Silly Things Sellers Say
Today I sat down and thought about my best and my toughest sellers. I haven’t worked with any truly “bad” people. Thankfully, I’m also at the point in my career where I can be choosy about who I serve! But I’d be lying if I said that all of my clients were always easy to work with in selling their home.
Here are five things I heard from sellers in 2017 that gave me pause. Some of these came from potential sellers who I declined to work with. Others came from my own clients. Please look over these statements and consider your own sale. I want you to be successful! However, if any of these statements sound familiar, please think about whether you should be selling and if you are sabotaging your own sale.
- “I really don’t need to sell.” Thankfully very few sellers must sell! I hate seeing situations where a death, divorce, or an ugly event forces someone to sell their property! However, all sellers want to sell for one reason or another. When I hear this statement, I recognize that I am speaking with a seller who has some fear about the process. Maybe they’re scared of being taken advantage of by their agent. Perhaps they’re worried about an unscrupulous buyer. It could also be one or multiples of many other issues.
Lesson: Remember that nobody controls the entire process. Real estate is a collaborative effort between the seller and their agent, the buyer and their agent, financial institutions, and plenty of other parties who play smaller but significant roles. Choose an agent with integrity who you trust to be honest, fair, and responsive. Be sure they know the market and know how to negotiate in this market. If your agent has these things, you will not be taken advantage of by anybody.
- “Let’s price it high. We can always come down.” While it is difficult to increase a price, many sellers believe that buyers always come down some specific amount or percentage. This is absolutely untrue. Buyers consider each property, review the market, and draft what they perceive to be an appropriate offer. Yes, there is usually room for negotiation. However, we also need to remember that we are in the Midwestern United States. Midwestern negotiation is best described as “Midwestern nice.” Outside of specific large cities (Chicago and Minneapolis are prime examples), people go out of their way not to insult each other. The reason overpriced listings rarely get offers is because buyers do not want to insult the seller. Those of you from the coasts, parts of the south, or who come from cultures outside of the USA with a tradition of strong negotiation are probably very shocked. “It (negotiation) is not personal; it’s just business!” That idea does not work in most parts of the Midwest.
In addition, the first week of any listing is its hottest period with its most exposure. This first week is never the time to turn off buyers with unrealistic prices!
Lesson: Overpricing in the beginning is a bad tactic, and it is an especially poor idea in the Midwest due to “Midwestern nice.” To sell any property without excessive drama and frustration, sellers must be realistic in pricing right from the beginning.
- “If it is meant to be, then it is meant to be.” This is an excuse used by sellers who want to shield themselves from making tough decisions. Here’s a secret I learned the hard way: People only earn what they fight to get. If you are a seller who wants a great sale at an excellent price, it will take more than wishing, hoping, and passivity. You must take an active role in your sale, consider wise counsel, and then take action! Those who are passive in life get whatever anybody else is willing to give. If you are selling your home and allow somebody else decide what to give you, be ready for disappointment, frustration, and a lower price than you deserve.
Lesson: Take action and be your own best advocate! Real estate sales are a horrible time in your life to be passive and place your future in someone else’s hands. Act and take action!
- “But it has only been on market for a few days / a week / not even a full month!” I heard this from someone who received an offer 1% lower than asking. Consider a few realities; property taxes, maintenance and repairs, utilities, and mortgages are all expensive. Do some math. How much is that 1%? How much do those property taxes, maintenance and repairs, utilities, and mortgage cost every month?
If those expenses are greater than the 1% price drop, accept the offer! You did not price the property too low, you priced it right! If the expenses are less than the 1% drop, how much less? If this offer is rejected and none higher arrives next month, would you have been better off accepting the offer?
Lesson: Weigh your expenses versus any reduction in offer price. Remember that your first offer is nearly always the highest offer. Beware of turning it away, even if it came in record time!
- “Those other houses don’t matter. They were short sales / foreclosures!” Yes, they do count. Unfortunately, they count for a lot more than we prefer. Barring an all-cash deal, the most powerful person in any transaction is not the seller, buyer, or either agent. It’s the bank appraiser. It does not matter if seller demanded $x, the buyer preferred $y, and the seller and buyer eventually settled on $z. The bank appraiser is the final and mostly unappealable authority. (“Mostly” because appraisals are only be appealed with hard evidence of appraiser error. For example, they forgot to include 1,000 square feet in your house or missed a bathroom.)
Short sales and foreclosures normally sell below their true value. Some bank appraisers will properly take this into account and adjust their sale price. Many others do not.
Lesson: Sellers must accept the legitimacy distressed sales and be ready to adjust around them. If there are multiple distressed sales in an area, sellers may want to consider whether this is the year to sell.
My name is Mike Kwiatkowski and I am a Broker Associate with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage. I want to be your home seller! Please call or email; let’s talk about your wants, needs, and goals! My email is firstname.lastname@example.org and my direct cell phone number is 414-207-2938. I look forward to hearing from you!