sacramento listing agent
This article titled: Double Ending the Short Sale vs Giving the Seller Highest and Best Shouldn’t Be a Dilemma, was written by Elizabeth for another publication back in the sorry years. Enjoy. — JaCi Wallace
Many Sacramento listing agents are receiving multiple offers, and not just on REOs or short sales. Any attractively priced, well appointed home in a desirable Sacramento location is likely to draw the attention of more than one buyer. The listing agent plays an important role toward helping the seller figure out which offer to accept because the highest offer isn’t always the best offer.
On top of that, sometimes the listing agent will bring his or her own buyer to the table. In that case, the agent is operating in dual agency but it does not relieve the agent from protecting the seller’s interests.
Take, for example, California taxation on debt forgiveness. Although the federal government will not tax mortgage debt forgiveness on an owner-occupied dwelling in 2009, the state of California is no longer exempt. The exemption expired Dec. 31, 2008. That means it is extremely important for a short sale listing agent to get the seller the highest price. A higher price equals less debt forgiveness. The lower the short fall, the lower the tax.
Yesterday an agent emailed to say she was about to write an offer on one of my Sacramento short sale listings. I told the agent that a buyer had expressed interest in writing an all-cash, full-price offer, so she would need to beat that offer. Fortunately, the buyer hadn’t yet contacted me directly to write the offer, so I had no fiduciary relationship to the buyer. Giving the seller highest and best as a listing agent means exactly that.
The thing is I don’t know if most agents would sabotage the chance to double-end their own deals just to net the seller more money, but that wasn’t my first thought. I was focused on getting the seller the highest price. After I clicked “send,” I watched my chances of earning twice the commission slip silently away. I thought about it before I clicked the send button, so it’s not like it just dawned on me, yet it was the right thing to do. I don’t think we can ever go wrong in this business by listening to our conscience and doing the ethical thing.
Having been on the other end as a buyer’s agent, I’m wondering how many agents would agree with me. Giving the seller highest and best is what we do.
Should a listing have a pending sale sign in the yard? It depends. We have a Sacramento listing that recently had five offers. We are pending sale and have two back up offers. One of these two buyers signed a back up addendum and a multiple counter offer form. This buyer is ready to go into a sales contract if the first offer fails for any reason. In this case, the seller wants a pending sale sign in the front yard as soon as possible. The home sold in 5 days, so sellers are thrilled and want the neighbors to know how fast it sold.
So in contrast, if we did not have multiple offers, the answer to, should a listing have a pending sale sign in the front yard, is no. We get calls daily from people driving by our listings. If a pending sale sign were in the yard, they would never call us as inquiring minds want to know. In essence, a pending sale sign stops the phone from ringing.
A friend of mine, Realtor Kim Pacini-Hauch, had a large property for sale on the river. A gentleman had flown into town for business. He was driving out along the river on the Garden Highway one sunny afternoon. He saw her for sale sign and called her. She drove out immediately to show it to him as he was flying out at 8:00 PM. She wrote a contract on the house and sold it on the spot. It was $3,725,000. He told her he was not looking online had just been driving an area he thought was beautiful. Without a for sale sign, or if the property had a pending sale sign, he would not have called either way.
The moral of the story is if pending sale sign were posted in the yard, he would not have called Kim. A back up offer is always warranted. If the property had been a pending sale, she would have shown it. As we say in Sacramento Real Estate, ” it is never over until it is over,” so sellers should always take a back up offer.
If you would like to have a pending sale sign placed in your yard, call us today Weintraub & Wallace at RE/MAX Gold, 916-233-6759.
— JaCi Wallace
Undoubtedly, when I am selling a house 3 times to get paid once, I am doing it solely for the benefit of the seller. Other agents seem to intensely dislike that kind of attitude. They are used to listings agents who rollover and do whatever it takes to close a transaction. It confuses them when they discover that I am not one of those agents who will rollover.
For starters, I care deeply about my fiduciary relationship to the seller and doing what is best for the seller. How do I do that? Well, here’s a hint for ya, I don’t count my chickens before they hatch because even if they never hatch, I don’t care. I care solely about making my sellers happy. It’s a recipe, albeit a weird one for many, but it’s a successful recipe for me. I don’t really know how to better explain it than if you take yourself out of the equation and try to do only what is best for a seller (I know, strange concept), as an agent you will win in the end. And so does the seller. I won’t go so far as to say win-win because that’s not really a concept I subscribe to, and I used to be married to the guy who coined that phrase. In real estate, generally one side, seller or buyer, fares better than the other. That’s the reality.
When I first sold the fixer home I wasn’t planning on selling a house 3 times to get paid once, but it happens. It happens more often than you might think. Because I generally advise my sellers to just say NO to opportunists. It’s hard to tell who is an opportunist and who is serious when presented with an offer.
The first buyers for this particular fixer home in Sacramento appeared to enter the contract in good faith. But when we were scheduled to close in a few days, and the buyer’s agent called in the middle of the day, it was only bad news. I happened to be at my neighbor’s house in Hawaii when I saw the call come across my Apple Watch.
This is only bad news, I whispered to my neighbor, but I gotta answer. Sure enough, within a few seconds, the buyer’s agent launched into: we did our due diligence and we found a lot of problems . . .
