Andrew Wetzel's Musings

June 2, 2017

Dialogue with a Frustrated Seller

Filed under: Uncategorized — awetzel @ 5:13 PM

This is from my blogging archive but worth sharing (I think!).

Below is an email exchange with a seller-client of mine.  Specific details have been removed for confidentiality.  My point in sharing this is to give a dose of reality to my blog and the current market.  The seller is an intelligent person, we have a great relationship and the house is a nice house BUT, these are NOT “normal times”.  Real Estate is NOT rocket science and the solutions are usually obvious.

My seller wrote:  “I must admit that I am getting a bit depressed over the housing situation – but do appreciate your help.”

The situation:  this was an “expired listing”, in fact there were several prior agents.  I contacted the seller, we met, I reviewed the history and the seller’s situation and they hired me to market their house.  According to the seller, the most recent agent moved to an office out of the area during the listing period, they apparently lost interest as there was little interaction/ poor follow up after the move, the multiple listing service (MLS) printout (and, by default, the general Internet marketing) was poor (several critical details were missing making it difficult to “search” for the house.  By this I mean that the house was not coming out in the search results!) and the price was “above market”.  The seller wondered whether the poor marketing was the primary problem so they were reluctant to lower the price “too much” despite the market analysis I did.

I was “hired” and began marketing the home.  I provided the seller with my MLS write up, my property highlight sheet (available in the house for prospective buyers) and links to their listing on the major web sites.  The seller was pleased and felt that my efforts accurately portrayed the house.  I placed a “For Sale” sign in a better location as well (you literally could not see the prior one from the main road).  After becoming convinced that marketing was no longer an issue, the seller agreed to a significant price reduction a few weeks later.  By “significant” I mean that it “re-positioned” the house into a lower “price bracket” so that a different groups of buyers could find it in their searches.  There has been quite a bit of online traffic, few showings, no offers and no calls from the sign.

I replied:  “Pricing is especially critical today.  The buyer’s agent, the buyer and the lender’s appraisers ALL have to accept a price as “valid” so, even after getting an offer, many houses fail to appraise.  While prices may rise over time, “they” are saying it may take years for some areas to get back to where they were a few years ago (NOTE:  it is 2017 and I still find some areas struggling to get back to pre-2008 prices).  What would you do if you knew that were true in your case or, as some are saying, prices will fall even further?  Whether a seller adjusts their price to attract attention and a sale OR holds onto their current price is their choice.  The $64 question is what can a seller do with the money from a sale today and how does that compare (in terms of the “future value” of that money and the relief of not having to sell) to the continued costs of carrying a house into an uncertain future?  This is not an easy question to answer but there are too many sellers not selling while others are selling their houses and moving forward.  The market is difficult but not impossible.  At this point, I am confident I am marketing your house properly and that people can find your house if they are searching for what it offers.  My reports show that they are finding it online and the “For Sale” signage is very obvious on a reasonably well-traveled street.  Something is keeping them out.”

My thoughts:  “today’s buyer” has a great deal of information at their finger tips, many properties to consider looking at and most buyers are very discerning.  The best Realtor can only get a buyer to “know” that a house is available but they cannot force them to look at it or make an offer.  The best agent will not get an over-priced house to settlement if it goes under contract and the worst will not get an under-priced house to sell.  These can be very frustrating times if we all (I mean that in a “collective sense”) ignore the clear signals being sent by the market each and every day.  The hard part is convincing sellers not to take this personally.  If they need a certain price to sell and move, they need to do some homework and know their options.  If ego is involved, that can be costly if prices decline.  Today’s Realtor is so much more than a marketer:  most of my conversations involve listening to seller’s frustration about the market.  In my case, most of my clients literally wasted their time with other agents who should have been able to sell their houses!

One of my favorite slogans is “if you price your house low enough you will not need my services; if  you price your house too high, there may be nothing I can do for you”.

Thank you for reading.

Hire wisely!

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