What’s Mean and Grey and Stupid All Over?

There are dragons lurking in the dark recesses of your property listing.  Mean dragons.  Scaly, grey, mean dragons that might rise up out of their lairs and go all Godzilla on your potential showings if left unchecked.

And what, pray tell, is the name of these marauding reptiles?

“REALTOR Remarks”

Ah yes, that hobgoblin of good intentions in the multiple listing service that provides for private communication amongst local Realtors.  It gives me a good shudder just to type the name of the foul beast.  Suburban legend has it that if you say it three times in front of the bathroom mirror with the lights off, you will doom yourself to a lonely stint on the market.  Why?  Because the private portion of the Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service which is intended to impart “eyes only” information to the Real Estate sales force is home to some of the most spectacular lapses in judgment this side of New Coke.

“Do not approach cage, monkey will bite!”

“Disregard water damage in hall bathroom shower.”

“Bring me an offer, seller needs to sell NOW!!!”

From the laughable (“House is better than pictures make it look”) to the horrific breaching of client confidentiality (“Divorce situation: husband not cooperative”), one little notation in the private remarks of the listing can torpedo the price you command for your home, if not endanger the sale altogether.  Alarm codes, additional showing instructions, agent to agent disclosures – all are intended fodder for the REALTOR Remarks section.  The mistake that is often made, however, is that anything goes so long as it remains hidden from the prying eyes of the public.

The moral of the story?  Read the full property listing before your agent inputs it into the MLS. While you will most likely view a copy of the completed listing once it hits the system, you will not be able to see what is privately disclosed to other agents.  You will want to see a copy of the FULL listing to ensure that your best interests have not been compromised by a few careless words.

You priced the home well, staged it to look its best, had it professionally photographed, toured and dispersed to the far reaches of the Internet.  Don’t blow it now, kid.

Of course, if you want me to avoid your home like the plague, make sure your agent denotes that it “smells kind of funky, but no known presence of mold.”

In the mood to receive offers that are 50% below your list price?  Instruct your agent to notify fellow Realtors to “Bring me any offer and I’ll get it accepted!”

Unless the Stargate in the study presents a clear and present danger to those who would tour your home, best not to mention the possible credit for intergalactic species remediation.

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Losing Buyers to the Banks? Time to Work On Your Bolo Punch.

You’ve been punched.  You’ve been cajoled.  You’ve been dismissed out of hand as a serious contender.  Your corner wants to throw in the towel, but it’s time to look deep inside yourself for that fighting spirit.  This is your Rocky moment, and I’m your Mick.

Tempting as it may be to utter “No mas,” in the face of a younger, stronger foe, you as a home seller have your own strengths.  Yes, the bank properties have been hammering your rib cage and battering you with low blow after low blow for the last eleven rounds.  Every time you regain your composure, another steel-fisted uppercut in the form of a new REO listing shatters the ineffective “pride of ownership” cup upon which you have been so dependant.  The referee and the fight doctor are scrutinizing that nasty gash above your eye to determine if you are still able to intelligently defend yourself.

You’re seeing triple, you say?  Buck up, Rock, and hit the guy in the middle.

Now that the free-fall in property values has seemingly arrested (much like the hearts of many homeowners this year) across several segments of the local Scottsdale Real Estate market, would-be sellers can take a deep breath and catch their second wind.  Even if they are still leery of making the price jump from distressed properties to resale properties, buyers are back in the market.  Several straight months of increasing home sales, decreasing inventory and even modest median price increases (really?) indicate this.  That’s the good news.  The bad news is that most of these buyers are still purchasing the goods on the ground floor (sporting goods, evening wear and foreclosed Real Estate) while the typical mom & pop seller continue to be priced on level four.

Before resale homes start selling at a higher rate, their prices still need to drift a little further South.  This is not news.  You’ve been pummeled with this unwelcome assertion for the past year.  My intent is not to rabbit punch you with the obvious on this day.  I’m offering a momentary reprieve from the infernal pessimism (which I have admittedly dispensed with impunity).  No more defeatism from your corner, it’s time to talk strategy.

Yes, the bank-owned property on the far side of the ring is a fearsome opponent, but skill and guile can slay the relentless beast.  You’ve been getting drubbed over the course of this bout because you are not offering your bigger foe any angles.  You’re simply turtling up with that ridiculous price of yours and accepting a merciless beating.  To change the tide in this lopsided affair, yes, you do need to get a bit more competitive with your price.  Until you get inside the freakish reach advantage of the banks, you’re rope-a-dope tactics will just get you roped and doped.

This is not to imply that you need to match the price of the distressed properties, you simply need to vie for the same buyers.  If the banks are on the ground floor, you need to get down to level two.  If you can at least mitigate a portion of the huge price disadvantage you face, you have a puncher’s chance to sell your home.  Here’s why:

  • The bank property across the street will convey to the buyer in “as is” condition.  You have maintained your home over the years and will make any necessary repairs, within reason, to appease a buyer.
  • The bank property across the street will come with a grand total of zero disclosures.  You will provide a potential buyer with a Seller Property Disclosure Statement, Insurance Loss History Report and any other appropriate documentation to give a certain level of comfort to the new owner.
  • The bank property across the street may not be able to be financed by a buyer due to its condition.  Because you have listened to your Realtor and whipped your home into tip-top shape, you will face no such problem.  Right?
  • The bank property across the street may require a buyer to order utilities turned on in their name (and pay any applicable deposits for said service) in order to inspect the working components of the home.
  • The bank property across the street may ultimately attract multiple offers at its supremely low price.  This can benefit you in several ways.  For starters, the ultimate sales price is often driven higher than the list price in such scenarios, thus making your case for higher neighborhood values.  Secondly, there will be despondent losing bidders for that property that will look, perhaps to you, for alternatives.  Lastly, some buyers will become disenfranchised with bank properties after having gone through this multiple offer scenario several times.  Eager for less competition and an honest negotiation, some just might set their sights on the slightly higher priced property that can be negotiated downwards instead of upwards.

So there you go, champ.  You are far from a hapless tomato can against the oversized Palooka who has been doing the Ali Shuffle all over your face.  He’s a one-trick pony.  Take away the huge price haymaker and the kid is a regular Glass Joe.  If you have the moxie and the wherewithal to get your price just a bit closer to the bank’s, you have the arsenal to pull off a stunning upset and walk out of the joint with the title.  The title of “former homeowner,” that is.

Now put your mouthpiece back in, get off that damn stool and get in there and fight!

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