Cliff and I are heading back to the mountains this weekend to check on the cabin. When we were there a few weeks ago, it took my husband an hour and a half to dig down to the water main while I carved a path to the doorway. This weekend, we will undoubtedly be addressing other concerns. Turns out that owning a cabin (even a small one) is not for the faint of heart . . . or lean of pocket.
"Please take my dog with you to Tahoe," Jill suggested, "Luna loves it there." (Indeed she does, as does our dog, Riley.)
No wonder; the house is not far from the waterfalls, the lake is serenely beautiful this time of year, there isn't a soul in sight beyond our little pod, and both dogs can joyfully run off-leash to their heart's content.
Riley is a flat-coated retriever, so even though the temperature tends to be bone-chilling this time of year, snow-fed water isn't going to stop him from gleefully charging into the lake to fetch a stick. Luna, on the other hand (a Woodle - Wheaten/Poodle), prefers to meet Riley at the water's edge in order to wrestle away his prized possession. No matter how often this scene is played out, it's endlessly amusing to see the tug-of-war between these two playmates.
Mind you, I'm happy to throw Luna her own stick, but that's not the game. The game is taking away Riley's . . . that's what makes it interesting and fun. As soon as Riley drops the stick, Luna could care less.
Here's the Real Estate tie-in . . . the game of "fetch" is much the same when it comes to the sale of real property. With all due respect to the concept that "It only takes one Buyer to sell a house," in our experience, the exact opposite is true. Or put another way: you CAN sell your home with only one Buyer, but not for the premium you feel it deserves.
Here's how it really plays out: As soon as one qualified party displays more than a casual interest in a property, it makes that opportunity significantly more attractive and enticing to other potential Buyers as well. Offer these same Buyers an UNCONTESTED choice, and they'll nervously back away wondering why no one else wants it.
Even where there's real interest, Buyers may circle, but they won't necessarily bite - not until someone else jumps off the fence first. (It's akin to a socially awkward 7th-grade cotillion; it takes a couple of brave souls to actually get the dancing started.) Turns out that when it comes to a major life purchase, most Buyers need others to validate their choice before making a BIG move.
This is why pricing is so important, as Sarah and I were reminded recently when we represented a stunning home that was universally loved but surprisingly void of offers. Having priced the house to meet the Sellers' expectations, we failed to procure any bids come the offer date, which admittedly makes for some anxious moments both for the Sellers and for their Agents. In short, correctly pricing a home from the get-go is the single most important component of a successful marketing campaign. Miss the mark, and there's likely to be a lot of fancy footwork to follow. . . .
However, once our team reset the stage and reset the price, a qualified Buyer jumped in almost immediately, and then another followed suit with a stronger offer, not to mention better terms. (Don't forget that terms are equally important for a smooth transaction.) The new homeowners are thrilled, the Sellers are pleased, and Sarah, Jill, and I are happy to have produced a winning result, despite the tepid start. In fact, by lowering the price, the final result nearly met the original goal. (All's well that ends well.)
While we understand that Buyers are frequently frustrated by a market wherein the list price often bears little resemblance to the final sales price, AND why Sellers often think we are 'devaluing" their house by setting the price lower than they would ultimately accept, it's precisely because of the example above that "strategic pricing" makes all the difference in the world - no matter how beautiful a house is . . . .
Given the herd mentality of the human species, Buyers seem to need some healthy competition before they are willing to engage. BTW. - Sellers aren't required to accept a full-price offer or ANY offer, unless it meets their expectations, so fear not. No one is going to force you to sell your house for less than the going rate.
Consequently, when we make the potential list price more palatable by offering a home for a sum that seems attainable, many more Buyers appear, and with more Buyers comes more leverage, AND that, my friends, is how savvy Agents work the room to drive prices UP!
While it might seem disingenuous to price a property well below its final sales price, please remember that Sarah and I are NOT setting the value of your home. We are creating a pricing strategy designed to bring you the highest and best result. In other words, it's actually in YOUR best interest to price a property for less. (Paradoxical, but true.)
Hey, if that weren't the case, pricing a home would be a whole lot easier, and we could sell it on eBay without any negotiations whatsoever. (Uhh, that's not our recommendation.)
How's that for a "fetching" tale?
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Julie Gardner, has been writing The Perspective for 17 years and has published more than 650 essays. She is also a frequent contributor to the Sound Off column in the Real Estate section of The San Francisco Chronicle.