The House That Wouldn’t Sell (Part 3).
Here is part three 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 are ultimately detrimental to their efforts. Please read from the beginning of part one in order to understand the context of the following passage.
The For Sale By Owner Stage
While still deciding on their best plan of attack for Selling their home, Roger and Shirley had a variety of discussions amongst themselves and with their neighbours who once bought and sold a house. Roger also spoke to his uncle who once bought a house. Shirley decided to speak to her co-worker who watched the news a lot and pays particular attention to the real estate news. She claimed to have once sold a house herself in about two weeks without the help of a Realtor and thus [in her mind] saving lots of money. [She in fact only sold it because she underpriced it and got taken advantage of by a veteran Buyer who had bought and sold dozens of properties over the years.]
After all this chatting with people who they figured would be good sources of info, they reached a decision. They would sell it as a “for sale by owner”. After all, there are so many websites out there where they only charge you a few hundred dollars to put your listing up and they tell you how to make a contract and how to price your home. Roger and Shirley decided that the sale price would be $325,000. They figured that as the neighbour’s house sold for $309,000 last year and prices have gone up a bit plus the fact their home has so many details that are nicer than the neighbours that their home must be worth a bit more.
They had discussed among themselves that they would be willing to look at lower offers and negotiate, they just figured that a higher starting price point would command a higher starting point for negotiations and thus get a higher price for them. They were so excited at the prospect of saving so much money on commission. This way they could put more money into their next home! They dreamed of what kind of lovely home they could afford next with having this extra money for a down payment. Roger and Shirley were enjoying looking at all the real estate listings to give them an idea of what the next home would be like. Would it have an ocean view? A big yard? A jacuzzi jet soaker tub in the ensuite? Granite counter tops?
The for sale by owner sign went up as did the listing on the for sale by owner website. On weekends, so did the open house sign. On the website you could see how many people were looking at their house online. Every day the number of pageviews went up so they were sure that someone would call any day. And eventually someone did. A few days later, someone else called too.
Every time someone called about the house or came to see it Roger and Shirley were very excited and planned what they were going to say to the prospective Buyers to convince them that theirs is the best property of them all. Shirley would often focus on thinking positive thoughts about what was coming while she cleaned and Roger would spend lots of time in the yard putting new flowers or some such thing in to make the home more colourful attractive. The home was looking great! Each time before the Buyers came they did everything they possibly could to make the home appealing. They baked pies before the Buyers showed up to make it smell nice and they made sure the home was super tidy. They had all the lights on and they greeted the buyers at the door and gave them a full tour emphasizing the aspects which they were most proud of. Days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months. Then one day, someone who had come and looked at the place called and said “I want to make an offer.” Roger and Shirley’s hearts both jumped.
Over the next couple of days they talked it over with the Buyer over the phone. It was stressful and nerve wracking making and waiting for all those important phone calls. After a couple of incidents of “I’ll think about it.” which meant long waits nt knowing whether the negotiations were dead or not and some conversations where both sides were trying to be polite and trying not to turn it into a full on argument they agreed on a price. $315,000. It was less than Roger and Shirley had hoped for but it would have to do. It was getting late in the evening so it was agreed that the buyers would come over the next morning at eleven to sign the contract that they had spent so much time and effort preparing and negotiating.
After a poor night’s sleep for all involved,, next morning’s appointment came and went. By noon, Roger had tried calling the Buyer four or five times and only got voicemail. He was starting to think this was an example of the “buyer’s remorse ” he had always heard about. After a couple of days of no contact (and thus no contract), it was obvious that this was the case.
Roger and Shirley were feeling in the dumps for a couple of days and generally tried to avoid pushing the blame on each other or getting wrapped up in thoughts about what they wish they had done differently in that negotiation. Regardless, they pressed forward as they felt that there must be others out there who are interested as well. After all, it only takes one buyer to make it all happen.
The listing stayed up as a ‘for sale by owner’ for a few more weeks before another offer came in from another Buyer.
This time they had learned from their previous mishap and got the contract signed right away. “Whew!” Shirley said looking at the signed contract in her hands “I guess we’re over the hump now!” The Buyer’s best friend who is a longtime construction worker came and did an “inspection” of the property with the Buyer. The signed documents were taken to a lawyer and to a bank for the Buyer’s financinc. Everything seemed to be moving smoothly until one day a sheepish and short phone call came from the Buyer saying that they couldn’t qualify for the mortgage. The Buyer was obviously really upset because they felt that their new job made the payments easy to make but the “stupid bank” didn’t agree.
Suffice to say, Roger and Shirley weren’t as chipper as they were when they put the for sale by owner sign up.