Sorry, but I Had to Throw You Under the Bus

As some of you know who might read my other blog, we recently moved into our new home we had built. We were lucky to buy one of the last lots, so the builder was giving away some great incentives to close out the subdivision.

This past week, two homes have gone up for sale in the neighborhood, and both are priced differently. The neighborhood is only two years old, so these are two of the first homes to be resold.

  • the first home is on a flat lot and was bought for $280,000 a year ago. They are now asking $300,000 for the home, but have also finished the basement. I viewed the home two weekends ago with a client, and thought that the asking price was very fair to the current market.
  • the second home just went active a couple days ago at a price of $380,000, which is the exact same price they paid for it two years ago, during the height of the market. It is a walkout lot and has a finished basement. However, I knew right away that in this current market, it was way overpriced.

Of course my husband teased me, saying that I wasn’t a very good real estate agent, not getting my name out to the neighborhood already. According to him, we have been here a month and a half and I should have already canvased the area with promotional materials. At these times, I just have to roll my eyes and ignore his “sarcasm”.

Then a funny thing happened on Monday. I received a phone call from an appraiser representing the relocation company taking care of the owners of the second home. The appraiser wanted to speak with me about our house, as it seemed to her to be a very close comparable to the home. I told her about all our upgrades, as we had many due to the huge incentives, that we had a finished walkout basement, and that our lot was far superior to the second home. Ours sits on a cul-de-sac with woods and a natural area behind it, but theirs backs up to other homes and has a smaller lot.

Of course during the conversation I told her I was a real estate agent, and we talked for about half an hour about other homes in the neighborhood that had recently closed with the builder. She then asked me the question that I knew was coming:

“In this market, what do you feel is the market value of this home?”

I told her, that “I hate to throw the agent and the owner under the bus”…but the home is not worth the money they paid for it. Looking at the current solds in the neighborhood, the house is probably worth $350,000, which is $30,000 less than they paid for it in 2006. Surprisingly, the appraiser agreed with me and stated the other comparable homes she was coming up with were not supporting the current list price either.

You can’t pull the wool over the market’s eyes. The truth will always come out, and buyer’s, with so much information at their finger tips, can easily judge for themselves what current market value is. It is sad that so many homeowners are faced with a similar situation, but they will be thrown under the bus if they over-price their homes. What’s a real estate agent to do in a market like this, but present the real picture to sellers and buyers. Unfortunately, not everyone wants to listen.

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