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Spare us. Don't List Your Home if You Don't Actually Want to Sell.

November 16, 2008

Spare me and yes, spare us.

Putting your house on the market without the true intention of selling is bad for you, bad for your agent, and bad for the entire San Francisco real estate market. Heck, it's even bad for the economy, in general!

When there are listings on the market with unrealistic sellers (& their unrealistic prices), they just sit around and clog up the inventory. Over time, these listings will skew our figures and make our market look worse than it is.

In addition, it is unfair to the serious sellers and the serious buyers. Buyers don't want to spend their time visiting your home, getting emotionally attached to it only to have you not entertain their serious yet realistic offer.

They could have looked at a house with a real seller and saved us all some heartache.

My real estate mentor, Joe Stumpf, has a snarky but dead-on question he pushes us to ask ourselves about each and every seller client before we take a listing....

"Is the client 'Just Listed' or are they selling their home?" Get it?

It is pretty obvious why a real estate agent shouldn't bother with an unmotivated seller. Listing a property costs a lot of money and time! It is a waste of our resources, financially, intellectually, psychologically, and emotionally.

It is very tempting to take the overpriced listing b/c in today's market, we are all doing less transactions than in years past. However, I truly, madly and deeply believe that my time is better spent improving my skills, writing this blog or taking my dogs to the beach than to spend time trying to help someone who doesn't want to help themselves!

Full disclosure: Yours truly fell pray to this earlier in the year... I listed and did NOT sell a condo. We listed the property for an already inflated price with the agreement that after 2 weeks we would reduce it by a lot.

Days before going on the MLS, he demanded I raise the price by almost $100,000!! I knew from day 1 that we were at least $200,000 over the current market value!

Needless to say, it did NOT sell. Eventually, we grew apart (euphemism) and we cancelled the listing. He relisted it with another company at yet another unrealistic price (b/c hey, that could work) and again, it did not sell. Almost a year later, the condo was withdrawn from the market and never sold.

This was tragic for the seller, for me, and for his entire condo complex. All of the neighbors were bummed. A listing like that can actually put a bad mark on the building and affect other sales.

Burn me once, shame on me. Burn me twice, shame on you. Never again. Never, ever, ever again. Okay, it might happen again because to err is human, but believe me, it won't be often! 🙂

As you know, I don't make a practice of trashing other agents but let's just say, there are some San Francisco Realtors who are as unrealistic as their sellers. They wonder week after week why their listings are not selling?

Um, as good ole Slick Willy might have said, "It's the price, stupid!"

Why am I ranting about this, you ask?

Last Sunday, the Chronicle printed an article about the current real estate market. The sub-heading reads, "Wake up Sellers! It's 2008. Don't kid yourself into thinking your house is worth what it was in 2006."

Actually, the article is pretty good. It talks about how to sell in today's market and why some might want to.

"With no clear end to the real estate market's woes in sight, some homeowners can't or simply don't want to wait any longer. For those people, real estate experts say, it is possible to sell - as long as they are realistic about a sale price and prepared to play by a new set of rules."

The part that irked me is the description of a TIC "seller" who openly claims that he is not serious about selling. He says that he is "testing the market..."

1. Why bother?

2. Why tell a reporter? What buyer or their agent is going to want to show your listing now?

He describes how there was a tremendous turnout at the 1st open house but no offers have emerged. Hmmm...any guesses?

Now I know that there are many roads to Roma and this is just one gal's opinion... Don't shoot the messenger, ok?

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