Starting the year with a bang

Today I submitted an offer on the house above..a very cute, renovated town house.  I was excited.  What a great way to begin 2011.  Yippee!

I've been working with this client for a couple of months and we've missed a few opportunities.  She's a first time home buyer and the process is a lot to absorb.  This house has been on the market for 39 days and when I spoke to the "agent" yesterday, he said he hadn't received any offers.

My client wanted to start low.  It was around 30K off list.  That was about 10% off the list price. In DC, you can generally expect to get 3-5% off the list price.  10% off list is considered a low ball offer.  I knew this wasn't an ideal way to open negotiations but you do what your client asks.  Plus, a developer is selling it.  Developers are normally only concerned about the net price and making a sale.  They respond to all offers even low balls.  Although I counseled this tactic was risky, I didn't think it'd be a big deal.  Instead, I got an email from the "agent" that he's not going to counter.  In fact, he told me when my client was serious, we could submit a real offer.  He also told me he had two other offers. 

This was not the reaction I was expecting.  I assumed they'd counter closer to list price.  On my listings last year, all offers were consistently 5-10% off the list price or more.  That's never what a seller wants to see but that's how buyers roll these days.  You work it out so both sides are happy.

Also, my client has a good job, is pre-qualified with a respectable bank and most importantly:  SHE'LL MAKE IT TO CLOSING.  Key factors to a successful deal these days.

Turns out, the listing is really a FSBO.  (For Sale By Owner.)  The "agent" was really the owner.  This fact is not disclosed in the listing. 

The situation above is why agents hate FSBO's.  His definition of a "serious" offer is a full price offer.  Really?  Why are you trying to flip a house in this market if that's your expectation?  After 39 days on the market and sold comps that are consistently 10-25K off list?  If it was the right price, it'd be gone already.  This is not 2006, Mr. Developer. 

I was really, really hoping '11 would evolve into a different sort of real estate year than '10.  Apparently, it's going to be more of the same.

*photo courtesy of Matrix


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