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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Shark Bait

An agent sat down with me to discuss a former listing of his the other day.  He'd had it listed about 18 mos, replaced carpet, power washed the exterior, professionally cleaned the interior, yard work completed, exterior paint touched up, visual tour, video, CMA results and pricing options.  You name it - he did the works.  Even advised them to remove the dated, heavy dark drapes to let in some light and show off the fabulous views.    Two weeks after an incredible agent luncheon the sellers transferred the listing to another agent in the same company.  He wanted to know why I thought he didn't get it sold.  (well shucks Sweetie - it STILL ain't sold)!

I have shown said property many, many times.  More while he had it listed, less now.  Qualified buyers, they could buy and did buy (something else), no issues with financing at all.  Four of them were relocation buyers - absolutely buying and closing QUICKLY!   They all liked the home at first blush, some put it on the list of possibilities.  They all changed their minds when it came time to make the hard decision, IS THIS THE HOUSE?

Recently I had a buyer call and ask to return with her husband on a Sunday and take a second look at his former listing.  They spent a good 2 hours on site (its furnished but 'vacant').  Oh how they loved it, it was THE house.  In order to buy they must sell first so after a sad goodbye they went home to dream and wait.  Two weeks ago they called.  The Christmas holiday brought considerable interest in their current home and they thought it wise to return for a second look.  Look at a DIFFERENT house, one listed approx $120,000 higher.

Why, when they began to seriously consider buying did they choose another home?  The location of the former property offered an excellent opportunity to live on one of the finest streets in our market - at the lowest historical price in (as Taylor Swift might say) EVER. The VALUE appears to be there, they HAD seen it!  But they changed their minds when it became time to actually spend the $$$$

None of these buyers offered a definitive reason to take the home off their list. I have a theory.  It goes back to that relationship issue.  The original listing agent provided guidance, recommendations, and market projections.  The problem was - and as a buyers agent over the course of those months I can attest as to when the sellers cooperated or 'bought into' his plan.  It was NOT prior to list, but under duress, as the months went along.  And it was never in it's entirety.  Piece by piece, bit by bit, I would see changes as I brought one buyer after another through the home and tried to 'sell' the home.  I have begun to realize that I am having to work too hard to sell that home.  I am beginning to feel as though I am losing credibility with my buyers.  I have fallen out of love with the listing that I had such confidence in.  If that is true for me I imagine it is true for other agents.  Except for the agents  that pride themselves in finding just such properties.  The listings that have gotten weak.  They will check the history in MLS, put out feelers, sniff around.

This house is dead in the water.   I truly believe that if the sellers had bought into the entire marketing plan, worked with their original agent FROM DAY ONE it would have sold in a reasonable time to achieve their goals.  

I expect this to end badly.  The property will sell well below market value and the original CMA price (what a traditional resale at that location would sell for).  The concessions will be hard - closing costs, a roof, extensive repairs.  They will tear it to shreds.  It's inevitable, buyers will smell blood in the water.  They will wait, circle and someone will gobble it up.

The first question that buyer will ask is...'is this a foreclosure'?