Buying a listing?
Have you ever heard the term in real estate “Buying a listing”? What does that mean? Does it mean a a buyer is making the purchase of a listed home? The answer is no! In simple terms buying a listing means that a real estate agent, knowing that he or she are in competition with another agent, tells a seller that the price they should sell their home for is much higher than the supporting comps. It is almost always higher than the price of the agent they are in competition with. For example, agent #1 comes into a listing appointment and presents a sales price that is supported by the comps and the current conditions of the market (ie. Low inventory, high inventory). This agent , for example, tells the sellers that the price should be $900,000. And this agent is pushing the price a little high thinking he can net the sellers a little more because of the current low inventory. Agent #2 comes in, knowing they are competing with another agent, and prices the home at $1,000,000. Now this agent knows the supporting comps show that this home should be priced at $900,000. But this agent also knows that if they come in with a price that is $50,000 to $100,000 over what the other agent said it will sell for, the sellers will be very tempted to go with the second agent. After all, who would not want to make an extra $50,000 to $100,000! What then happens? Well typically, the sellers will get less traffic because most agents know it is overpriced and they will take their chances that the price will be reduced at a later time. When this happens, in this market usually 1 to 3 months later, the listing agent tells the seller that they need to drop their price! And when they do drop the price, the listing has become stale at that point, and regardless of the price drop, the low ball offers start to come in! When this happens, units usually sell at a lower price ( most times lower than the original sales price mentioned by agent #1)
Why do some agents practice this way to solicit listings? Because they KNOW they will get the listing! And during the time the home is on the market, they will have built a relationship with the sellers and at some point, they will have the seller dramatically reduce the price and the home will sell and those agents will get their commission.
So how do you avoid this type of practice? Well start off with the old saying that if something is too good to be true… it usually is. While we all want the most in the sale of our homes, you also want to be realistic in your expectations. And how do we know if an agent practices this habit? Well I often tell sellers to look at the agents current listings because an agent that practices this method of acquiring listings will almost always have a couple of listings that have been on the market for 2 to 3 months (because they were way overpriced!) If it priced right in this low inventory market, It will sell. Anything much over a month to a month and a half is way overpriced. Usually under a month is the norm in this current market.
What do you do if this situation happens to you? I tell sellers to hold their agents feet to the fire! If they say they can sell it for $1,000,000, when another agent says the value is $900,000, hold them to it. $975,000 would be within reason. If they can’t, thank them for their efforts and hire the agent that told you the correct price all along. But when you do, be aware that the original $900,000 may now be difficult to get because of the time spent on the market.
Brad Golik is a condominium specialist with Pearl District Properties. Brad was the first agent in the country to use QR codes for his listings and is an internet marketing expert. Brad was a co-founding partner in Condo10.com , a group of condo specialist from around the country working together to provide the best marketing practices for their clients.