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Maybe I Wasn't As Smart... As I Thought I Was...

I guess the main point was... maybe I wasn't as smart as I thought I was.

Her home had been on the market for about two months.  The seller thought it was "the Nicest Home On The Block."  It was a four bedroom, two bath "New England Style" colonial.  Lots of white siding, exterior shutters tastefully done, nice shrubbery and landscaping, an oversized lot with some trees... very appealling, or so I thought.

It was a nice home. and as time wore on, it was getting lots of showings... even a few second showings... but no offers.  I took several of my Realtor friends over to this listing, looking for their comments and their marketing sugestions.  I even held a "Brokers open" to solicit their ideas.

I heard just about everything.  Put in brighter light bulbs, remove one item from each room to make the rooms look bigger, change out the kitchen wallpaper... it looks much too frou-frou.  (I liked it, and would have used it myself.)

Paint the interior walls a different color, replace the carpeting, send the little "yapping" dog to a relative until the house sells, send the little yapping KIDS to a relative until the house sells, all sorts of very "helpful" suggestions.

Then came the phone call.  The seller wanted me to drop over that evening.  She had some things she wanted to "go over" with me.  What was my first thought ?  Of course, she was going to "pull the listing."  Give it to a friend... give it to her accountant's daughter who just got into real estate... or maybe what she wanted was something as simple as dropping the price.  I was prepared for just about anything.

Now... I don't mean to say that my seller was a "know-it-all" by any means (or mebbe I do... LOL.)  Nor do I mean to say that she was "stubborn."  According to her... she was simply "firm in her convictions."  Un huh...

Then... out she came with it.  "Karen, my home has had showing after showing, some nice comments, a few criticisms... which I have remedied... but no offers.  I have been thinking it over, and I think I have the answer.

My home has many, many nice features, and many custom touches.  But... I don't think the people who are looking at it... "appreciate" how nice it is.  Sooo... I want you to raise the price by about six percent.  (In today's prices, that would be about $17,000.)  That way, with the price decently higher, it will be looked at by a better class of people who will better appreciate all the fine amenities my home has to offer.

I almost fell out of my chair.  How silly, I thought.  That will totally "kill" the showings.

Now, this took place back in the days before computers, and before the MLS was on the internet.  We had all our Multiple Listing Service listings in a "loose leaf binder."  The pages... the new listing sheets... were delivered in person to each of our offices every Tuesday and Friday.  So, I had to notify the MLS, and the news of the price increase would be delivered on an "update sheet" along with the new listings... the following Tuesday.

Ok... so I submitted the increase.  I just dreaded how "embarrassed" I would be when the increase hit my competitors real estate offices.

Bottom line... once the increase came out... showings started up again... and within three days... the home sold at FULL PRICE.  Why ?  Well, if you listened to the seller... the home was being seen by a "better class of people" who could really appreciate it.

I guess I really wasn't... quite as smart as I thought I was.

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Karen Anne Stone can be found at www.NewHomeHuntersOfTarrantCounty.com and can be reached at KarenAnneStone@aol.com or KarenAnneStone@gmail.com

Comment balloon 36 commentsKaren Anne Stone • September 28 2007 11:13AM

Comments

This was a wonderful story, Karen, and it was gracious of you to share this experience. We can all learn from our own mistakes and judgmental ideas, but it's even better when we can learn from somebody else's! I, too, consider price points when homes aren't selling and have also raised them to fall into a different class. It is possible to price a home too low, and sometimes buyers won't look at it if they think there is something wrong with it -- and evidently there MUST be, they rationalize, because otherwise why would it be priced so low! In fact, I just sold a home in Land Park (Sacramento) that was the lowest priced home in inventory. It wasn't moving, so we raised the price.

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Posted by Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents, Put 40 years of experience to work for you (Lyon Real Estate) about 10 years ago
Isn't that just amazing!  I picked up one in my neighborhood that had been on the market for a year and a half.  I had them send Fang, the rottweiler, to the pet spa for a week, upped the price by almost 20% and had a bidding war.  In this case, Fang was freakin' scary.  Their other agent had just kept reducing the price, but noone in their right mind would have crossed that threshhold.  Good post!
Posted by Patricia Kennedy, For Your Home in the Capital (Evers & Company Real Estate, Inc.) about 10 years ago
Hi Elizabeth:  Thank you for your kind comments.  When I originally priced the home, I had great "comps."  I knew the pricing was "right on."  But... sometimes... lowest isn't always best.  Like I said... it shows how much I knew.  <grin>
Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) about 10 years ago

If you don't mind me asking, what year did that happen, and do you think its a realistic option today? 

Good post.  You have to give it up to seller, sometimes they are actually right HAHAHA.  I did not see this story ending well, but I'm glad it did. 

