Earth to Seller…

OK, it’s 2011. Things are improving a little too…I’m certain of that. In spite of that, we’ve just come out of a few pretty lean years to say the least and because of that it would see to me that folks putting their homes on the market would sort of grasp the fact that things just are not what they were. What do I know! Truthfully, most sellers do understand that things are a bit different…but there always seems to be one in every crowd who doesn’t have a clue.

I wrote an presented an offer last week on a house in Belmont that had some competition. Competition actually isn’t what it was a few years ago. All offers came in right around the asking price on this place. The seller, apparently thinking that this place was the only house for sale in San Mateo County, countered us $50,000 over asking. Seems that the seller felt that this was their one and only shot to really maximize their asset and decided to plunge into the negotiations. Last year, with no competition at all, I had another seller counter $50,000 over asking too. In that case the seller just thought she deserved it since a neighboring house had sold for the higher price a couple of years ago. She was entitled to it, after all.

Here’s a funny rule about real estate that’s proven to be true to me time after time. A buyer really doesn’t care what a seller thinks, feels or wants. They’re concerned with what they think, feel and want. Strange, huh? In both cases described above, the seller’s came back down to earth.  Why not, you ask? It’s sort of a dangerous game if you ask me. It ‘s not that difficult for me to see a buyer getting annoyed or frustrated with a seller’s lack of awareness of reality and just walking away from the negotiation. I’ve heard a ton of stories of sellers shooting themselves in the foot by being unrealistic and ultimately taking alot less for their house after a month has gone by because they lost a good buyer by being too greedy early in the transaction.

Here’s the thing, the market is different than it was a few years ago. If you’re thinking of selling…that applies to you. It’s funny how many sellers believe that when it applies to everybody else…certainly their house is special though, right? Umm…no! The odds are great that you won’t get $100,000 over asking like we did in 2004ish. Negotiate good and hard, but be realistic. Please.


  1. Just had a seller tell me he didn’t care what his next door neighbor’s house sold for when evaluating the price of his. Huh. I’m stumped.

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