if you can’t get your sellers to listen to a word you are saying? You are the professional right? You do this for a living, correct? You know your market and your goal is to sell homes in order to pay your bills and make money. And wasn’t it the seller that selected and hired you over everyone else to sell their property? We all know that sellers think that their homes are worth billions regardless of the upgrades or lack thereof, and sometimes I have to think that sellers just don’t get the true concept of what it means to actually sell a home.
Let me tell you the story that has become known around my office as “Dumb and Dumber”…
A while back I took two listings, both for single family homes in a very desirable community. It’s an older area that brings about the true “neighborhood feeling” with its mature, tree-lined streets and its location of being in the center of all activities. The homes are about the same size – 2800’, both have four bedrooms, two and a half bathrooms, pools, two car garages, newer roofs, AC and hot water heaters, and both have water views of the canals running through the area.
And each home, built in the mid 1980’s, are stuck in the mid 1980’s.
Both need complete remodels of at least $60K - $85K – new kitchens and bathrooms, new flooring throughout, new windows and doors, new pool surfaces and a plethora of other items that are too numerous to mention.
On both listing appointments I suggested to each homeowner that based on the comps in the community, they list their properties, because of the size of the homes and the newer, big ticket items, for the average listing price between $390K - $410K. I presumed that the offers would probably come in around $375K - $400K so they would then be able to negotiate and finally settle somewhere in the middle. That is how it works isn’t it?
The first seller decided that they wanted to try higher and wished to list their home for $439K to which I gave my famous speech – “we can list it your way for a while but if we don’t have an offer within the month, we do it my way and reduce the price to get it sold.” That was nearly six months ago – we’ve had very little interest and received only one offer just recently – cash for $385K to which the seller would not even counter because it was “too low”. Regardless of what I say or do, the seller refuses to lower the price so it sits…and it sits…and the listing gets older by the day.
Seller #2 saw Seller #1’s property on the market for a while, and on the listing agreement I suggested that Seller #2 undercut Seller #1 and price their home at my now suggested middle price - $400K. I’m not sure what Seller #2 didn’t understand but they contracted to list their home for $469K – $69K more than the average price in a community where the highest priced home to date that was totally redone and move in ready sold for $452K. On what planet they figured they could sell their home I don’t know. Again I sat them down, gave them the speech and while I thought they were understanding what I was saying they insisted that we stick to the $469K and “see what happens”.
Anyone fresh out of real estate school, or basically anyone for that matter who ever watched HGTV, could tell them what was about to happen.
Just like Seller #1’s property, Seller #2 had very little interest and just a few showings, and the comments received from those who did see the home included:
“There’s way too much work to do for that price.”
“The house needs a complete redo.”
And one agent flat out said, “my buyer thought the house was horrible and needed to be knocked down.”
The only comment from either seller, after hearing such feedback was, “I guess my home isn’t what those buyers are looking for.”
I should have run as fast as I could from both listings. But it was an area I wanted to get into for a long time, and having my sign in the front yard was actually bringing me more potential sellers, and buyers, for other homes in the same neighborhood. I may not be selling my listings, but I sure was selling like crazy the other homes that were priced right just down the street from each of my “luxurious estates”.
But it was time to “kick it up a notch” – you don’t get paid if you don’t sell – I had to get these sellers to comprehend the situation we were in and I had to get this inventory moving. I came up with the perfect, sure-fire plan…
Or so I thought.
Next week’s continuing saga will floor even the most seasoned of agents.
Kay Conageski is a professional Realtor® with The Keyes Company based in Plantation, Florida. Check out her RESAAS profile ›