Fairy Dust & the “SOLD” sign

I was trying to think of something to blog about this morning on the way home after dropping my kids off at school.  I was just about to pull on my street when I saw a house that had sold the first day it was on the market, but is now sitting back on the market with no buyer at the moment.  It got me thinking about how all that works with finding buyers.

This is a nice house.  It has a pretty deep backyard for the neighborhood and is in a good school district.  The sign went in the yard.  It got a contract.  A “Sold in 1 day” sign went up the next day.  Then about 10 to 14 days later the sold sign was gone and I noticed that it was back on the MLS as an active listing.  Probably means something didn’t work out with the inspection or the buyer’s financing.

So, a house that would sell in less than 24 hours on the market, but hasn’t got a contract in the past couple of weeks.  What gives?  Why hasn’t it sold again so quickly?  Well, like I say, there is no fairy dust, no magic in real estate.  Realtors that would have you think selling your house is anything other than working hard and working smart are the ones that can only brag about their good luck.  And good luck is what happened here.  I have no doubts this is a very nice house, and will get another contract, but what happened to make it sell in one day is that the right buyer was right there at the exact time that the house hit the market.  How do I know?  I’ve had it happen to me before.  I had a great little house that I did a great job of presenting it online, working with the sellers to get it ready to sell, and had a professional photographer take the pictures.  It sold in a matter of hours after I put it on the MLS.  Seems the buyer was already looking in that area and then BAM, I drop a great house on the market.  That house would have sold quickly anyway since it was presented well, showed well, and priced realistically.  Those are the 3 best things to focus on when you want to sell.  While I would like to take the credit for getting it done that fast, it was really more about timing.  Most realtors won’t tell you that.  They would like you to think that they sprinkled the fairy dust and that all the events/timing that lead to a sale were due to them.   That’s why I don’t really go around bragging about my average days on market.  While my number is much lower than the average, I know that all I can do is work to attract the buyers that are out there, not make them appear out of nowhere.   I never promise a seller when their house will sell.  What I promise is to have great pictures online, to write marketing remarks that tell buyers what is unique about the property, to work with the seller to get the house ready to sell, and to dot the i’s and cross the t’s throughout the deal.  I guess that is my fairy dust.

While I’m on this topic, I’ll reiterate that the “SOLD” sign in your yard really is just there to promote the agent to your neighbors so they can get more listings.  The sign does no good for you.  Why?  Well, think about this listing.  Do you wonder if anybody else was interested in this place while the sold sign was in the yard and the status was pending on the MLS?  I sure do.  Do you think the seller is wishing the agent had been collecting names and numbers of interested parties?  You bet he is.  I have 3 listings right now that have contracts on them.  I could stick a “SOLD” sign in their yards, but I don’t even own any.  I know that until you get past inspections and appraisals, and until the buyer’s loan gets through underwriting, that the place isn’t really sold yet.  When I get a sign call, or an agent calls me, I tell them the house has a contract on it and that we will accept back-up offers.  They never go for that, but then I have names and numbers of people to call if a deal falls apart.  I have resold three listings over the past five years this way.  Two fell apart after the inspection and the most recent one happened when the buyer’s financing fell apart.  I got back in contracts with all three of them the same day.  Think my sellers would have had that happen if I had proudly stuck a “SOLD” sign in their yard?

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