Will a Sacramento Seller Sell for Less than List Price?

Home-for-sale-sacramentoBuyer’s agents in Sacramento continually hear the question from buyers which, they in turn, pass along to the Sacramento listing agent: Will the seller sell for less? It’s not always phrased in those exact terms, but that’s what everybody wants to know. And that’s the one thing they cannot know and will never know unless they write an offer. For starters, no listing agent worth her salt is about to disclose to anybody for any reason how much her sellers will take to sell that home.

You might wonder why not. Because the listing agent has a legal fiduciary duty to the seller of confidentiality. The list price is the sales price. Period. If the seller prefers a range of value, then the sales price will be listed as a range of value indicated by a big ol’ V that nobody understands so nobody does it. Second, the listing agent doesn’t know what her seller will do because the listing agent is not the seller. She doesn’t own the home, and she can’t make decisions for the seller.

Every so often, I receive an email from a buyer’s agent that lays out all of the reasons why that agent’s buyers are such spectacular human beings and why they deserve to get an incredible break on the sales price — primarily because they are looking at a home the buyers cannot afford to buy. In my mind, of course, I wonder how that is my problem and what that has to do with me, Al Franken? I mean, why doesn’t the agent show her buyers the types of homes that her buyers can afford to buy? Why is she showing her buyers homes that are too expensive for her buyers?

You know why she’s performing such an unproductive service maneuver? Because she doesn’t want to take a chance that her buyers will dump her and run off to some other real estate agent in Sacramento. She wants to make her buyers happy. She wants to do what her buyers ask of her, like any agent. But somewhere along the line, an agent needs to educate her buyers. Explain the market, how pending sales are moving, supply comparable sales and provide education. Buyers are not real estate agents. That’s why they hire an experienced real estate agent: to guide, assist and help them to buy a home.

When an agent sets aside her professional self-worth in a feeble attempt to keep unreasonable clients happy, she loses credibility with those clients, which in turn makes clients miserable. It’s not a win-win.

Further, when a buyer is pre-approved to buy a maximum amount, buyers should look at homes priced below that maximum amount. At homes they have a chance in hell of buying. Buyers should not ask their agents to show them homes that are listed higher than that price point unless those homes have lingered on the market and are stale, overpriced. You don’t ask to see a brand new listing and expect to a seller to accept a lowball and sell for less. It doesn’t work that way. Well, maybe it does on HGTV, but not in the real world of Sacramento real estate.

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