I’ve been through this so many times. I cut her off at the chase. The home is sold AS IS, and if your buyer doesn’t want to continue with the transaction under the present terms of the contract, send us a cancellation. The agent on the other end of my Apple Watch could not believe what I said. She didn’t know I’ve heard it all before.
This is the ploy to ask for repairs or a price reduction. Not gonna happen. My seller agreed. I knew he would.
Don’t you want to know what the buyer found? She asked.
No, we don’t.
If I know what he found, I’ll have to disclose it to the next buyer. Also, it doesn’t matter. The home is sold AS IS. If the buyer doesn’t like the house in its AS IS condition, don’t let the door hit ya in the butt. I don’t care about the buyer’s reason for canceling. I care about getting the seller the money the seller deserves. I was not wrong on the sales price.
This is a perfect example of an agent who expected the listing agent to “hold the deal together,” and I won’t do it. To hold it together is to cost the seller money. I know full well I can sell it again, Sam, to somebody else. This is where experience pays off. So while agents might not understand the concept of selling a house 3 times to get paid once because they feel their time is “more valuable” or whatever, they are probably not top producers.
Enter next buyer. This buyer also goes into contract quickly. I drill the buyer’s agent. Are you sure they know what they are buying? Do you know for a fact they can handle the repairs? Well, long story short, regardless, the agent did not know a thing about the buyers as they also canceled. Criminy. OK, third time’s a charm.
Sometimes sellers get really upset when two escrows cancel. They think it’s not time to sell or the listing agent could have done something differently. Well, yes, we could do something differently, we could throw the seller under the bus. But we don’t. We have no control over buyers. None at all.
So when the third buyer came along, the seller was prepared and ready. At least they did not try to renegotiate. I really dislike the stupid strategy of buyers who think, oh, let’s just get into contract, and then when a couple weeks go by, we’ll renegotiate. We’ll find something to grind the seller over.
Nope. Not on my watch. And that’s how sometimes I end up selling a house 3 times to get paid once. I am honest with my clients. If I think making a concession is a good idea, I’ll say so. But if I think they can sell to a better buyer, I will say that, too.
We closed on January 4th. At list price.
Unfortunately, I’m kind of a dying breed in Sacramento real estate. I hope somebody else will raise the bar after me; after my time is up.
A reader from The Balance homebuying website wrote yesterday. She was clear that she had written to me previously and seemed a bit perplexed that I had not yet answered her inquiry, which I had not received. She had a “very important question.” She and her husband had been engaged in “repeated discussions” regarding the color of the walls for their mother’s home. They were preparing the home for sale and could not agree on which colors constitute neutral colors when home selling. She did not understand the word “neutral.”
At first blush, one might wonder how a person could be confused. But the more I thought about it, it’s not so unusual for some individuals, especially those from other cultures, to be perplexed about color. Many Americans live in a white-bread world. No color at all. But other cultures are awash in color and relish color. Color is treated as a daily substance. It’s water for the thirsty, spiritual for the soul and serenity for sleep. Color brings the world alive.
However, when you are selling a home, neutral is the recommended choice of color, especially for walls and flooring. It evokes no emotion and does not detract from the home’s features. It presents a clean slate, a home you can move into immediately and decorate to preference. It’s a light beige, a sheer coffee-cream, sandy fair-skinned brown, boring pale tan, much like the photo above, or even a soft gray, which is trendy. Above all, it is not white.
Case in point, when my husband and I bought our home in Land Park 17 years ago, the whole house screamed for color accents. It was white. The previous owners did not use neutral colors when home selling. In the photo above, it’s not how I would stage a home for sale, but it does show the recommended color for walls. Since we are not selling, our master suite now has bamboo flooring, dual-pane windows with neutral blinds, and the walls are painted my favorite cat-puke-green color, with a slightly lighter shade on the ceiling. Not everybody’s cup of tea, but it works for us.
However, if we expect to maximize profit potential on resale, eventually we will need to embrace neutral colors when home selling.
A client asked yesterday how do home sellers get the money at closing? This couple often prefaces their questions with an apology for not knowing protocol for selling a home. They tend to over-explain about why they ask certain questions, despite my assurances that there are no dumb questions. Because I believe that statement. There are no dumb questions in real estate.
Part of my services to sellers is to be available to answer questions. Regardless of many questions or even how often. If a client has a question, I will answer it. I do know most of the answers. After 40+ years in this business I should, right? Also, I would never think less of a client if they asked a question.
As for how do home sellers get the money at closing, the answer is basically how do you want to get it? When the sellers asked me where does the money go at closing, I told them it all goes to me. Yup, they put it in my money market account. There was silence on the phone for a minute and then I realized they did not get my joke. Uh, oh. My bad.
No, the money doesn’t go to me. How do home sellers get the money? In this case, they will give the routing number and account number of their bank account to escrow. These sellers do not have a checking account, only a savings account, and no deposit slips.
It’s OK, I assured them. They do not need a deposit slip. Just write down the bank account number and routing number, and the mobile signer will send it to escrow for disbursement. At closing, escrow will wire the money to their bank. Of course, you can always do things the old fashioned way and go to escrow to pick up the check. Or have escrow mail the check to you. But most people wire funds today.