Posted by Chad Baird (Re/Max Spirit) about 10 years ago

Hi Karen: Yes, sometimes the sellers are right, and we are wrong. We may be professionals in a neighborhood, but unless we have lived in our seller's home and know all the neighbors on that street, it's still a guessing game on price. In 2002, a seller told me my estimate was low and wanted to price it much higher, like $50,000 higher than all the comparable sales. I put my trust in her judgment and had multiple offers. Pricing is an absolute art. We learn something new every day -- or at least we all should.

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Posted by Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents, Put 40 years of experience to work for you (Lyon Real Estate) about 10 years ago
Hi Patricia:  So you sent "Fang the Wonder Dog" to "puppy prison."  Great idea.  Having a scary dog in the home when sellers are trying to sell... can really make many Realtors actually refuse to show a home.  How does the saying go... "Once Bitten, Twice Shy ?"  Thanks for sharing...
Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) about 10 years ago
Karen,  buyer behavior is an interesting study.  Perception is everything, but it sure seems counter intuitive for something to sell only at a higher price!  Live & Learn.
Posted by Stephen C. Olczak (Mortgage Help) about 10 years ago
Hi Chad:  It was quite a while ago, Chad.  And, no... I don't think it would be a realistic option today, but, then again, I didn't think it was a good idea then, either.  Like I said... I guess I wasn't quite as smart as I thought I was.  That same bit of wisdom on my part is probably true today as well.    Thanks for your comment.     Karen Anne
Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) about 10 years ago
Yes Elizabeth:  As much as we want to claim that pricing is a "science"... with all our CMA's, print-outs and such, there is nothing quite like an experienced area Realtor to make things happen.
Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) about 10 years ago
Well Stephen...  I think that we as Realtors as well as we as human beings... really need to recognize that we actually do NOT... know all the answers.  To digress for a moment, it's also too bad that our current president and his staff have not come to that realization.
Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) about 10 years ago
Karen Anne - I have a seller right now that has a property here in town, and we have showing after showing, and all the buyers are buying something else - usually something else not as nice for the same amount of money.  I have begun to think that the price is killing us, and needs to be higher.  I'm just scared to try it!
Posted by Nick and Joslyn Solomon, The Solomon Team - Century 21 Moline Realty, Inc. (Century 21 Moline Realty) about 10 years ago
Joslyn... have you called each and every Realtor who has shown the property ?  Get as many comments from them as possible as to exactly why their buyer chose the home they bought over your listing.  I am guessing they will be very helpful.  Let me know what happens, and I will help if I can.       Karen Anne
Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) about 10 years ago
What a great story!  Sometimes you have to go out on that limb requested by sellers...LOOKIE LOOKIE!!  I wonder how this would work in TODAY's MARKET though...   Very interesting share!!  THANKS!!!
Posted by Susie Roscoe, Real Estate Specialist | Brandon, FL (Signature Realty Associates) about 10 years ago
Hi Susie:  It was my pleasure to share this story.  My mother taught me to share.  I guess that was one of the times that I actually listened to her.  Good thing I did !  Would it work in today's market ?  Uh uh... nuttin' honey !
Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) about 10 years ago
 Karen - Your mom made you QUITE A CHARACTER! I really enjoy reading what you write. You're quite a character...it really adds a personal touch to your posts and entices me to read more and more!!  Keep it up girlfriend!!
Posted by Susie Roscoe, Real Estate Specialist | Brandon, FL (Signature Realty Associates) about 10 years ago
What an amazing story. How I wish that would happen today!
Posted by Kelly Sibilsky (Licensed Through Referral Connection, LTD.) about 10 years ago

Hi Susie:  Ummm... errrr... just what is that... ummm... animal ???  Perhaps we could replace it with a nice pretty flower... perhaps... LOL. 

Now... let's see.  You enjoy my writing, which makes you want to read more and more.  And my knowing that you enjoy it makes me want to write more and more.  Sounds like a nice combination to me, girlfriend !  Thank you for your kind comments.  You made me smile.

Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) about 10 years ago

Hi Kelly:  I really wish that could happen today, but perhaps not until early next year.  Thanks for visiting.    Karen Anne

Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) about 10 years ago
Karen, what a great ending.  Through all our experience, we sometimes overlook and tune out the sellers.  Think I need to go back and look at each and every listing that's on the market right now...........restage, raise the price.......or lower to get them sold.  Great post!
Posted by Kay Van Kampen, Realtor®, Springfield Mo Real Estate (RE/MAX Broker, RE/MAX Solutions) about 10 years ago
Hi Kay:  Yes, I think that we need to go back and re-visit many areas of our business right now.  Review current listings, perhaps revamp or freshen up our websites, do some brainstorming for new ideas, or even join a group like ActiveRain to try and update our brains... LOL.
Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) about 10 years ago

WOW.  I actually OMG'ed out loud while reading!  :o)  And it worked?!  Just WOW.  

Gave you a FIVE because this is a great post and really got me.  Well written and surprising lesson!

