(Realtor) Stories, We don't need no stinkin' stories.....

Real Estate Agent with Five Star Real Estate

Karen and I got a call last week from home owner who found our website and wanted to talk to us about selling their home.  It's in a nice area, had been on the market 3-years ago and they're ready to move to a warmer climate.  I'm thinking: "Cool, a motivated seller who's been in their house for a couple of decades, this is a good thing".

We met with them.  Talked about our marketing, talked about the market, talked about the mortgage balance they have....oops "Danger Will Robinson" "Those numbers do not compute".... my initial thoughts on price put it in the $215,000 range.  They had been listed previously around $250,000 but now I am seeing that to get to ZERO, they need $238,500 as a sale price.  The only place that's likely to happen is in their dreams!

So we talk about bringing money to the closing.  That was a very short discussion.  You see, they were 'hoping that someone would come along who would  so love their house, that they would buy it' (This despite the fact that they would easily be $25,000 over the market).  They went on to say that if they could not, they would just 'give it back to the bank.'War Stories Comic Book Cover

We shared some stories of other homes in their immediate area, that 50% of the homes that have sold in the last 90-days in our market have been either Foreclosure and/or Short Sale, and the impact of that on values.  When I was stopped in mid-sentence with- "You Realtors come in with all your stories, we don't care about your stories, we just want to know whether or not you can help us, can you sell our house so we don't bring money to closing."

That would be NO.    

We cheerfully walked away.  It was an OK house, in a $200,000 neighborhood in a great area.  However, I don't remember a time in Grand Rapids, where an OK house would sell for $25,000 above the market, EVER. 

I left feeling that these were sellers who could have benefited from my experience, my honesty and yes, my stories.  But they wanted none of that.  So my answer to their question was a short one. NO.  They may find a Realtor who will puff some smoke, and put it on wherever they like.  But as values are still slipping, 6-monUpside Down House Crash Sculptureths from now, they will be worth even less.

Maybe more troubling for me, was the attitude of "if we can't get what we need, we'll just walk away and give it back to the bank."  Like it's the bank's fault they are 100% leveraged.   

 I'm happy to not have this listing, but I suspect that the walk-away will end up biting some other poor unsuspecting homeowner nearby who is making their payment each month and watching their value slide on the slippery slope of foreclosures and walk-aways.

Photo (War Stories) from: RNewton on Flickr.com

<-- Photo by: Erwin Wurm on Flickr.com


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give it back to the bank
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Colleen Fischesser Northwest Property Shop
RE/MAX Advantage | Managing Broker - Chelan, WA
A Tradition of Trust in the Pacific NW since 1990!
A wise agent indeed! You're right, they could have benefitted however from your experience. Seems they had their minds made up before you even walked in the door. Someone will take that listing though...good luck to them!
Mar 19, 2008 03:41 AM #1
Shannon Ziccardi
"A Quick Note" ...in Tennessee! - Clarksville, TN
"A Quick Note" Mobile Notary ...in Tennessee!

Love the photo...

Looks like "The Borg" landed just before Dorothy's Kansas home blew in! Ha!

"A Quick Note"

Mar 19, 2008 03:41 AM #2
Brian Luce
HomeStarr Realty Inc. - New Hope, PA
Associate Broker

Smart move.

They already know (or think they know) what they want to do.  They are just waiting to find an agent that agrees with them.  (And I'm sure they will find one).

Instead of seeing the value of your experience and taking some of that information, they will simply wait for the next agent who "agrees with them" and list with them.

It's amazing the misinformation out there.  "we'll simply give it back to the bank". ....  Like the bank really wants another property.  I'm sure they have no idea of what actually happens in that scenario.  You did the right thing. 



Mar 19, 2008 03:55 AM #3
What a great post...     As a new realtor, and a new Active Rainer I have already learned that some listings are just not worth getting under contract.      The chance of selling a house that must go Short Sale are much lower than a house with normal or some equity.
Mar 19, 2008 04:00 AM #4
Karen Webster...Grand Rapids, MI Realtor
5 Star Real Estate, Grand Rapids MI - Grand Rapids, MI
Eric might have told them that the bank would pursue them for the shortfall if they walk away, but that'd be a story. :)
Mar 19, 2008 07:17 AM #5
Christopher Benedict
BIG Realty - Collegeville, PA

Great post...ugh, how many times have I heard the same old story.  As if we can wave a magic wand and it will all go away, lol!

Main Line Real Estate

Mar 19, 2008 07:26 AM #6
Eric Webster
Five Star Real Estate - Grand Rapids, MI
Grand Rapids, MI, Five Star Realty

Colleen:  Thanks for stopping by and for your support.  You can lead a horse to water...

Shannon:  Thanks. I thought it was a great photo and certainly reflects the sad condition of many home owners.

Brian:  I totally agree. I'm happy that I'm not the Realtor that will just roll over.  It's an intersting example of the law of choices and outcomes.

Unknown Realtor:  A bad listing is much worse than no listing at all.

Karen: Yes, I normally would have had a discussion WITH A CLIENT, but obviously these people don't want or need my expertise.  I was conflicted about not 'helping' them.  But when your help isn't wanted, it's not wanted.

Christopher: Thanks for stopping by.  My magic wand has some limitiations, and one thing it doesn't do is make homes worth 10% more than real life.

Mar 19, 2008 09:20 AM #7
Lola Audu
Lola Audu~Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI Real Estate - Grand Rapids, MI
Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI ~Welcome Home!

Eric...that picture is just great!  Really illustrates your point.  What that homeowner didn't understand is that storytelling has been a way of communicating wisdom for thousands of years because of one simple fact...it works! 

Stories have a way of removing the blindness that all of us suffer from when our particular interests are at stake. Stories make impersonal truths relevant.  The market does not care about their particular home...It is impersonal. They need to understand what the market will respond to and how they can create a viable solution for themselves in a difficult situation.  That's relevance.  That's why they need your stories.  Too bad...they didn't understand...

Mar 19, 2008 10:00 AM #8
Eric Webster
Five Star Real Estate - Grand Rapids, MI
Grand Rapids, MI, Five Star Realty
Lola:  EXACTLY.  Thanks for your eloquent response.  It's exactly on point.  It will be interesting to see what they end up doing.  I wish them the best.  With the law of choices/outcomes, you only need to make a better choice to get a better outcome.
Mar 19, 2008 11:07 AM #9
Bonnie & Terry Westbrook
Westbrook Realty - Ada, MI
Grand Rapids MI Real Estate
You made a wise decision in a bad situation, seeing that it wasn't EVER going to get better, only worse.
Mar 19, 2008 01:51 PM #10
Terry & Bonnie Westbrook
Westbrook Realty Broker-Owner - Grand Rapids, MI
Westbrook Realty - Grand Rapids Forest Hills MI Re
In my infinite wisdom "NEXT" good post thanks
Mar 19, 2008 02:48 PM #11
Eric Webster
Five Star Real Estate - Grand Rapids, MI
Grand Rapids, MI, Five Star Realty
Terry and Bonnie:  Exactly right.  No sense in walking into a situation that the outcome is guaranteed to be guaranteed failure and a side order of frustration with a dash of attitude.
Mar 21, 2008 02:31 PM #12
Carol Judd
New Star Real Estate - Vernal, UT
Vernal Utah Real Estate
It is not fun to walk away from a listing but in the long run it will save alot of stress.  If a client will not listen at first they are not likely to take it along the way.
Mar 21, 2008 02:42 PM #13
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Eric Webster

Grand Rapids, MI, Five Star Realty
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