Sellers always have the last word on offers

Submission of a back-up offer is where the rubber meets the road. (Flickr photo by theilr)

Back-up offers exist in the gray area of real estate transactions.

Nobody likes them more than listing brokers and their clients. Continue reading

When pricing low, think through some outcomes

In a seller’s or even balanced market, one strategy to get the best price is to offer the property below its estimated market value.

The idea is that a low asking price will engender competitive bidding, otherwise known by a term I don’t much like — a bidding war.

However, wise is the seller who Continue reading

There are sellers who can’t handle the pressure

(flickr photo by massdistraction)

The pressure on buyers making an offer or waiting for a seller’s response often can cause them to lose sleep.

What they may well forget is how intense the pressure can be on a seller as well, whether hoping for a good offer or deciding on accepting one that already has been made.

A recent experience underscored the point, which centered on Continue reading

Sellers fall into five categories before listing

Dirk Zeller

Brokers frequently rue the difficulties of getting sellers to appreciate how their homes must look before putting them on the market.

In a lively Realty Times column, real estate guru Dirk Zeller puts sellers into five categories: Mr. Fix-It, a gung-ho renovator, a stuck-in-the-60s lover of the past, a do-nothing couch potato, and a human calculator.

He describes Mr. Fix-It as a type to Continue reading

My own aunt ignores my advice about selling

Old Town Hall, Boca Raton (flickr photo by StevenM_61)

My 79-year-old aunt became a widow last year and put her home in Florida on the market with the idea of moving to a much smaller place and probably giving up her condo in the Boston area later on.

We happened to speak four days after it was listed for $884,000 at the end of December.  There was one buyer who visited the house in that short interval.  He professed interest, but my aunt is smart enough to have conceded that his interest likely will be fleeting.

The buying season was getting under way, she noted, correctly pointing out that it was too early to draw any conclusions about her prospects.

“The broker wanted to price it lower,” she told me with some reluctance.

“For how much?” I naturally asked.

There was a pause before she answered: Continue reading

The High Road: ‘We have received several offers’

Take my offer, please! (Flickr photo by Kaptain Kobold)

Listing brokers and their clients like nothing more than receiving at least one offer.

Getting an acceptable offer can mean the end to open houses and diminishing anxieties about price, time on the market and that tired old kitchen.

Many brokers love to gin up the motivation of other prospective buyers by intoning the magic words, “We already have an offer.”  The hope, of course, is that providing the information will create buzz and generate even more offers, often better offers at or above the asking price with improved terms.

But Continue reading

A home stager offers good advice for free

Karen Ginsberg

The first seller’s “don’t” offered by New Jersey home stager Kristine Ginsberg of Morris County is the one I liked the most.

In a blog post, she begins by saying that sellers shouldn’t think that they know more than their broker, insisting on a higher price than the broker advises.  Says Ginsberg:

They are the experts and know the market.  This is the most important “don’t” when selling your home, bar none!

It is good advice, though the notion of using what a professional suggests is hardly novel.

In her blog, the stager also distills some of the most important measures an owner can take to ensure a successful sale.  Continue reading

Unintentional listing errors can invite lawsuits

Mistakes in listings are no laughing matter. (Flickr photo by premasagar)

Like any typo, errors in broker descriptions of their listings can be funny.

In a good syndicated column, Lew Sichelman quotes a couple of them, namely:

“Three bedroom, one badroom”

“Open Hose with Cheese and Wine”

“First Peeview Sunday”

But some mistakes can be dangerous Continue reading

Brokers face stiff competiton. From lawyers.

(Source: Library of Congress)

Some buyers and sellers may not realize that brokers aren’t alone.

State law allows lawyers to collect commissions — without having a real estate license — though they cannot employ other salespersons to work under them unless they do obtain a license.

However, lawyers may not automatically charge a commission.  They must have a signed agreement with whomever they are representing or an agreement with the listing broker.

At the same time, lawyers may not double dip.  It is a conflict of interest for a lawyer to act as both attorney and real estate broker in the same transaction.

Interestingly, Continue reading

Should sellers disclose receipt of multiple offers?

There is nothing quite like multiple offers. (Flickr photo by bionicteaching)

Perhaps the only thing that sellers more fervently desire than a high offer is multiple offers.

Multiple offers imply a bidding “war,” in which buyers fall all over themselves trying to impress sellers.

While it is true that multiple offers almost always benefit sellers, disclosure of multiple offers may not be such a good thing.

They can cause a buyers’ retreat that makes swimmers look relaxed in seas suddenly filled with Great White sharks.  Many buyers just won’t stand for the competition, though they may be the same enthusiastic bidders on antiques or paintings at an auction. Continue reading