When otherwise intelligent people do inexplicably stupid things, the art of losing the deal is mastered. Real estate offers endless opportunities for both buyers and sellers to compromise a transaction; at the very beginning, as it progresses and right until closing. Reasons vary of course; emotion, greed, ignorance, spite, arrogance and others that just pop up. The common threads? This is self-inflicted and nothing good results.
Tripping Out of the Starting Block
There are no standards in the real estate industry. The 15% of professional agents are sullied and stained by the 85% that are hacks; the reputation of the industry among the public is well deserved. Going it alone or using a discount agent is understandable, but making this look boring takes expertise. Pricing, marketing, negotiating and exploiting weakness of the opposite side takes expertise. Maximizing the results for a client takes expertise. Learn how to select an agent, verify everything and critically evaluate your agent, this critical first step cannot be emphasized enough.
Home Sellers Know it All
It’s your home, it’s the best home in the area and everyone wants it. It’s appreciated more than anything on the market and it’ll sell right away because Case Shiller said there’s a shortage of homes. The comparables and value estimate provided by this agent are nonsensical, they are for the others and that other agent agreed with everything I said. My Zestimate says it’s worth a lot more; Zillow is stupid low, my home is worth much more. Consider closing costs or special requests or stipulations? No, the agent just wants a commission. This home is issue free, there are no inspection problems; the inspector has to find issues to justify the cost. Appraisal issues? Impossible, the appraiser doesn’t know what he’s doing and price will not be cut. What encroachment? That fence has been there for years. The septic doesn’t need pumping…those aren’t termites…we’ve never had flood insurance…that’s not synthetic stucco…
See a pattern? Be realistic, be reasonable and acknowledge what is demonstrated to be accurate.
Home Buyers Know it All
Every transaction is a combination of data and emotion. Buyers and sellers can find it hard to separate the two, but that is often the key to success.
I don’t need a buyer’s agent; I’ll just use the listing agent because that will cut the price of the home. I know I don’t pay anything for an agent, but I want one that will kickback something to me. I’m not getting a preapproval; I can get a loan anywhere. My offer will be aggressive, I don’t pay list and the agent just wants a commission. My parents, in-laws and/or friends will need to give me their opinions. I want a warranty, all appliances, all window treatments, house cleaning, carpets cleaned and termite bond. I want everything on the inspectors list to be corrected. They countered? I won’t counter back; they must not want to sell. The mortgage guy is asking for too much info, I’m going somewhere else. What do you mean I shouldn’t buy this car before I close…
Familiar? Focus, define success and go get it.
Take a Breath, Go to Closing
Data is an integral part of real estate but so is emotion; some argue as much of an influence as data. For sellers particularly, it’s almost impossible to separate emotion from the equation. It’s critical for both sides to have a definition of success; that cannot be overstated. Once the process begins, whether it’s a sign going up or walking into the first few homes, things will get muddy. Sit down before everything begins and know that you are unlikely to get everything that you want; prioritize things into “must” and “want”. Work with an experienced, effective agent; there are actually benefits. Typically sellers can work with a pro for 1%+- more than a discount hack, that’s a no brainer. Buyers don’t pay for representation, there is no reason not to use one. This is a business transaction, one of the most important that you will be involved in. Do your homework, work with pros and define success.