Avoiding The Curse of the Solid Gold Toilet When Selling
THE CURSE OF THE SOLID GOLD TOILET
Okay, Ms. Real Estate Lady. . . While selling our home, we have done everything you have suggested. The stager made me get rid of all of my stuff. She called it purging – I called it painful. All of our custom faux finishes and colors have been “neutralized.” I still miss puttering around my old high school Corvette that has been sitting in my garage the last twenty years. I can’t believe you made me move it out of the garage. My square footage was measured and everything is accurate in the MLS. It feels like I have been having non-stop Sunday Open Houses. You have put me out so many Sundays, I don’t even know if my football team made the playoffs! My home has been advertised in the last four issues of your magazine. We still haven’t sold.
If you, the Seller, have done everything in your power while selling your home to make the property attractive and available to show to potential Buyers — and I, the Listing Agent, have ensured that every single Real Estate Agent, potential Buyer, and relocation company is aware of your listing — and there are no offers in sight. . . It is time to make a hard decision.
The market has rejected your home at the price we have offered it for.
This is harsh. I know that you spent more on updates over the last few years than ANY of your neighbors. I also know that you have the best floor plan IN THE WORLD. Your potential Buyers know it, too, and they don’t care.
I had a Seller who was extremely proud of the fact that he spent over $3,000 each for his special toilets. There were six toilets in the home. He wanted every single potential Buyer to know about those special toilets. One Buyer finally stated to me, “I don’t care if they are solid gold toilets. . . Do they flush the same?”
The Curse of the Solid Gold Toilet is simple
The Curse of the Solid Gold Toilet is simple: No one sees the same value in your solid gold toilet as you do. The prospective Buyers that are in the market today may not be willing to pay $10,000 – $20,000 (or $100,000 – $200,000!) over the neighborhood average to reimburse you for those special windows, the Brazilian wood floors, or the hand carved fireplace you imported from Spain.
If it is possible to catch that Buyer, I WILL find him for you. However, after we have been on the market for a certain period of time, if you need (or want) to sell. . . you must reduce. Cut your losses and bail out.
A sad stock story from the past…
My partner’s family and friends are from Detroit, Michigan. They are all long-time, proud American auto industry people. When General Motors stock started to slide in 2008, they set their jaws and stated, “GM will come back.” As though they could change the market’s perception by their sheer will alone. Many of them did not sell and “double-downed” as the stock price fell daily. You remember how that story ended.
The market determines the value
I believed (and still believe today!) that the Cadillac Escalade is the safest and most beautiful vehicle on the road. There is nothing as hot as three tons of American steel wrapped around you as you accelerate past that slow moving cement truck with a 420 horsepower engine. Unfortunately, no one really cared how I felt about my beautiful pearl Escalade and General Motors. The market determined the value of the stock. It was delisted from the New York Stock Exchange. My heart aches for every proud GM shareholder.
What will your story be?
I also feel for every Seller whose home does not perform to his expectations of the market. At the beginning of your listing, we will discuss the comps, upgrades, your goals, the most optimistic list price, and then do a reality check on your pricing. I do know what is possible, and I do not want to sell you short or leave your family’s money on the closing table. I’ll fight for every $1,000; $10,000; and $100,000 in negotiations. (The values are equally important because the money is yours.)
With my marketing program, I have homes that sell for the highest price per square foot in their neighborhoods all of the time. We are even able to generate multiple offers for some of our Sellers in this market. I hope this will be your story when you are selling. If it is not. . . improve. . . reduce. . . or get off the market.
A sad real estate story from the past…
I personally had a Seller who had been on the market for over twelve months. He originally listed his home with a discount Agent at a truly obscene high price for the property, updates and location in the neighborhood. He was at $1.3 million dollars at the height of the market in 2007. At that time, he should have been priced at $999,000.
He came to me in 2009 and we listed at $1,100,000. Twelve months later, we finally reduced it to the $1,000,000 mark. Unfortunately, the sad reality was that in 2010, we should have been priced at $899,000. If we had achieved $875,000 in that downward shifting marketing, it would have been a football worthy “Hail Mary” play.
I came to him many times and said, “Let’s take a market break,” or, “I’m going to grab my sign,” and, “It’s not your season to sell.”
The challenge was. . . he wanted to sell. But at his price. His reply was always, “Let’s give it another month,” or “It only takes one Buyer,” and, “Maybe someone will relocate from California and pay my price.” Our last conversation included his comment. . . “If we just hold on a little bit longer, we will be able to put the price back to $1.3 million.” My Seller, my friend, your home is not going to sell at an unrealistic price. . . ever. This story plays out all the time in every price range in every market where people are selling their homes.
Pay attention to what the market is telling you.
What is possible for your property in today’s market? Let’s do the Comparative Market Analysis. Calculate in your updates. Are you on a specialty lot? Remember Chapter 1 on maximizing your profit? What is the weakest point of your home? Can we fix it, or do we price around it? How quickly do you need to sell, or do you have the luxury of time?
Once your home is listed, pay attention to what the market is saying to you. How are your Showings going? What is the Open House feedback? Do not confuse the “luxury of time” for permission to overprice your home. It is fine to start with an ambitious (but not ridiculous!) list price. But if the market rejects you after a certain period of time. . . we need to talk.
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