Posted by Sarah Cooper (Real Estate Shows) about 10 years ago
Hi Sarah:  And a WOW to you, too.  Coming from you, that is quite a compliment.  Thank you so much.  When I saw your commnt just now... it made me smile so hard my cheeks are hurting... LOL.  Thanks again for your kind comment.    Karen Anne
Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) about 10 years ago

Karen Anne - This is a wonderful story and I have seen it happen even in today's market. Sometimes the obvious is not so obvious. Today, i think it could be a wise choice, especially after staging.

BTW.......I am happy to see you getting some comments! :)

Posted by Paula Henry, Realtor - Indianapolis Real Estate - 317-605-4174 (Home to Indy Team @ HomeSmart Realty Group) about 10 years ago

Hi Paula:  Thanks for your kind comment.  And I agree... sometimes what is obvious to some... is totally foreign to others.  That's why a "second pair of eyes" can be such a good thing.     Karen Anne

Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) about 10 years ago
Hi Karen Anne,
Great story, that's pretty much my Dad's theory.  If it doesn't sell, raise the price.  It has worked for him many times in the past. 
Posted by Cynthia Tilghman, Realtor® Onslow County NC Home Specialist (Kingsbridge Realty, Inc) about 10 years ago
Cynthia:  So your Dad agrees... well, then, it must be true.  At least... that's what my Dad always told me.  He must have told me at least 100 times that he was always right.  Must be something genetic about that... in Dads. <grin>
Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) about 10 years ago
Karen, glad this worked out for you and your seller.  As I was reading through your story, I was thinking that it had not worked. Congrats to you!
Posted by Darleen McCullen, Broker - Raleigh, NC Real Estate about 10 years ago

Hi Darleen:  Yes, that was the whole idea behind the story.  I thought she was out of her mind, but her idea actually worked... thus the title of my blog post... "Maybe I Wasn't As Smart... As I Thought i Was... "

It taught me a little bit of humility.  I know I can always learn new things, and the above story, when it actually took place, reinforced that idea.  Thanks for your comment, Darleen.

Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) about 10 years ago

Karen Anne - I have talked to all except one, who doesn't return my calls or e-mails.  (VERY FRUSTRATING!)  One agent said she thought it was priced too low.  Most the others thought it was a "good price".  I then held an agent open, hoping to see what others thought.  All thought that the price was a "great price" except for two agents from my office, who thought that the price was 15,000-20,000 too high.  So that left me not having any clue WHAT to think. 

So I developed a theory.  What if, because it is such a nice house, people expect it to be listed pre-market-downfall price instead of at current market value?  What if that is what is scaring everyone?  They see the beautiful pictures and think "hmmm...obviously there's something wrong with it....."

A few people who have seen the house have bought more expensive properties.  One bought a lower priced one.

Posted by Nick and Joslyn Solomon, The Solomon Team - Century 21 Moline Realty, Inc. (Century 21 Moline Realty) about 10 years ago
Joslyn:  There is another thing to consider.  How long has this home been on the market with you ?  Also, please email me the MLS print-out sheet, and let me take a look.  Perhaps after taking a look, I might have a brainstorm or two.  I will be glad to help if I can.
Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) about 10 years ago

Ah, Karen Anne.  You, I, and our late night romps.

I will send it to you.  Let me know what you think.  Also, it's been on approximately 2 months.  I know, I'm impatient, but I surely thought with all these showings it would have sold by now!

Posted by Nick and Joslyn Solomon, The Solomon Team - Century 21 Moline Realty, Inc. (Century 21 Moline Realty) about 10 years ago
What a great story.  I am just amazed that what that seller wanted you to do actually worked.  What a hoot !
Posted by Donna M. Lella (Keller Williams Realty) about 10 years ago

Karen Anne~ great story!  I can understand how that can work for a custom home or a unique home with very few comps.  Good for you and your seller and for taking a team approach in the pricing decision.

 

Posted by Lisa Ryan, Selling Princeton,West Windsor and Montgomery Town (Callaway Henderson Sotheby's International Realty) about 10 years ago
Hi Lisa:  Yes, Lisa... sometimes establishing value can really be an art, and really can come from nothing else but one's "gut feeling."  Sometimes it is really true that the whole is greaer than the sum of it's parts.  That's where our intuition comes into play.  Thank you for your kind comments... and thanks for visiting.     Karen Anne
Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) about 10 years ago

I think you're pretty smart, pretty witty, and pretty darn talented! :)

Posted by Joni Bailey, Your Huntsville / Lake Livingston Area REALTOR® (Berkshire Hathaway Home Services - Anderson Properties) about 4 years ago

I have the opportunity to comment on 20 posts so I am working through 20 of yours. YOU SO DESERVE to be a millionaire. 

Posted by Joni Bailey, Your Huntsville / Lake Livingston Area REALTOR® (Berkshire Hathaway Home Services - Anderson Properties) almost 3 years ago

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