- Listing "vacant"
- Encouraging agents/buyers to "Play their own game."
- Good photos
- Good presence at open house
- Keeping good rapport with second position agent/buyer
This was another great example of perfect timing. The owners used the winter months to get the home pre-inspected and work through the resulting punch list. They hired a good inspector with a good reputation, so the inspector’s report was considered credible by buyers agents and buyers. We were able to take photos (day and dusk) when the light was good, and had them on-hand for a nice stretch of weather. The home was technically still occupied by the sellers, but they had the ability to stay elsewhere during that period of good weather, so we listed the home as vacant.
Buyers were able to come and go with their agents (and possibility their inspectors). The long periods of time alone in the home without having to worry about the sellers return helped a few sets of hopeful buyers to form emotional bonds with the home and to imagine what their lives there would be like. When agents asked me how many pre-inspections we had, I was able to tell them that I honestly did not know. This is important, because sometimes Buyers lose interest when they hear that too many other parties are interested.
View listing details here.
The market was in a state of transition (from buyer’s market to seller’s market) at the time we listed, and I was interested to re-discover that one of the reasons to have a good agent host at open houses is to make sure that some conversations stop. At one open house, a couple agents got together and started a conversation in front of buyers about how they thought the market was over-priced. While they have a right to their opinions, I had a right to encourage them to move it along, so I did (the market has appreciate at least 10%, probably 15% or 20% for this house since that time).
This was another “appraisal challenge.” I met the appraiser with my best comparables, and tried everything I could to get him to see the value at our $1,001,000 list price, but…I finally “lost” one and the appraisal came back at $950,000. But I don’t like losing, so I told the buyers agent that another buyer had been sad that they didn’t control the purchase, and would likely pay her clients contract price, but without the protections of an appraisal contingency (or financing addendum at all, for that matter). She and her clients countered that the seller and buyer should “meet halfway” at $975,000. The sellers were ready to agree to that number, but I believed that the buyers could both afford the home and wanted it badly enough to pay their price. And, I believed that the second position buyers would do the same, so I encouraged the second position buyer’s agent to get me an offer for $1,000,000 without financing or appraisal contingencies. He did. I then told the first buyer’s agent that we had what we thought we had, and that we respected her client’s position should they prefer to get out of the contract based on appraisal, but that the home would sell to someone else for $1,000,000. The first position buyers came up with the additional down payment to satisfy their lenders and their low appraisal, and they closed on the house at $1,001,000.
I get this question a lot. My observations: the best opportunity often seems to come when the property has been on a while at the current price. When the Seller drops the price, they are likely to dig in at the new number, and less likely to take a lower offer before giving it some time. If they manage price drops correctly, they can always keep the pressure up.
I just had another client ask me whether he should make an offer on a property he likes…Buyers typically ask this if they are worried about getting emotionally committed to a home and then not getting it; normally by being "beaten" out by other Buyers. Every case is different, but generally…make the offer. Unless you are so battle-worn that you just can't take it anymore…dust your shoulders off and get back in there. You can't win if you don't play. Better to play and lose than to not play and see someone else win a game that you could have won.