The House That Wouldn’t Sell (Part 2)

Here is part two of my series which features a fictional account of a couple who have trouble selling their home. It is based on an amalgamation of some of the most common errors made by people hoping to sell their home which ultimately are detrimental to their efforts. Please read from the beginning of part one in order to understand the context of the following passage.

The Interviews

The first Realtor was the most honest Realtor. He suggested a price that in his opinion was low enough to allow it to compete with other similar listings but high enough to get them as much money as possible. Combining his market knwoeldge with his experience he suggested an asking price of $299,000.. He explained that their listing will appear on his personal website, company website and realtor.ca website as well as be in a newspaper ad and be the subject of a couple of promotional events for the property, like and open house for example. In his explanation he stressed the need to price it correctly because assuming that he is doing his job correctly and that they are keeping the home tidy and available to view, that what ultimately sells a place is having it listed at a price that is competitive with a commission that is competitive. He explained that overpricing is the more likely to cost them money than slightly underpricing. (Due to the risk of gainaing a stigma vs. the likelihood of multiple offers.)

He promised to give them a variety of tips and tricks on things they could do to the home to make it more presentable in order to attract the best possible price. He properly explained the risks and benefits of each course of action that came up in their conversation. Although he was very polite and open, at no point did he suck up to the Pilkingtons because he felt that to be a little sleazy and thus beneath his professional standards. His philosophy was simply to give the best service he could.

The second Realtor was the flashy big name Realtor. Roger and Shirley knew his name well from all the bus bench ads and for sale signs with his name. He had been doing business in Nanaimo for over 20 years and was a very busy individual. He always brought this up because to the uninitiated it implied that he knew some sort of special information that no one else did. As soon as he entered the house, they felt as if they had a true real estate master in the house. He had an aura of confidence and was obviously very impressed with their home (lots of oohs and ahs over the garden and the ensuite bathroom and the floor in the kitchen) despite having ‘seen it all‘ when it comes to real estate.

In addition to talking a lot about how busy/successful he was he also said some things that implied that he could sell the home at a higher price than the first Realtor who was really a nobody with no connections anyway. He knew that such nonsense is best left implied rather than explicitly stated and certainly not put it any kind of writing. As if to prove his magnificence he asked the price that the other Realtor had suggested and then said “$299,000? Really? I think you could probably get something like $319,000 for such a nice place. I mean, with such a nice garden and the nice fixtures you have in the ensuite… I have lots of buyers who are looking for something just like this. If we list this, I’ll have some of them looking at the place in a couple of days.”

What never gets brought up here is that this Realtor is hoping to “double end” the property. This means that he wants to represent both the seller and the buyer thus making twice the money. Two birds with one stone if you will. Because of this goal, he takes his time entering the photos and description of the property into the MLS system so that although he is technically following the rules, the result is that only his own buyers and people who visit his personal website get the full info about the property right away rather than sharing the info with the other 400 or so Realtors in town who combined have way more buyers than he ever could. He also didn’t mention his philosophy of “you can’t reduce a listing you don’t have” which is why he “outbid” the other Realtor on the price. He knows he is much more likely to get the listing that way and then when it (probably) doesn’t sell he can talk them into lowering their price. But the market prices are rising anyway so it will eventually catch up to their price anyhow.

The third and final Realtor was the one from a discount brokerage. He charged less than half for his services than the previous two Realtors and emphasized the (true) fact that should Roger and Shirley list with him that the listing will appear on realtor.ca website which is where many buyers look first. As this would save them nearly $7000, this was really appealing to them.

Click here for part 3

 Ryan Coffey

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