Living in Los Cabos: Are You Ready To Sell? Or Just Wasting Time?
It’s been a frustrating week, and I may as well vent. I’ve got two clients, both have listed their homes with me to sell and both are completely preventing me from getting that job done. Argh! So, on the off chance someone reading this might be in the process of trying to sell their home, or is thinking of putting their home on the market, here’s how to go about it. And remember, almost 100% of this applies no matter where home is.
Time Waste #1: Pride of Price
Both of these clients have over-priced their homes. Significantly. They are also both quite accomplished successful men who have a stubborn streak a mile wide. If I hear “I’ll get my price’ once more from either of them I’ll scream. Truly I will. Look, you can’t take the global economic crisis personally. You haven’t been singled out by the recession. Your home may no longer be worth what you paid for it. That’s a fact, albeit not a happy one.
Over and above the effect of the recession you’ve got to price realistically. One of these gentlemen is refusing to budge off his price because the comparable market analysis (which I provided… ouch) shows that on average homes in his area sold for X dollars per square foot. Multiplying that number by the area of his house is how he set his price, about 35-40% over my estimate of what his home would bring. My estimate was so much lower for three reasons:
- View. If you live anywhere near the ocean, or any other scenic wonder, view totally trumps square footage. This gentleman’s view was severely impacted by a very large and very ugly Cultural Pavilion that was erected since his home was built.
- Floor plan. Square footage matters only when the useful area makes sense. A 350 square foot laundry room may have made sense to him when he built the home, but for most buyers it’s only a waste and won’t factor into what they are willing to spend. His home is huge, but it also has no pool, no hot tub, and no garage. You’ve got to price based on what buyers are seeking.
- Out-dated finishes. No matter how fastidiously maintained ceramic tile counters and back-splashes knock down the eventual selling price of a home. If your finishes are not up to date you must price accordingly.
This client rejected the final price recommendation on the comparative market analysis which took these factors into consideration and focused in on a meaningless statistic that would help him rationalize the unrealistic price he’d prefer.
Time Waste #2: Pride of Possessions
The minute you put your home on the market it ceases to be yours. It belongs to someone else, we just don’t know who yet. The other absolutely true thing about real estate is that people buy houses; they don’t buy other people’s homes. There are too many good blogs and websites on staging a home to go too far into it but, but let’s just say that neither one of these gentlemen is an interior designer. Rattan furniture with mauve and gray upholstery has been out of fashion for quite a while. But both homes have it proudly serving still. Most of our homes here are sold furnished; do they really think that people want to pay good money for thirty year old furniture? And so much of it! I cannot get the one gentleman to take anything out of the house, he thinks it’s wonderful that he has four couches and two barcaloungers in the living room and they fit! Gee, I wonder why at the open house we got comments about the house being ‘cramped’. Anyway, you get the picture. Especially in today’s market where supply far exceeds demand the house must be pretty. It is not easy to tell someone that you need them to clean their closets, especially if the agent is also a friend, so when your agent screws ups the courage to have that conversation with you, please pay attention. In one case two interior designers and I spent several days coming up with a staging plan that the client requested. When we presented it he didn’t even consider it but told us he’d changed his mind and decided he liked the house the way it was. Too bad nobody else does.
It’s not fair to your agent to expect them to sell a house that is cluttered, too personal, or looks poorly maintained for full asking price. For political reasons I didn’t have the choice of saying no to taking either of the listings, but frankly, I’m not going to spend my time or money marketing them aggressively. It would just be a waste. Thanks, I needed to vent.
Carol Billups is Broker/Owner of Cabo Realty Pros. She has enjoyed working with both buyers and sellers for over eleven years and still thinks hers is the best job on earth. She is also the real estate columnist for Los Cabos Magazine. You can read more of her articles on the website blog www.caborealtypros.com. You can reach her from the U.S. or Canada at 1-760-481-7694, or in Cabo at 044-624-147-7541. You can listen to our 24/7 broadcast on http://www.livecabo.net for a mix of happy music, weather reports and local information.
© 2012 Carol S. Billups