As professionals in the Northern Virginia real estate market for more than 40 years, we have developed a reputation for integrity & truth telling – even when it’s not to our advantage.
How could telling the truth not work in our favor?
One example would be when we’re showing homes to a Buyer. And the Buyer falls in love with the house. We can see it in their eyes and hear it in their voice. Sometimes it’s even love at first sight.
But part of our job is to make sure the Buyer has ALL the facts before making a decision that could affect their future forever. Sometimes that means giving them information they may not want to hear – about potential resale issues for example. Buyers from other parts of the country may not care whether a home has a basement. But Buyers in Northern VA DO care. And so homes with finished basements are often much more saleable (and sell for more) than homes without basements. If the Buyer is a relocation client, and likely to relocate again in 3 years, they need to know this. Telling them about a resale issue when they just fell in love isn’t easy. And losing a potential sale is not easy for us either. But it’s in their best interest to do so. And for us, it’s always “client first”.
Another example where telling the truth may not work in our favor is when we are interviewing with potential Sellers. Some Sellers believe they should ask each agent for their recommended pricing and select the real estate agent who suggests the highest price or is at least willing to go along with their dream price. (Note: This is a myth! You should always select an agent on his/her credentials. Market value is a separate issue.)
So when we tell the truth of what’s happening in the market, and the Seller is not ready to hear it, we sometimes find the Seller chooses another agent to try to sell their home. (We call this “Jack Nicholson Syndrome”. Remember his line in “A Few Good Men”? – “You can’t handle the truth!”)
But it’s not unusual for some of these Sellers to come back to us 90 days later when their listing expires and their home is not sold. We always wish they had been ready for the truth sooner, because the longer your home is on the market, the less it usually sells for!
Never let an agent buy your listing.
It’s tempting to tell you what you want to hear, but integrity and a professional price opinion are in your best interests. No one has a crystal ball & pricing can validly have some variability, but pricing realistically from the start is one of the strongest tools you have in winning the Sales Game! Listen to your agent’s professional input and recommendations. Then make an educated decision and let the agent get on top of things at the start. Many agents will overprice a home in order to get the listing… and then ask for a price change down the line. You should insist on working with an agent with a proven track record. Ask the agent not only for a market analysis to determine the realistic amount your home will bear in today’s market, but also ask them what their pulse is on the market. Then price your home accordingly. Overpricing a home is the worst mistake you can make! Statistics prove that the longer a home is on the market, the lower the price it will sell for.
This graph illustrates what happens when Sellers do not price to “market”:
The chart above shows what happens in a “stable market”. Markets that are “shifting” (such as ours) find Sellers who overprice in even worse positions.
Here are just SOME of the Dangers of Overpricing Your Home:
- You will lose the excitement that a new listing generates.
- You will lose the most qualified prospects.
- Overpricing helps sell other, more competitively priced properties first.
- Your home may become stale on the market.
- If you do get an offer, the contract may fall through because of appraisal problems.
- You lose a strong negotiating position when your house is on the market for a long time, both financially and mentally.
(Click through if you would like a FREE estimate of your home’s value or if you would like a FREE Buyer Consult, just fill out our scheduling form here.)
Now you know why we tell the truth. It may not always be in OUR best interests. But it IS in our clients’ best interests. Our goal is to maximize the return for our Sellers, and minimize the time and inconvenience of having their home on the market. And the best way to do that is with the facts.
Telling the truth is not always easy. But it’s the right thing to do. Our clients depend on it!
(Click here for more info about The Belt Team’s MVVBP – Mission, Vision, Values, Beliefs & Perspective. This is our blue print for how we do business.)