Thursday, June 14, 2007/
We finally offloaded the House of Horrors and, for the first time, saw the crazy owner smile. Now to deal with a foolish seller of an altogether different kind.
The price was right!
Great news! We had an offer on the Mooroobool Monstrosity, and the demented owners have accepted it. Not that my co-exclusive listing agent, Sheena Hyena from McMansion & Hovel Realty, nor I had any doubt we would eventually secure a bid for the Diorama of Disgusting Taste, simply because there are so many people who have, well, disgusting taste.
And when I say the owners are demented, I only mean in the sense that you have to be ever so slightly off your rocker to think that filling three pairs of red gumboots with brightly enameled Nutrigrain and Grissini sticks and hanging them in the porte cochere is attractive … (or do you?).
Anyway, the crazy European and his shrieking familiar were certainly sane about one very important thing: the price. This was one of the reasons Sheena and I agreed to take on the challenge of selling this joint in the first place. The owners knew they were, after all, appealing to a very limited pool of potential buyers (people who want a kitchen designed by Ming the Merciless).
They were at least prepared to ask a realistic price … which we achieved for them the other day. When contracts were signed, Mrs Maniac actually smiled for the first time since we’d met.
The price was right!
Compare and contrast this sales experience with an altogether more common occurrence: the unrealistic (make that greedy) seller. Three months ago Sheena listed a property a long way from Mooroobool in a far, far “newer” suburb of the type that seem to be popping up all over northern Queensland to cope with the relentless population drift from the south. The house is one of the better looking homes in the neighbourhood – generously proportioned and in excellent condition (shame the same can’t be said of Sheena).
One problem: despite Sheena’s comparative market analyses showing sales of other houses in the suburb, the owners insisted on putting a ridiculous price on theirs. It’s a terrific home, certainly, but no record-breaking price-buster. Sheena took the listing because if she didn’t then another agent would have, but the sellers refused to budge on the price.
Guess what? Two months and 16 open-for-inspections later and not an offer of seven bucks, let alone the absurd asking price of a hundred thousand times that, which is in turn fully a hundred thousand more than the highest price ever paid in this neighbourhood. Then the sellers did something truly bonkers: they went and signed a contract to buy another property. In desperation, they have agreed to lower the price on their existing property to a level originally recommended by Sheena.
Only trouble is, after so long on the market and with a big price reduction, now everyone thinks there is something radically wrong with it, and at Sheena’s open house last weekend, the only groups to come through were more nosy neighbours and a few tyre-kickers with nothing better to do on a Saturday arvo than trawl the real estate market.
Still no offers.
The lesson for these sellers is simple and many potential vendors, whether owner-occupiers or investors, would do well to take note. If you’re greedy about price when you sell, chances are your hunger for the loot will be protracted and painful, and when you finally come to your senses by taking your agent’s advice and dropping your price, you’re likely to find the market’s appetite for your property has already dried up.
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