I just got back with a meeting with a potential client. We had a great time chatting about the market, her house, the area and where she wants to move back to. We shared stories about family and friends. In fact, it was less a meeting than a long awaited meeting between friends.
She was referred to me by another Active Rainer. She had contacted the other person through her blog, but had a need to sell here before moving. But she has only been here a year and a half, and she is upside-down on her property.
We talked about her options:
- Trying to convince her lender to do a short sale. She isn't in any sort of financial crisis, but couldn't hold this property, and would really like to move back to where her family is because they could use her help.
- Coming to the closing table with enough money to buy a small new car. Another option that didn't look at all attractive. It might be swingable, but would take a LONG time to recover from.
- Finding a renter for the property. Since she doesn't have a lot of equity, she doesn't need to pull it out in order to buy a house elsewhere... but she isn't comfortable renting out her property, especially since she would be 7 hours away.
- Staying put. She loves her job, her child is doing well in school, and she likes living here... It is an inconvenience to not be near her family, but with the money she would be saving by not having to pony up the cash to get to closing, she can afford to make a few extra trips to see them each year.
In the end HER decision was to stay put and see where the market goes. There are a few foreclosures in the neighborhood, depressing prices, but the neighborhood is pretty stable.
Now, possibly, I might have been able to convince her that selling would be in her best interests. I could certainly have come armed for the arguments that she might have had. After all, I make money selling houses... and to sell houses, I need to have houses to sell. But that wouldn't have been honest or ethical. The person that referred her to me did so because she trusts that I will look out for her potential client's interests. She has talked with me about this over the last few months because she felt I would look out for her interests and speak honestly and candidly.
I could NOT sit in front of her and tell her that I thought she should do something just because it was in my best interests. Most of the agents I know would have done the same thing... although, not all. That is obvious from the thousands of listings that are at prices that are simply unrealistic... listings that were often taken by agents that were afraid to tell their client the truth.
I value each client and potential client. I think that this person will use me when it IS time for her to move back home. In the mean time we will stay in touch. She appreciated that I was willing to be honest with her and give her an honest assessment of the market.