Sellers must avoid biggest mistake they can make

Sellers often fail to ask a vital question when interviewing potential listing brokers. (Flickr photo by David Davies)

When interviewing brokers to list their apartments for sale, prospective clients ask a lot of questions.

In many instances, the question that property sellers often want answered is how much of a fee the broker will demand.  (Many a listing presentation and meeting could be spared if sellers with commission as their sole criterion simply asked for the percentage before a meeting is scheduled.)

Among the other bits of information that sellers may seek relate to a broker’s track record — for example, how many sales the agent achieved in what amount of time and in which neighborhood or apartment building.

But the most critical query centers on pricing, and that’s where a broker’s knowledge of the market, experience and strategic thinking come to bear.

Although the interview never should stop there, it usually more or less does.

The one thing that hardly ever is explored may well provide the most telling clue about the likelihood of selling a property in the shortest amount of time for the best price with the least inconvenience to the seller.

The question so often overlooked: How often have you had to reduce the selling price?

About a broker who agrees to sell a property originally at too high a price, there can be a variety of explanations.

Among the possibilities are these: The broker is a poor judge of the market or is a poor negotiator who has proved unable to persuade the seller to accept an appropriate number.

The least charitable explanation?  That the broker will say anything to get the listing.  Such a broker knows that rare is the seller who won’t agree to lower the offering price as time passes without an offer.

Get the price low enough, and any property will sell.  Get the price right at the outset, and it will sell quickly.

While drafting this post, I checked to see how many apartment listings in Manhattan have endured price drops.  The number at that moment: 717.

That translates to 717 unhappy sellers.  Whether it also means 717 inadequate listing agents is an assessment I’ll leave to you.  (I make the crude assumption that there are no duplications.)

The seller who fails to get into the matter of previous price cutting is one who is bound to have a frustrating, depressing and enervating journey on the way to an acceptable offer.

That lapse can be the biggest mistake a seller makes.

Tomorrow: Weekly Roundup

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Malcolm Carter
Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Senior Vice President
Charles Rutenberg Realty
127 E. 56th Street
New York, NY 10022

M: 347-886-0248
F: 347-438-3201
Web site

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