Gayle Rich-Boxman, Broker with Vernonia Realty
Your Gateway to Fishhawk Lake!
One of the reality checks for a new seller is discovering exactly what value their property has and this can also be one of the more emotional conversations the seller and realtor can have in the beginning of their relationship. The way I like to approach it is to sit down with the sellers in their home or view their lot and get a feel for the particular amenities their property offers that makes it stand out from all of the others on the market. Then I go and do my research, number-crunch and then offer a range of pricing from low to high-end and basically suggest that the owner(s) decide where to start. It certainly can be an on-going dialogue as time goes by if the property isn’t moving or getting the attention it deserves. Some think if they start out higher it gives room to negotiate especially since they feel that many buyers right now will offer rock-bottom pricing. Others want to be really aggressive right from the start. That’s where I have to offer some “tough love” advice sometimes and try to remove the emotional connection they have to the property and gently guide them to a smart decision, but ultimately it’s up to the seller to choose. There are many schools of thought and it really is case-by-case according to the seller’s situation (financial or otherwise), the type of property, what it has to offer and what it’s missing. That’s also where my expertise comes in handy in guiding them regarding changes that need to take place, when, what kind, how much it might cost, etc. For example, there is a new law about woodstoves in Oregon. If they don’t meet the new standards then they have to be removed by the seller, disposed of and show who did it, etc.before closing. I had a recent seller who had an old woodstove that I knew wouldn’t meet the current standards so we addressed that in an early conversation and he took that into consideration regarding credit at closing for a new one, or even removing it prior to selling, ultimately his choice, but all of that has to be considered in the listing price.
HOWEVER, I have noticed that if someone prices themselves out of the market from the start, it is a very long road from listing it to selling it. I have seen homes and lots sit on the market for 3-4 years here at Fishhawk Lake…ones that have been on the market since I got started in this business four years ago!!!! It can be almost painful to be the agent who has to say to the client that their property really isn’t very special, or it’s way too overpriced or BOTH. This is why it’s ALL important that I consistently do my best to get feedback from my buyers and from other agents who occasionally show my listings as well as pricing it correctly from the start. I ask for comments about what they like and what constructive criticism they have as well as ask that they try to rate it between 1-5, 1 being lowest, 5 being highest and their rating is completely subjective. For example, I had someone say that a 5 rating was one that they could never afford! Others will give the view a “5”, but the actual house a “3”. If it’s a couple, they may have different ratings and that’s okay, I’ll take that information and share all of it with the sellers. Now, if someone completely HATES it and has NOTHING positive to say, I will still impart the information to the seller without being rude about it. It reminds me of the saying, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”. You can also be honest without being brutally honest and hurting feelings. Some people think that the decor from the 70’s in yellows and avocado greens are still okay!
Thankfully, there is a tremendous amount of variety to offer clients right now and there are buyers who want the deal of the century because they see the “potential”, others simply want a turn-key property with all of the upgrades and are willing to pay the higher price because they won’t have to do anything and they see the value in that and don’t feel the need to dicker much. I like to know the comfort level of both the buyers and the sellers which makes it much easier in creating a sale that works for everyone without anger or resentment. I usually end up representing both buyer and the seller in almost all of my dealings and I let them know that in a case like that I become a mediator. Personally, it’s my integrity that plays the biggest part in this and a big part of that is being completely honest and still be honorable to the emotions involved with each transaction as well as keeping certain aspects of the deal private–an ethical part of the business–for example NOT SAYING how low one party will go in the negotiation if they’ve asked me not to share that with the other party. I think you have to thoroughly understand people and really ENJOY people because you can read what’s NOT being said in a tone of voice, an expression of the face and all of that can truly show you the way to make it a success for everyone involved. My mantra is that both parties leave the table gaining something even if they have to compromise along the way. I don’t want one party to feel that they took great advantage of the other party’s situation…to me EVERYONE needs to win!!!