Among Sacramento Realtors, every agent has an opinion. And you know what they say about opinions, right? Among professional Sacramento Realtors with experience and a track record, the latter tend to employ time-tested strategies suited to the type of real estate market at hand. I understand that it’s hard to tell the difference between a Realtor who knows what she is doing versus one who does not. There is a lot of bad advice going around, which might be where some sellers picked up the idea that it is a good idea to drop the sales price.
I talked with a seller yesterday who said he was in no rush to sell and implied that when he received an offer, he could issue a counter offer giving himself the ability to wait a week or so to respond. He might be a lawyer, I don’t recall. Most of my lawyer clients I adore, although they tend to analyze themselves to death at times. However, I do know that a buyer is unlikely to wait a week for a seller to decide whether to take an offer. A buyer is likely to hold up a finger representing an international symbol recognized worldwide.
I’m not even sure what that means: I’m in no rush to sell. I suppose it is a defense mechanism, designed to imply that the seller is nobody’s fool. Nobody is gonna take advantage of that seller, because gosh darn it, the seller is no rush to sell. The seller will just leave that home sitting on the market to rot until it is avoided by every real estate agent and buyer in town. It’s akin to saying: we can always drop the sales price.
There are many things wrong with dropping the sales price. You may as well take out a gun and shoot yourself in the foot as an attention diverter for all the harm it’s likely to do. There are ways to fix the mistake of overpricing, but dropping the sales price is not the way to do it. You can read more in this piece today about The Problems With Dropping the Sales Price. I promise you, it’s an eye opener.
Should home sellers leave garbage cans full? Well, the contract specifically states the seller shall remove all debris. If we really think about it the seller stops paying the garbage bill when we close escrow. The buyer is responsible for the ongoing garbage bill. I doubt any buyer is happy to push the garbage cans to the curb full of someone else’s garbage.
Another consideration is when buyers move in, they are going to produce packing paper galore and their own garbage from moving in. They really need the garbage cans empty, so they can throw away their own stuff. This is one of the seller’s last steps to close escrow.
From now on, this is something I’m going to carefully review with clients — that they need to haul their own garbage to the dump when they move out. Another issue seen here is all the extra garbage on the ground so the can lids won’t even close. I guess the buyer was supposed to take the seller’s extra garbage to the dump?
Should home sellers leave garbage cans full? What do you think? Ask yourself how you would feel if you bought a home and you’re so excited to get your keys, then you drive up and see all this trash? Well, our home seller is paying a hauler to haul away all of this stuff and other items left in the garage. She didn’t know it was left like this. Her movers were supposed to clean up.
Our seller full-service plan included us going over to the property and checking everything out before the buyer obtained the keys. When I sent the seller the pictures, she happily agreed to pay for the cleanup. She was surprised it was left like this. She is a delightful person and was amazingly kind throughout the buying and selling experience.
The best outcome for sellers is have happy buyers that they will never hear from again. No news is good news, as dear old dad used to say. To ensure you have happy buyers when you close escrow, call Weintraub & Wallace Realtors with RE/MAX Gold. We can be reached at 916-233-6759.
— JaCi Wallace
An online newsletter I received this morning contained a synopsis of an ethics case that was interesting not because of things a Sacramento Realtor cannot say about a listing but because of the things the Realtor did not say. I am very cognizant that at all times a Sacramento Realtor who represents the seller has established a fiduciary relationship, which results in a legal duty to the seller.
Solely seeking seller representation makes my job easy, because I focus on my sellers. I have a duty to treat the buyer fairly, but my alliance is aligned with the seller. This means when a buyer’s agent asks: Is there wiggle room in your listing, I might reply they can pay more than list price.
That’s a seriously stupid question anyway because no agent, I don’t care who she is, knows whether there is “wiggle room,” (she’s not the seller) and even if the seller told her he would accept less, unless the seller has explicitly given the agent instructions to disclose that fact, her lips better be zipped. There are things a Sacramento Realtor cannot say about a listing, and this is one of those things.
The thing this ethics case disclosed was the agent never told the seller that in his opinion the property was priced too high. Instead, he shared this opinion with other prospective buyers. He violated his fiduciary by not disclosing his conflicted viewpoint with the seller, among other things. I think some agents are scared to tell a seller what they think because they are worried the seller will cancel the listing or get angry with them if they do not see eye-to-eye. But we are required (and we are hired) to share our professional opinions and thoughts with the seller.
I don’t take a listing that I don’t believe will sell. And because there are things a Sacramento Realtor cannot say about a listing, I do not suggest to other agents nor buyers what they should offer for a home, apart from list price or above. That’s my job. Don’t ask me what kind of offers we’ve received, whether you can offer less or how high you need to go because I won’t give you the answers. Although I always suggest that my Elizabeth Weintraub Team members ask those questions of other listing agents because some will cooperate. Those are the agents who forget about the things a Sacramento Realtor cannot say about a listing.
Seller motivation is important in any Sacramento real estate transaction and extends beyond an urge to sell a home. It extends all the way to closing. Seller motivation means many things, though. When buyer’s agents ask me if my seller is motivated, they are asking if my seller will accept a lower price for her home, and the correct answer to that question is: I send all offers to the seller. A listing agent who responds without permission: heck yeah, let’s negotiate, could be guilty of violating her fiduciary duty to the seller.
Sometimes I spot listings in MLS in which the listing agent has entered that phrase into confidential remarks, the seller is motivated. This may cause a person to think to herself: sure, of course the seller is motivated because the seller has his home on the market, right? Followed by well, there is the matter of the home being priced $50,000 over market value, so that sort of extinguishes the flames of seller motivation right there. In those types of cases, seller motivation might be a secret code to buyer’s agents, letting them know the agent is aware but can’t say so.
Sellers often don’t want to reduce the price because they expect a buyer to negotiate. They fail to understand that buyers really don’t want to negotiate. They cannot wrap their heads around that fact because they are too stuck on the mentality of being a seller. In cases of homes priced too high, buyers often just skip them.
There is also seller motivation that backfires and turns into seller’s remorse. This tends to happen when a home quickly sells or at a higher price than the seller anticipated. The flurry of marketing activity, preparing the home for the market, surviving buyer showings and open house traffic can shift the focus from moving out to getting ready to sell. When the purchase offer arrives, it can cause shock, especially when the seller typically needs to sign within a 24-hour period. A seller can feel pushed. Aggravated.
Harried, exhausted, irritated and feeling like always running a day behind can cause seller’s remorse. It’s not unusual for a seller to question whether he or she has done the right thing by signing a purchase contract. Often this feeling of uncertainty will pass if they just give it a little bit of time to settle in. We all do not process data in the same way. This is why it’s more important now than ever to establish and review your reasons for selling a home before putting your home on the market.
I try to spend a sufficient amount of time with prospective sellers before I take a listing. I met with two different sellers on Friday who are not yet ready to sell their homes. One seller lives in Elk Grove and the other in a 1920’s brick bungalow in Midtown Sacramento. It was easy for me to ascertain that the time is not right because I asked the right questions. The last thing anybody needs is an unexpected upheaval in her life or feeling coerced into signing a listing agreement. I have plenty of patience and compassion. When you’re ready to sell your home in Sacramento, I hope you will call Elizabeth Weintraub at 916.233.6759.