how much will sellers take
Should a Sacramento listing agent know the seller’s bottom line? Well, you know, if you have to ask the question, generally the answer is no. I’m just a bit more vocal about it. When I hear sellers headed that direction, I ask them to please stop. Because I don’t want to know their bottom line. It’s none of my business, actually. When we settle on a list price for a home, it becomes my job to get that price. Let’s not muddy the waters or cause more confusion by talking about how much less we will take.
Besides, it might never come to fruition. If I believe I can get the price we list at, that’s the price I tend to get. My goal is to deliver a full price offer (or better). If I spend my time considering the seller’s bottom line, it is possible I could slip up. Not intentionally, mind you, but I do multi-task at times. If I don’t know it, I can’t blurt it. And I don’t want to know it anyway. It undermines the premise of a listing agent. My fiduciary is to my seller.
I talked with a seller yesterday in El Dorado Hills who tried to tell me they would be willing to underprice a home. That tactic doesn’t necessarily work very well in a market of strong inventory. There are more homes for sale in El Dorado Hills than in other neighboring communities. Although I asked her to please let’s just focus on the price she wants, the seller continued to talk about taking less for her home. She seems very eager to get rid of it. Makes me wonder what’s wrong with it. Plus, it makes me hope she ends up listing with me over somebody else who might take advantage of this situation.
I don’t want to know the seller’s bottom line. The bottom line to me is the sales price. Buyer’s agents ask me all the time how low will the seller go? Like, if I knew I would squeal, which I wouldn’t. Or, if I would be so stupid as to venture a number. Which not only violates the fiduciary relationship, making it against the law, but geez, such an extremely ignorant thing to do. I have no idea what a seller will or won’t do. Even if they tell me, I don’t know because I am not inside their head.
Another seller yesterday owns an over-improved property in a neighborhood of mostly 1970’s homes in Citrus Heights. His home burned down a couple of years ago and he rebuilt all but one wall. It’s basically a brand new home in an area with zero new homes. He sounded like he hoped he could get an extra $100K for this home. But I have my doubts about that. People want to buy a home in a neighborhood of similar homes. If a buyer wanted to pay $100K more for a home like his, they would do it in a neighborhood of comparable properties.
In this particular case, the seller’s bottom line is probably way too much. A lesson he won’t learn until it’s been on the market for half a year. Maybe it’s better for another agent to invest that time. I don’t mind being the second agent. Sometimes, I will accept overpriced listings if the seller is reasonable. But in this case, I don’t know if the individual in question is a good risk for me to undertake. I can envision him developing frustration because things aren’t working out the way he imagined. I’ll take blame for my own mistakes but not for somebody else’s. Besides, my own are much rarer.
Sacramento listing agents often joke that all we have to do is go out of town for the weekend to get offers rolling in, and this last weekend trip from Sacramento to see Aimee Mann was no exception. I managed to put another two transactions into escrow for Monday morning. It’s always a good way to start the week. It seems to complete the circle of life of Sacramento real estate, meaning new escrows on Monday, new listings on Thursday and closings on Friday.
Lest anybody who reads this thinks that the circle of life of Sacramento real estate is an easy feat to pull off, let me be clear that this market is a lot tougher for Sacramento listing agents than previous years. It seems like there is a lot more work involved. A few years ago we might get one or two offers, take the best one, and call it a day. Today, if a seller wants market value, we might end up negotiating 5 to 7 offers over the term of 30 days or longer. The first offer doesn’t always work out.
Sacramento listing agents can’t be 100% certain that a buyer will perform no matter what we do. The listing agent can call the lender directly and interrogate but that’s no guarantee. The buyer’s agent can swear up and down that the buyer will close, but that’s no assurance, either. Half the time the agents don’t even know the buyers, they met them briefly at an open house, at the bar or maybe during “floor time” — perhaps bumped into them at the grocery store.
Then I get the buyer’s agents who want to know what my sellers will do. Heck, I don’t know. I’m not inside their head. I’m just the Sacramento listing agent who knows if the buyers sign an offer at the list price, we’ll take it. Don’t call and ask what will my sellers do because I don’t know. No other listing agent likely knows, either, if you want to know the truth.
And if we do have an inkling, we’re not allowed to tell ya.