Home Pricing Tests Real Estate Agents

Written by: Steve Cook   Thu, December 3, 2009 Beyond Today’s News, Consumer Confidence

With home values 22.5 percent lower today than they were two years ago, according the Case-Shiller, the typical homeowner forced to sell in this market will suffer a serious case of reverse sticker shock. 

It’s a shock that’s harder to handle for the 23 percent who are underwater, the millions more who are close to negative equity and those forced by today’s economy to sell to avoid foreclosure.  Their financial requirements can be greater than the profit expected from pricing a home to sell in their market.

Pricing a home is serious business, especially today.  Sellers find themselves competing against empty foreclosures or short sales discounted 20 percent or more below market price.  They face date certain deadlines to sell and more to a new job or a new lifestyle.  Buyers know they are in the driver’s seat and they wring every concession they can, from repairs to help with closing costs.

For the real estate professional whose role it is to get the most for his client that he can, these are hard times.  Matching a seller’s needs with market reality is an experience that can range from impossible to very unpleasant.

“What do you do when you have to tell something to someone that they really do not want to hear?” asked an agent on popular real estate blog Thursday.  “What technique to you use to soften the blow and avoid the heat?”

“People are desperate now, they have been told many things by many people that don’t work, and the mistrust level is high. I’ve been where you are, I don’t like confrontation, but neither do I like people being ripped off. The best comeback I can tell you is that I tell the consumer “I can tell you what will help, or I can tell you what you want to hear” I prefer to help you and tell you what you need to know……what do you prefer?” responded an agent from Orlando.   

“To do a real estate transaction you have to have trust, if they think they know more than you, want to argue all the time, then I’d rather not be involved,” she said.  “As a matter of fact, I just turned down a good listing where the seller has been on the market for over 2 years, and his excuse was it was always the bad agents he has had (four of them – all whom I know and they are very experienced and good at what they do).”

A California Realtor summed it up. “Much of what we are doing is hospice like in that we are the guide through the death of dreams.

“I find once I can lay out the whole picture,” she wrote. “And how others are involved in the situation and what their responsibilities are there is little I need to do after that. Except to remind folks they are not the problem. It is just where they are standing at the moment. Most of us are living in fear and it makes us unreasonable. But if we work at it and listen with a caring ear it reduces the stress all the way round.

“Most of what gets us hung up is trying to fix it. We are guides not supermen.”

2 Comments For This Post

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