As I was pulling out of the driveway this morning, my neighbor yelled across the street in a booming voice: “Hey Brezsny, go sell something today would you?”
It’s a game we’ve played for years. Through thick and thin. Crazy fast or crazy slow markets.
He always yells the same thing and I always try to come back with a different response. This time I shouted: ” Hell no! I’m going to buy something today instead!”
That’s what real estate needs right now. More demand side economics pushing us up, rather than the slow trickle of supply side sales dragging us down.
As though it were really possible to “sell” a house in a day anyway – the stereotyped image of real estate agent as “used-car salesman” notwithstanding.
Maybe there was a time when it was possible. Way back in some shrouded era when buyer beware was the rule. And full disclosure wasn’t a gleam yet in a litigator’s eye. And one page purchase contracts, the equivalent of cocktail napkins, guided the process. And filing out a loan application didn’t seem like an engraved invitation to a full-service water-boarding experience.
I confess there’s a part of me that would dearly love to show up at those million dollar listing appointments, look those would-be clients in the eye and swear that I am completely capable of talking people into buying their home solely based on the strength of my silver-tipped tongue and svengali-like powers of persuasion.
Or at least that I have direct access to the secret font of all knowledge and can discern the exact day and time that the one special buyer they are looking for will walk through the front door carrying a suitcase full of cash and readily plunk it down on the table – no questions asked.
I remember one of those mythical buyers that surfaced way back in the early 90’s. A guy who actually tried to bring several suitcases of cash in to close a transaction. It didn’t go over well with the flustered escrow officer. And it didn’t end very well for the buyer, once the IRS got wind of things.
But who knows? Maybe the car guys are still up to the task. It’s entirely conceivable to me that someone walking into a dealership not intending to purchase anything that day, could find themselves driving off the lot behind the wheel of a shiny new thirty thousand dollar automobile. Caught up in the moment. High on new car smell. Adrenalin fueled by horsepower.
But these days you can get a dose of new car fragrance at the car wash and feel completely reincarnated for at least week. And it’s tough to accelerate your nervous system through the roof while test-driving a hybrid and trying to merge safely into 65mph traffic on the freeway.
And almost nobody drops $425,000 (our most recent median price figure) let alone a million, without going back at least a couple of times to double-check their own svengali-like power to talk themselves into a terminal case of buyers remorse. If not a dozen times.
My personal best in terms of “selling” a house? As a listing agent – 2 hours. That was the length of time it took to run the gamut from putting it on the MLS, getting it shown, receiving an offer and having it accepted by the actual “seller.”
My personal worst in terms of “selling” a house as a buyers agent? 7 years. My lame excuse? The girlfriend half of the equation kept asking her ex-husband, a contractor, to inspect each new love nest the buyers found. Seems her ex didn’t really want his ex to be happy with someone else afterall, so he kept ripping each prospective house to shreds and x’ing out the best choices. I’m a little slow to catch on sometimes.
The most offers I ever got on one house? Thirty eight. The highest overbid? $238,000. The most dumb-founding moment I ever experienced? A chauffeured buyer arriving at my ten million dollar listing wearing slippers and a smoking jacket, leading a pet duck on a leash. One of the most amusing moments? My own client stripping naked in full view of a Seller in order to jump in and “test out the pool.” (He liked the pool and bought the house.)
So there you have it. Odds are, I’m not going to “sell” a house before the clock strikes midnight tonight. But whatever happens, I’m sure I’ll have something to say to my neighbor tomorrow.