selling a home in sacramento

Is Dropping the Sales Price of Your Home a Good Idea?

house hunting tipsAmong 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.

If You Think Selling a Home in Sacramento is Scary

selling home in sacramento

Selling a home in Sacramento does not have to be a scary event.

Selling a home in Sacramento is not as scary as it seems if a seller hires the right Sacramento Realtor. Yet for many people, selling a home is a frightening experience: like an asteroid hurtling toward the earth with no place for you to hide or, worse, bumping into an old boyfriend at the grocery store with your hair wrapped in bleaching foil because, darn it, you forgot to pick up coffee. A Realtor with a bit of sensitivity, compassion and experience should be able to guide sellers through putting their home on the market. Alleviate some of that anxiety.

For some people, it’s not knowing where they are moving when selling a home. It’s hard to focus on the sale when there is no destination on the horizon. They imagine themselves homeless, sleeping in the car, while some other fool is living the good life and jumping into their swimming pool. Slamming their soft-closing kitchen drawers. Leaving their sticky fingerprints all over those stainless appliance finishes.

I have talked to sellers who have told me after interviewing a bunch of other Realtors that not a single agent had asked them where they were moving. Like the agents didn’t care or were too focused on just getting that listing.

When you’re selling a home in Sacramento, you want your Realtor to grab the big picture and to anticipate things that could go wrong and stop those horrible events from happening. Only an agent with adequate experience can do that. Sure, you might want to hire your sister-in-law who happens to have a real estate license — because one in 35 people in California most likely do have a real estate license — but what you give up to achieve complete trust you lose in specific performance, which reduces bottom-line profit and adds to anxiety levels. Good intent but bad idea.

This is why so many people who are selling a home in Sacramento want to list with Elizabeth Weintraub at Lyon Real Estate. They know I will do everything in my power to reduce anxiety and provide professional guidance to achieve my sellers’ goals. Your goals are my goals. Every listing plan is customized. If you think selling a home in Sacramento is scary, you haven’t  met this Realtor.

Does Seller Motivation Mean No Regrets After Listing a Home?

motivated sellers

Seller motivation can morph into seller’s remorse.

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.

Should Sellers Always Issue a Counter Offer?

counter offerSacramento real estate agents often get upset or irritated when a seller refuses to issue a counter offer, but there is no law nor rule that says a seller must. This is the thing that they don’t understand because they put themselves in the seller’s shoes, and they would act differently. Everybody has his or her own way of responding to situations, and not everybody reacts in the same manner.

I mean, look at those guys out at Buckingham Palace. They stand there with their cute little chin straps, big furry hats, and they don’t even blink much less smile. You can’t make them smile. You could take off all of your clothes and do cartwheels in front of them, and their eyeballs would not move. Not that I’ve ever tried it, mind you, just making a point. Everybody is different. It’s what makes the world go round.

When I see purchase offers from buyers when I’ve explained to the agent that he or she needs to be extremely aggressive and very strong, and they submit an offer that results in less than list price, I feel for those agents. Because I know they’ve explained it to their buyers, and their buyers have their own thoughts. I imagine their own thoughts are something like: well, I’m gonna buy a home under my own terms, and if I can’t, it’s just not meant to be. Or something else equally ridiculous. Thoughts like that simply mean they are not buying a home. Not today. Not tomorrow. Not until they conform to the market.

But in any case, it does not mean the seller is required to send buyers a counter offer. Sellers are not allowed to discriminate and they can’t turn down a full-price offer without noting such in MLS, but they are never required to counter.

As the seller’s listing agent, I can’t make them issue a counter offer. And I wouldn’t want to try to force them to do anything anyway. Not every purchase offer deserves to be countered. Years ago I might have suggested that it’s always a good idea to counter, but today, meh. In this market, not so much.

Why the Sales Price a Sacramento Home Seller Wants Does Not Matter

Home Selling SacramentoOne of the questions a Sacramento home seller asked me last week during a FaceTime interview is why didn’t I ask her how much they wanted to sell the home for, because every other agent they talked to had asked this question. I was very honest, as is my nature, and I explained that it doesn’t matter. Because it doesn’t matter how much the Sacramento home seller wants. That’s actually pretty much immaterial in a transaction; what is more important, what takes center stage, is the appraised value, which is based on comparable sales.

In fact, asking how much a home seller wants is a way to nail a seller to a lower price. It’s also a way to determine if a seller is crazy. Those words: how much do you want? are never the words that come out of my mouth because I want to do a good job for the seller, not take advantage of a seller. I would advise a client not to work with an agent who asked that question as though it was important to the matter at hand. It’s not.

Being honest like that probably cost me that listing. I could tell they didn’t like the answer. And in retrospect, when I noticed that reaction, I could have soft-shoe pedaled around it but I didn’t. The truth is there are many values to a property:

  • what the seller wants,
  • what the agent thinks they can get,
  • what the buyer will offer,

and none of those really matter one iota if the home doesn’t appraise for those values.

However, I work for the seller, so I do whatever that Sacramento home seller wants and what is best for the seller. My clients can always count on the fact that I will protect our fiduciary relationship and do the best job possible.

These particular sellers wanted a list price from me on a home I had not viewed in person. That’s pretty difficult to do unless it is a tract home in Elk Grove or Natomas or Lincoln. Mid-Century modern homes that are custom built on acreage, well, you’ve gotta see it in person and feel the vibe, as kooky as that might sound.

Then I can give an accurate list price, a number in line with pricing the home to sell. Which might have nothing to do, btw, with our final projected sales price. Those can be 2 different numbers as well, depending on strategy, type of market and timing. Each home that I sell in the Sacramento Valley is unique, and I don’t really sell any two homes in any identical manner. I apologize that it doesn’t matter what the Sacramento home seller wants because we all want to feel that our opinions and desires are important and they matter, but what I want doesn’t matter, either.

It’s only what the appraiser determines. The appraiser has the last word. Unless . . . and that’s another blog for tomorrow.

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