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.'
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-months 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