We’re in a legit seller’s market & have been through 2017 to this point. This summer, typically our S.L.O.W. season, was so busy that I haven’t had a vacation yet… The last 2 homes I’ve put in escrow sold with multiple offers after being on the market for a little while. It’s enough to make sellers crazy! That said, there are a few things you MUST keep in mind and a few things agents do that separate the rookies from the pros, who’re worth every penny you pay them.
Here’s what you need to know…
- Get bent out of shape! PLEASE. STAY. CALM. !!! I can show you scientific proof that your chances of making good decisions (i.e. wise choices- financial, far-reaching, irreversible, etc.) go out the window when your heart rate exceeds so many beats per minute (BPM). If you’re not careful, you could lose the sale & blow your chances with other buyers too. I once had 20 offers on an REO listing I had in Laveen years ago. I had to make it through the top 6 or 7 before I found one that stick. Losing your momentum is the worst thing to happen to a listing that’s hot out of the gate!! The next place to stay calm? After you receive the Buyer’s Inspection Notice (AKA “the BINSR”).
- Be too demanding. There’s a lot of emotion in selling a home, especially when 2 buyers want YOUR palace. It’s easy to get a little opportunistic and start expecting the sun, moon & stars. Buyers are flaky- they are very emotional too. An emotional buyer & seller is a recipe for disaster! This town isn’t that big (I grew up outside NYC) and people (read: agents & buyers) talk. In close-knit communities, like Arcadia & PV, sometimes I know exactly where buyers who walk away from my listings are headed.
- Stop showing your house or keeping it show-ready. Just like take off & landing are the most likely times for an airplane to crash, the inspection period (typically the first 10-15 days) & the closing are the most volatile times during a home sale. It ain’t over till the fat lady sings- the fat lady is the escrow officer or me telling you the escrow officer sang. I can spot things going sideways from a mile away. Sometimes I may just sound cynical, but I’ve seen a lot. And what I haven’t seen personally, my colleagues have warned me all about already. Please stay on the straight and narrow if you want to cross the finish line with minimal drama.
- Share details of the sale price or terms with- neighbors, friends, your agent friends… There’s a reason the Realtor® Code of Ethics forbids us to share the details of a sale with anyone, without the seller’s written permission! I had multiple offers on a listing I just put in escrow. I’d had 4 offers before finally reducing the price one more time and getting multiple offers. The 1st buyer to the table had a number that was substantially above a previous buyer who was sniffing around again. The next buyer knew of the first one on the table and came in with a VERY strong offer & terms. The next buyer was someone I showed the house to myself. He wasn’t aware of the other 2 and verbally planned to come in MUCH lower. When it finally sunk in he wasn’t alone, he wanted me to share “the number” with him. I refused. He said, “I’ll match the offer you have.” I said, “I can’t tell you the number or terms. Please tell me what it’s worth to you and I’ll write it up”. I wouldn’t give in, but can say within an hour he was willing to go $25K ABOVE my initial list price! Funny thing though, this cash buyer was never was able to get me: his proof of funds, the details I needed to write up his offer, etc. Good thing I didn’t give in, get my seller all wound up on an unrealistic number that never materialized anyway…
- Have a plan for a fast exit– rent, buy something else, move away. Nothing is worse than having no plan at all. In spring 2015, 2 clients’ home sold in days (at the same time). Though one seller was in 85254 & the others were in McCormick Ranch and they were on different paths, they had to get out fast! The solution for both were fully furnished seasonal rentals. The couple stayed at theirs for about 6 weeks before relocating out of state and the other stayed for a month, and then another month and then scrambled to find something long term before the rent jumped up at high season! I’ve done that charade myself and it can be a bit scary, especially if you’ve got your whole house in storage and kids/pets trailing behind you. Whether it’s Hotel Mom & Dad or a 6-month rental with a flexible termination, figure it out right away.
- Make a list of what you need & want from the sale, then choose wisely from your offers! If you’re a low-stress, low drama seller, a buyer who is a pain in the A$$ from the start, will probably be a pain in the EVERYWHERE in your body by the end. Trust me on this one. Pain in the a$$ agents are the same. If I had a nickel for every time a seller said “it wasn’t worth the extra $X to deal with…” Actually, they never say it, but the sentiment seeps out of every pore of their body every time we speak…
- Look at the ENTIRE OFFER & TERMS before you make a selection or counter. “Highest and best” offer isn’t always the *best* offer for the seller!!! Even if you get an extra $10K, incurring an extra $5K in moving expenses for “rush” move & the hassle of figuring out how to locate a house that hasn’t existed for 9 mos (IT HAPPENED TO ME!!!) may not be worth it. I can’t emphasize how much the “little things” make a difference. Being able to lease back, buying all the furniture, cash sales with no appraisal, a fully pre-approved buyer with money already at escrow.
- Pick a good agent who knows most of this ahead of time… like ME. Duh!. 😉 All kidding aside, agents who’ve experienced the ups and downs of the market have good memory (or should). Making the same mistake over and over is crazy-making stuff. There’s a movie about it… “Groundhog Day”, coincidentally my birthday. Trust when I say, “don’t do X”, there’s a reason for it. I won’t say “I told you so”, but knew it would blow up & really can’t help with:
- Buyers freaking out because the seller choose not to repair an item(s) the buyer’s agent specifically said was a “big deal”
- Expecting a fast sale on a dated home in Paradise Valley, DC Ranch, North Scottsdale priced over $2M (under-performing market), even though the rest of the market is “UP”
- Not understanding why the house didn’t appraise for the sales price, even though I told/showed/promised you I had nothing to support that value
- Being surprised when some repair I brought to your attention before we listed, is suddenly a big deal *now* (i.e. a bad roof)
Trust me. NO ONE hates for a deal to fall apart more than me. In 12 years, I’ve been around the block though. Even when times are good, it pays to have a healthy dose of reality in your back pocket. When it’s all over, we’ll laugh about it over lunch/cocktails/coffee/whatever you want. I just need to get you get to the finish line… With that, I’m off to argue why ~$10K in repairs doesn’t equate to a $25K price reduction for my sellers… (couldn’t make this stuff up…).
Have a great week! ☀️