I’m trying to be polite here. The “WTH” stands for ‘What the heck”. A few weeks ago at our Mastermind session we talked about how an agent lost a deal over a relatively small item. In this case it was a $500 Ikea cabinet. As soon as that story came out others piped in about some of their lost deals too. It was surprising to see what buyers and sellers would walk away from. I put it out to my Facebook friends and got some wild responses.
One person lost a deal over a pool table when the seller was moving out of province anyhow. Another lost over a broken snow blower. Apparently the seller promised it to a nephew and buyer walked without it. Other inconsequential items included a fridge, a $100 microwave, a bookshelf, drapes and a flowering shrub in the garden. Of course it isn’t always about possessions. Sometimes it’s a technicality. I heard from one friend who had a deal fall apart because the age of the home was reported as 14 years old when it was actually 18 years old, while another deal died over a 6 month discrepancy in the age of the furnace. Another fell apart when the seller signed back an offer to close on the same date that was the anniversary of a death of a family member and was taken as a sign that this “wasn’t meant to be”.
Often the argument is just an ego thing where the buyer and seller just don’t like each other and dig their heels in but other times it is the telltale sign of something larger. Our job is diffuse the anger and turn it into a positive. Here is my example; Once I went on a listing presentation on a condo. The exact same unit on the floor directly below sold for $365k. I suggested to the seller that if we listed at $369k we might do a little better (being one floor up). The owner was insistent on listing at $379k so I thought, sure why not. It’s not wildly off base. After a few weeks we got an offer for $375k so being already $10k ahead I pressed my seller to accept. She wouldn’t. Insisted on the full $379k. We couldn’t make the deal work and the seller walked. So clearly my seller lost on a great opportunity….or did she? About a month later the seller listed with someone else at $379k and the condo sold way over in multiple offers. In effect, it turns out the original buyer lost. There is a lesson in here somewhere.
Clearly buying or selling a home is an emotional experience. Both sellers and buyers think they hold all the cards. Getting them together is the real trick. If you hit this critical impasse the first thing to do is isolate it. Is this a buyer getting cold feet or a seller who’s just not ready to let go? Knowing the true motivation will help resolve the issues. Sometimes however, people are just stubborn jerks. Other times you step up and buy them a new microwave. In the end, the buyer and the seller just want to know that someone cares. Finally, I heard from one friend who tells it like it is. His client was his wife. Many years ago she dug her heels in when there was only a $200 difference between her and the seller. The agent husband managed to get the deal together and it has been their matrimonial house for 20 years. He loves to tell the story about how she almost let the deal die over $200. Hilarious.
mark mclean is the Broker/Manager at the Bosley Real Estate Queen St W office and President-Elect for the Toronto Real Estate Board. The opinions expressed here do not reflect the opinions of TREB or Bosley RE.
Every year, around this time, I surf through my blog statistics and try to get some idea of how I did over the course of the year. Did I pick up subscribers? what posts got the most views? which received the most comments? The goal of this exercise is to see what’s working and what isn’t. Pretty simple, really. So, without further ado here are the top ten posts of 2013.
Number 10. We have seen it a fair bit this year, and lets hope the tide is turning as more and more people get reported but it still never fails to surprise me when an agent uses other agent’s pictures to create fake ads on 3rd party sites like Craigslist or Kijiji. Surprisingly, the public hasn’t heard the old expression….if it is too good to be true, it probably is. We call it Gaming the System.
Number 9. I had a lot of fun with this one because it combines two of my favourite things; office meetings and infographics. I asked agents at my office how they went from a phone call at the office to a listing a home. I called it The Ultimate Pricing Guide.
Number 8. My friendly neighbourhood Coburg agent Dave Chomitz, who follows me everywhere (or is it I that follows him) gave me the idea for this post. He had an idea…and doesn’t it all just start with an idea, on how to build his own real estate market. Check out his success and then come up with your own Niche Marketing Ideas.
Number 7. Surprisingly 3 of my top 10 of 2013 were actually written and published in 2012. Talk about longevity. But when the content is still relevent, that can happen. In this case I wrote about a seller who wanted to sign back for more than the asking price. What should stand out in any agent’s mind is that if you list a home low in order to get multiple offers, you need to explain to sellers what could happen if the plan doesn’t work.
Number 6. Saw a few cases of this during the year. A house is sold and the appliances that were thought to be included were different when the buyer took possession. This made us conclude that listing agents need to CLEARLY educate sellers about inclusions and exclusions,but more importantly, buyer agents need to do their own due diligence in marking down the important stuff. I called this one, The Old Bait and Switch
Number 5. Another hit from 2012. I did a bunch of research on this one and then, while attending NAR in Orlando I learned a fundamental thing about open houses. After 20+ years in the business it never occurred to me that people who went into your open house weren’t there to look at the house. They were there to check you out. I guess it is true…Open houses aren’t for suckers.
Number 4. How many times have you heard Sellers say ‘boy, I should have taken that first offer’? Probably never because that would be like admitting defeat. Still it was fun to write about The First Offer is the Best Offer.
Number 3. This one is my proudest blog post because it’s a video (featuring ME!) and most viewed video on YouTube. The content is pretty good too and drove this post to become the most shared on 2013. Nuff said. Here’s your opportunity to watch How to Become a Real Estate Super Hero. Blammo
Number 2. The last man standing of 2011. The anatomy of a Canadian Realtor. Funny how two of the top ten posts are infographics.
And finally, drum roll please, the Number 1 blog post of 2013 remains my post on agent statistics that I did in 2012. Probably due for an update soon but I suspect the ratios will remain pretty consistent. It seems that agents want to know how they stack up to the other 38,000 agents in their market.
Well thanks everyone for a fun year. Look forward to another year of fun and discussion.
I have been lucky enough to get to a bunch of new condominium launches in the city over the last few months and with the exception of a few, I would say that on the whole developers are getting more and more creative with their designs, architecture and interiors. Marketing companies, the machines behind the condos, are coming up with some great names and slogans all meant to capture our imaginations. The goal in all this is simple; get the customer into the door and sell them a condo. It’s not rocket science. I’ve probably seen a thousand different floor plans and surprisingly the layouts are all fairly standard. What is evident is that suite sizes are getting smaller. 20 years ago, a standard one-bedroom suite was 700+/- square feet today its’ more like 450 square feet. When you think about it, the reasons are clear; it costs more to build so in order to build affordable units you need to build them smaller. When it is less expensive to buy, more first time buyers can get into the market.
Well, having smaller suite sizes is all well and good, but I believe there are fundamental changes in the design of these suites that need to be addressed. It is clear that when you live in a small apartment you need to shift your lifestyle accordingly. Think for a moment about appliances. The diminutive condos being built today offer 30” fridges and stoves, and 24” dishwashers. It seems absurd to have full size appliances when smaller ones could free up more living space. Today, there are many manufactures who build smaller appliances for smaller homes. They require less space and use less energy. Builders will argue that they get better deals when they buy in bulk but who is actually driving the sales here? I think it’s the builder who has the ability to demand smaller appliances for smaller units.
Of course the big challenge in all this is getting the purchasers to buy into changing their lifestyles a little. A smaller fridge means shopping for the next few days and not the week or month. With rising food costs, maybe we should be adapting a more European lifestyle anyway. Less food going to waste means less food in the dumpster too. Today we don’t necessarily consider how appliances impact our lives, we just take them for granted, but in 50 years there is no question that we will be living in a much different world. How we purchase and consume food may, in fact, cause us to re-evaluate our appliance needs.