Keeping It Real, Quiet.
The Fourth of July is always one of the highlights of the season here in the nation’s “summer capital.” It’s the mid-point that reminds us how quickly time has passed since Memorial Day and how many memories we hope to still make before the sun sets on Labor Day.
Speaking of memories, ranking high on my “favorite things to do in Rehoboth list” is something I’ve hesitated writing about since starting this column three years ago. It occurs while basking in the glory of the sun on many an afternoon on our beloved Poodle Beach. It’s often made me laugh till my sides hurt, but is something so seemingly juvenile, it’s almost embarrassing to admit.
And I venture to guess you may have done it too. In fact, you might be doing it now. What am I talking about? Eavesdropping!
Now if you’re even remotely sporting a grin at this point, I know you know what I’m talking about. Granted, not all overheard beach conversations are of the humorous nature, but if it’s not a slam dunk script waiting for a gay comic, I don’t know what is.
Back to the point, just this past weekend, while nearly drifting off to sleep, I heard a nearby group talking about real estate. I kept my eyes shut and ears open. All I truly wanted to hear was that one of them was looking to buy so I could turn around and introduce myself. Alas, that wasn’t the case. They were from Virginia.
As it turns out, one had just made an offer on a property and was, shall I say, not at all amused about the reaction of the seller. After receiving my new friend’s offer to purchase, the seller “didn’t even counter” his “more than fair” offer. He was “irate.” His friends knew it, I knew it, and so did several others within about a 12 foot radius.
In today’s market, this exact scenario plays itself out repeatedly. The experience, however, is relative, and every transaction is unique. While consensus says we’re still in a buyer’s market, the phrase alone tends to drive a wedge between buyer and seller, as every buyer wants the best deal known to man, and every seller wants to set a neighborhood record for the highest price sold. It’s the age-old real estate dilemma.
Compounding this, current trends indicate a continuing disconnect between what home buyers and sellers think homes are worth. In a survey conducted in March by HomeGain.com, 63% of potential home buyers felt that homes were overpriced during the previous three-months, while only 21% believed homes were priced fairly.
Conversely, the survey also found that 77% of sellers believed their homes were worth more than their agents’ recommended selling price. Plus, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) found that in 2009, nearly 75% of sellers put their home on the market due to “financial difficulties.”
Given the economic climate and record foreclosures, this shouldn’t be surprising. It should, nonetheless, shed some light on motivation when it comes to a buyer placing an offer and a seller accepting one.
Common sense tells us that when it comes to buying a home, a strong offer from a pricing standpoint is usually very helpful. But for some sellers, money isn’t everything. The highest offer doesn’t always prevail.
If you find yourself in this position, you can strengthen your offer with intangibles and greatly increase the chances of having your bid accepted. The success of this strategy hinges on whether or not the buyer allows himself to think carefully about the needs of a seller. As I said earlier, each is different.
Consider these examples…
The distressed seller: Given the large number of sellers facing financial challenges, ask your agent to find out if some accommodation on time would accommodate the seller’s needs. Perhaps a quick closing date for a seller who’s having trouble paying the mortgage would be beneficial. Don’t request monetary concessions or help with closing costs with such sellers. They may need every penny to get out from under this transaction and will likely be turned off by requests which ask for more, so to speak.
The moving seller: Sellers in the midst of purchasing and moving into a new home may want to close the sale of their old house quickly. Consider a rent-back after closing for sellers who need more time to find a new home.
The burned seller: A seller who lost out on a previous buyer who was initially committed to the purchase but then abandoned the deal may need to trust that this sale will actually close.
The busy seller: These sellers may love the relief of letting their home go “as is,” freeing them from worries over inspections and repairs.
The sentimental seller: People relinquishing a longtime family home often want assurance that the new owners will treasure it as they have.
This list is by no means exhaustive and may only skim the surface of summarizing possible characterizations and motivations. Regardless, whether you’re on the buying side or the selling side, remember to keep it real when it comes to your expectations.
And if you’re talking about it on Poodle Beach, make sure you talk loud enough so I can hear.
Chris is a regular contributor to Letters from CAMP Rehoboth and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.