Tag Archives: at the right price…

Circling Birds: Part Deux

GirlBirdsThis goes out to all you circling birds. You don’t mind if I call you circling birds do you? Ok. It might help if I told you what circling birds are…You can decide for yourself if the flight pattern fits.

Whenever I sit down with Sellers thinking about putting their home on the market, the conversation inevitably turns to a kind of “active imagining” of who the buyer for their place might be.

Everyone wonders. What does the profile look like? That mysterious Buyer X who is going to emerge from the shadows of the great undefined “marketplace” – made up of a constantly shifting mix of people. All different ages, demographics, life circumstances, future goals, agendas, motivations, desires, needs.

Sometime, somehow, someone is going to decide on this one right place, out of all the other possible places lined up like addresses on the lottery board. A buyer that’s going to pull it together. Summon up courage, and resources. Proactively take the steps necessary to make it home.

My answer to most Sellers is that the person most likely to step up sooner rather than later isn’t someone who just started looking or is just getting around to thinking about looking for a home.

Rather, it’s most likely going to be one of those circling birds out there. And by that I mean one of those anxiously active, very frustrated buyers who has already been flying around for months – without arriving at their destination.

Yep. Circling birds have been at it for a while. Applying themselves. Doing their homework. Making the rounds. Trying to define what they want as they go.

Circling birds are tracking the market. They are hooked up to an intravenous fiber optic line that’s feeding them search engine e mails and a steady dose of new listings and price reductions hourly, daily and weekly.

They are remarkably knowledgeable about what has sold. What’s gone into escrow. What prices used to be. They know their own little market niche better than most Agents because that’s all they are looking at. They see the tree. Not the forest.

Circling birds have tromped through those atrocious bank-owned properties that give us all the creeps. And other tired old places that could only be classified as “the dregs” of the market. Some have already made offers awhile back on a short sale or two. Exhausted their patience while waiting for a response. A few have lost out in multiple offer bids for a really great place. Felt bitter pangs of disappointment. Dragged their hearts up and gone back into the trenches to look.

Each of these experiences and every house hones their focus and desire. Brings them closer to home. Narrows the parameters surrounding their future landing pad. They’ve looked high and low. At everything on the radar. Good, bad and ugly. They’ve grown more sure of what they want – through the process of elimination.

And that’s the whole thing Sellers. Circling birds are ready to go. And the inventory is exhausted. There’s nothing else to look at except that next best thing that comes on the market – your place!

When your house goes on, all those ready, willing and able buyers are going to sit up and take notice. They are going to bug their Agents to show it to them. They’ll be doing virtual drive-bys on google earth on their lunch hour. They’ll be doing drive-bys coming home from work. If it looks right and priced right, they’ll swoop in on the first day or for that first open house.

Make sense? So…what’s the big take away? The $64,000 answer to the $64,000 question? Ponder this: What happens when you put your house up for sale in this kind of market and nothing happens? Birds descend but they don’t stick around to roost? You accumulate enough weeks on market without an offer that you begin to feel like road kill that even the buzzards won’t touch?

What was that old Real Estate Mantra again? At the right price everything sells. At the right price all objections disappear. Hmmm. Might be that extra $64,000 you tried to add on to your $640,000 list price…. Just sayin’ Sellers…



Ok, so you are thinking about listing your house. If you are already listed and part of the growing ranks of the un-solds just pretend you are starting over. Like there was no yesterday. Because if you really want to , you can change your situation tomorrow.

This may sound like a dumb and dumber version of Real Estate for Dummies. I apologize in advance if I offend anyone’s sensibilities. But what I’m going to say applies to the vast majority of Sellers out there – whether they un-cup their hands from their ears and stop singing La La La La long enough to hear it or not.

There are two methodologies for pricing a home. One is market-based and the other is something akin to playing the lotto.

For months I’ve been badgering you with two mantras everyone should carry in their real estate repertoire. One more time? Ok. Here they are:  1) At the right price, everything sells. 2)  At the right price all objections disappear. Simple.

The market is a remarkably honest feedback mechanism. But the truth is, most people in a transitioning market (downward) don’t want to experience the pain of honesty. It doesn’t matter what they think their home is worth or what they feel they need to get for it. It doesn’t matter what their Agent thinks it is worth. A house is worth what the market will pay. Those of you still sitting without an offer in sight? You’ve got a definite objection that your price just isn’t disappearing.

I’m officially adding a third mantra to the list. Repeat it as many times as it takes to sink in.  “At the right price, there will be more than one buyer for your home.”

This is the premise of market-based pricing. It’s why so many people are running around collecting comps and trying to make sense of them. (Hard thing to do in eclectic SC County.) The value of any home stands in relationship to every other home. When buyers look – they look at more than one house. They compare what they can get for what it costs to get it. If you have something good for the right price, compared to what else is out there, buyers (plural) will want it.

If you are listing or selling your home and would rather toss market logic out the window then there’s always the lottery approach to fall back on.

The catchphrase that best captures the essence of lotto pricing is this: All it takes is one buyer. It’s also the most common rationale Sellers use when their houses aren’t selling. All it takes is one. You may be getting one lonely showing every couple of weeks but… all it takes is one. You may be going broke in the process but all it takes is one.

Pricing a home for that one right buyer that meshes so perfectly with it, they won’t care what it costs, is a pleasant thought. Imagine that one right person walking through the door, instantly smitten and ready to write an offer for any amount. And yes, they are eminently qualified to pay all cash, no contingencies, no appraisal worries. How soon do you want to close?

Possible? Sure, It’s possible. In the same way that we could meet tomorrow morning, buy lotto tickets at the mini-mart and win the big spin. The odds may be against us – but that doesn’t mean we won’t hit paydirt tomorrow. Or the next day.

Or perhaps twenty years from now, we’ll still be buying tickets convinced our odds are getting better as time goes by. We’ve spent thousands of dollars. We’ve invested all that time and hope. We can’t cut our losses and quit now. We have to win back all that money  we’ve spent trying to win.

All some of you Sellers need to do is continue those mortgage payments you’ve been paying on that empty house, while waiting for the perfect buyer to show up and you don’t have to meet me. You are already playing the lottery. As inventory increases, your odds of winning decrease. As days on the market increase – ditto. You aren’t getting closer. You are getting further away. And it’s costing you a bundle – financially, emotionally, psychically – trying to score that one fantasy buyer.

Keep it up long enough and you’ll chase the market down far enough, you’ll wish you’d given alot more thought to Gambler’s Anonymous sooner.