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In April 2008 I listed a very cute little house in downtown Vancouver. The architecture was unique, it had original hardwood floors throughout, and was only on its second owner since it was built in 1938. When I wrote "loaded with charm" on the flyer I wasn't exaggerating one bit! I listed it at $240k although comps showed it should have been priced at $220-230k. I had the sellers word that if it didn't sell at his price within 60 days, we would drop the price. I prefer to list at true market value but we weren't that far off so I took it. What the heck.
We got loads of showings, but no offers. Agent feedback was positive and almost every one of them said it was their client's "second favorite." They also all said the price "might be a little high" but that it was still in the ballpark. So far so good. After 60 days, and no offers, I approached the seller for the price reduction we talked about on day one. He hesitated, I presented him with current comps showing a value of $220-230k, and he finally agreed to lower the price - but only to $237k! Three-thousand dollars is practically no difference at all and I told him that. To even register in a buyer's mind as a "reduction" we'd have to at least take it down to $235k; that way it would be in a new pricing category on all the real estate websites. But no. He was firm at $237k. Any reduction is better than no reduction, so I took it. What the heck.
We still got loads of showings, but still no offers. And agent feedback was the same! It kept coming in second place, the price was "okay" - a little high but not too bad. "I'm sure it will sell quickly" they all said. Another few months went by and I again approached the seller for a price reduction. By this time the market had inched downward a few degrees and the value was now closer to $215-225k. I presented current comps backing this up but it hardly made a difference! He seemed to feel the down market was affecting every house but his - that he was somehow immune and his house had retained its previous value. He agreed to go down to $235k - still $10k OVER the current value! I told him in no uncertain terms that it just wouldn't sell at that price, that the market had slipped too far down and we were way overpriced. But I took it anyway. What the heck!
This little scenario played out for a few more months. Lots of showings. No offers. Positive feedback. Confusing. Our listing contract expired but we renewed. We did the dance - the overpriced house tango. He flat-out refused to reduce the price further. I contemplated "firing" him as a client and cancelling the listing. But, because of its location, I was still getting calls on it. I knew he would just relist with someone else and I figured if I was going to see a sign in the yard I wanted it to be mine! So, even though we were approaching the one year mark, I kept it listed. What the heck.
Then finally, one beautiful March day, the clouds parted, angels sang, and we got an offer! Not too shabby of an offer to boot! By this time I had managed to get the price to $225k - the very tippy-top of the comparable range. The offer came in at $210k, standard inspection and financing contingencies, no seller concessions. For all intents and purposes it was a perfect offer! I presented it to the seller, along with comps to back up the price. Much to my surprise, the seller agreed to counter the offer at $215k - still a perfectly acceptable price for the house at that time. The buyer declined and the seller refused to go ANY lower than $215k. The listing expired again and we decided to leave it off the market for a few weeks so he could think about the possibility of renting it out. He decided he didn't want to be a landlord and we relisted it. He told me he was feeling frustrated but, at this point, even he couldn't argue that the market had slipped further and the house had lost even more value. I suggested we list it at $215k since we both knew that was a price he was willing to take. He agreed saying, "What the heck."
With the new-and-improved price we got tons of showings - and another offer! This time the offer was for $200k with $7k in seller-paid closing costs. Current comps suggested the value was now $195-205k so the offer was right on the money. The seller finally said he'd be happy just to break even on the house which he would do if the buyer agreed to $207k. They loved the house and gratefully accepted our counter offer! After that, everything was easy-peasy! One of the cleanest escrow periods I've ever encountered and we closed on the sale yesterday! The seller walked away with a check for $920. Yep - that's right - $920. The thing is, if we had listed it at market value (instead of $10k over) in the very beginning he would have gotten a check for almost $20k! Being stubborn and refusing to accept the price that was SO obvious from the comps he willingly walked away from tens of thousands of dollars! What the heck?!?
The moral of this story, kids, is: Listen to your Realtor. It is our job, our fiduciary duty, to help you make the most money, in the shortest time, with the least amount of hassles. The only way to do that, though, is with your cooperation. We don't "create" the market - we can only help you interpret it and help you make informed decisions. Ignoring the obvious will only lose you money! So go ahead, try it! Listen to your Realtor and see what happens! What the heck?
The S&B Real Estate Team assists people in buying and selling real estate throughout Southwest Washington. We are proud members of Keller Williams Realty - Premier Partners in downtown Vancouver. Our local expertise covers: Vancouver, Battle Ground, Camas, Washougal, Brush Prairie, Hockinson, Ridgefield, Woodland and La Center. If you or someone you know is considering living or investing in Clark County, please contact us. Jamie Carroll can be reached at 360-609-6775. Steve Borwieck can be reached at 360-241-7305. Or drop us a note on the "Contact Us" page at www.sbreteam.com. We are here to help!
The S&B Real Estate Team assists people in buying and selling real estate throughout Southwest Washington. We are proud members of Premiere Property Group, LLC in downtown Vancouver. Our local expertise covers: Vancouver, Battle Ground, Camas, Washougal, Brush Prairie, Hockinson, Ridgefield, Woodland and La Center. If you or someone you know is considering living or investing in Clark County, please contact us. Steve Borwieck can be reached at 360-241-7305. Or drop us a note on the “Contact Us” page at www.ppgwashington.com. We are here to help!
Disclaimer: ActiveRain Corp. does not necessarily endorse the real estate agents, loan officers and brokers listed on this site. These real estate profiles, blogs and blog entries are provided here as a courtesy to our visitors to help them make an informed decision when buying or selling a house. ActiveRain Corp. takes no responsibility for the content in these profiles, that are written by the members of this community.