This post was written by real estate professional based in Charlotte NC, and it can be applied to the Baltimore-Washington market as well. From an auction perspective, this is why we encourage sellers (whether they are private individuals or lenders) to accept the auction result, it may be less than you hoped but its likey as good as it gets - especially when you consider that auction deals are contingency free and typically close in 30-45 days.
The Longer the Shelf Life, The Less Chance You Have of Selling Your Home
"HELP! We've received an offer on our home...and it's WAY too low! What on earth are we to do?" I know it stinks and it just plain doesn't 'feel' right either. Many sellers have the initial reaction to just ignore the buyer, exclaiming, "That is not even worth a counteroffer!" That's definitely not where you want to begin in the negotiation process. Here are a few points to consider instead.
I once had a buyer who made an Offer of $700K on a property that the sellers thought was simply TOO low because they had, one year prior to that, received an appraisal value at $775K. We knew that the price that we were offering was right on the money but, they insisted that we were WAY too low and they would not respond to our Offer. Fast forward a year and a half and their home is still on the market and fair market value is now down to the point that the absolute HIGHEST amount which they can get on their home is $600K. Would have, should have, could have, right?
Sellers, keep in mind that your very first offer may not be exactly what you were dreaming of--but, you simply must consider this offer. Making a stiff or non-counteroffer is likely to have your first and quite possibly only buyers running for the hills! How long are you willing to let your home languish on the market until the next, probably lower, offer comes in--if, indeed one does? Bear in mind that a non-counteroffer was not what the buyer was expecting and they may be aware that they're bidding low and fully expecting you to counter back. If you do not, they think you may be foolish and will move on to property choice #2.
Sure, it's tempting to stand your ground and wait for that dream offer to come in but, consider the amount of time that your home has been on the market. If you're running into the 'months on the market' rather than 'days on the market' then you need to seriously consider that first offer. Don't bury your head in the sand--you must understand the realities of the current market and how it is trending. Ask your agent to perform a market absorption analysis for you; the details contained within can be eye opening for you and help you to realize that you should not be selling with emotions. Rather, this is a business transaction. This first offer is certainly worth serious consideration.
Days on the market have an impact on the buyer in ways which you, as a seller, may not be aware: the longer the shelf life, the fewer potential buyers are going to come through. Self life erodes your homes market value just as much as your neighbors home which sold at a foreclosed amount does--especially in a buyer's market! Buyers begin to wonder, "What is wrong with the house that has caused it not to sell?" What factors are keeping it from selling? Is it price or is there something underlying that others have discovered before us?
Take a long, hard look at that first offer. If you don't consider this offer, how long will it be before you are able to garner another offer? How long are you willing to wait? How much lower are prices going to go before you do get another offer? How much more in mortgage, tax and insurance payments are you willing to pay before you finally Close on this home? What is this waiting period going to ultimately cost YOU in the long run?
Don't allow greed to stand in your way of moving on with your life. Remember, you're going to come out better when you purchase your new home--you'll then be the buyer in a buyer's market!
Broker / Owner Guerilla Realty and
Vice President Tranzon Fox Auctions
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