Don’t Make This Sacramento Home Seller’s Mistake

broken piggybank with dollar notesNothing speaks louder than real-life stories of home seller’s mistakes in Sacramento real estate and, in some cases, it’s pretty tragic. Further, being an optimistic person who tends to focus on just the good stuff, I don’t ordinarily talk about the home sellers who “go south” (no offense to you Southerners) but sometimes the stories ought to be expressed.

I share this particular story in hopes that some other home seller in Sacramento will be spared. First, let’s set some misconceptions aside. In today’s Sacramento real estate market, often the first offer is the best offer you’ll ever get. You should negotiate with that offer and not shrug it away because you didn’t like the sales price. Sellers can harbor futile hopes that another buyer will pay more but that and a quarter won’t buy a Starbucks. The first offer you receive might be the only offer you will get.

Second, after you hire the best Sacramento real estate agent you can find, you should stick with that agent. Don’t listen to those who will try to persuade you that you can pay less and get more. Where in the world does that philosophy work? You tell me because I’ll go to that store. There is always a tradeoff.

A seller begs to go on the market. Needs to sell because she is getting a divorce and cannot afford the house payments. She has equity. The problem with her home is she bought it thinking she was moving into a certain neighborhood, a desirable neighborhood but, for whatever reason, she was misled. She bought a home in a neighborhood that was not so desirable, yet still close to the more popular area.

These types of homes on the outskirts are very difficult and challenging to sell at prices within the skirts. Although an appraiser who is unfamiliar with the neighborhood will use comparable sales in the more desirable area, buyers often won’t make offers in that price range, and therein lies the problem. Besides, there are real estate agents who know the boundaries of neighborhoods, even if the buyers do not. A home on the outskirts could be worth $25,000 up to $100,000 less than other homes located within that 6-block radius.

This seller received an offer that would have paid off her mortgage, all of her closing costs and give her a little pocket change. She refused the offer. She was indignant. A short while later, she asked to cancel the listing. Big home seller’s mistake. I will always cancel a listing for a seller, though. I am not one of those agents who hangs on to the listing with her teeth and makes everybody angry. I just let it go. Besides, people have their reasons. Maybe they no longer want to sell. Or whatever.

Which is what this seller told me. However, soon after the listing was withdrawn, it was back on the market with another agent. The seller said her ex-husband wanted to hire a different agent, but it was difficult now for me to trust anything she had to say. The relationship between a listing agent and a seller is a fiduciary and built on trust. If the trust is gone, the relationship does not exist. She also mustered the nerve to ask if I would give her my photographs because she did not like the photos taken by her new agent. What?

In any case, her home is now pending as an approved short sale. She could have walked away scott-free but chose this path herself. It makes me wonder why people do this. I take no pleasure in her misfortune. In fact, it breaks my heart. I hope it never happens to you. Because you know what they say, you can learn from your own mistakes, but it’s much better to learn from somebody else’s. Don’t make these kinds of home seller’s mistakes.

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