I sell houses just like I drive

I drove up to Pittsburg this past week with a couple of friends to go to a track event. My first time. It was a lot of fun. Only hit 110 MPH on the straights since it was raining during our track sessions. We took mostly state highways up and due to rain, mostly interstate back.

As soon as I got back, I put a house on the market for some great people who used me to buy the house several years ago.

Having just spent 5-6 hours on the road, selling their house made me think about what it is like driving through traffic. Not that it was at all frustrating or any of the negatives you typically associate with traffic. I mean the whole watching all the cars around you, seeing when you can get around somebody, knowing which lane is moving better…..that type of thing.

Real estate is a lot like that these days where you can expect multiple offers. You’ve got all these moving parts around you and you have to make quick decisions and take advantage of every opportunity. It is always changing, just like all the cars around you on the road as every other driver is doing the same thing.

We put the house on the market for TOP dollar. Neither the sellers nor I really expected to get half a million dollars for the house, but like moving through traffic, we took advantage of the openings we had to get where we wanted to be.

We immediately got 3 showings. One agent never gave feedback and didn’t say his buyer’s had any interest. Lots of times getting no feedback is the feedback. They were the stopped car on the shoulder of the road. They were out.

We had another agent who had an out of town buyer. This agent called me and said her people wanted to write an offer sight unseen. Now, I really had no intention of negotiating this offer unless it was going to be the only one we got. A buyer making an offer sight unseen is like passing a semi truck right before a blind turn. Too much could go wrong. My goal was just to get it and use it to motivate other buyer’s to act quick and bid high.

Then about an hour later I got a call from another agent who asked if we had any offers. I was more than happy to tell her that another agent had just told me she was going to make an offer. That put this agent in high gear as she wanted to zoom around the other buyer and get the house for her clients. Normally when there are two offers, the default is to get in the fast lane with at least a full price offer.

We sold it for full price. I never got the other offer. That buyer ended up being like that car in your rear view mirror that slowly fades away in the distance never to be seen again. Without that buyer though, I doubt we would have gotten such a great offer…..so thank you to that agent who cruised with us for a little bit.

5 crazy realtor experiences

Since real estate is slowing down a bit due to, well, you know why, I thought I would tell you about some of my adventures in real estate.

 

WHY I HAD TO WASH MY CAR WHEN I DROPPED OFF THIS CLIENT

I was working with this couple many years ago.  I would meet them at my office and then we would go see houses.  The strangest thing to me was that both of them would always ride in the backseat together.  So there I am up front all alone.  Front passenger seat empty like I am a chauffeur.  One day I picked them up.  The wife wasn’t feeling too good.  We left my office.  As I was coming to the first stop light, I hear the back door open.  She puked.  Since I had not come to a stop yet, the wind blew her uh, discharge, down the side of my car.  They decided to hold off on buying a house after that.  I found out later that they bought with another realtor, probably because she was too embarrassed to see me again.  So I lost a sale and had to wash somebody else’s puke off my car.  Nice.

TALKING THROUGH THE WALLS

My client told me they were going to be a little late.  I had consumed several cups of coffee that morning and really had to use the restroom.  I saw an opportunity since my client would be late.  I went inside the house, right at the time of the appointment.  As I was using the restroom, I hear a voice asking if somebody is in the house.  LOL, it was the seller.  He had not left yet.  He was in the bathroom on the other side of the wall.  He got done and left.  I never saw him.  Heck, I didn’t WANT to see him.  Minutes later my client showed up.

WEARING DIFFERENT SHOES

For a while, I had two of the same pair of sandals.  One was leather and the other was suede.  I kept them both in the hall closet at my house.  On my way to show a house to a client, I put my feet in the closet and put a shoe on each foot.  It wasn’t until I got to the house that I realized that I had on one leather one and one suede sandal.  I no longer buy different types of sandals.

THE TOOTING SHOES

Probably back in about 2009ish, I had a really comfortable pair of sandals that I loved.  The only thing I didn’t love about them is that every once in a while, at what always seemed like the most inopportune time, I would take a step and they would make a tooting (okay, farting) sound.  I think it was the sound of my heel coming off of the sole of the sandal as I walked.  I never knew what to do when this happened.  The first several times I would try to make it do it again, as if somehow that would proof that I didn’t…..you know.  It would never do it twice in a row.  It didn’t take too many of those embarrassing moments before I decided to throw them away and get a new pair.

NO THANKS ON THE COFFEE

When I was a newer agent, I had this great idea to go after for sale by owner listings.  I dropped off hundreds of fliers and only got one response.  I went to the house to meet the lady.  Her dog almost bit me.  She offered me some coffee.  I told her I loved coffee.  It was the most terrible, sour tasting coffee I have ever had.  I think she kept using old grounds to make new coffee.  Well, she of course decided to let me list her house.  When I came back for her to sign the documents (this was before we did it electronically), her dog almost bit me again.  As soon as we sat down, she says “I remembered you said you loved coffee, so I made you a pot.”  To this day she probably wonders how she saw me drink it but emptied a full cup when I left.  It was because I was just putting my lips on the rim of the cup.  We finally sold her house.  I could dedicate an entire post just to that sale.

Honorable mentions are all the times I have gone to closings or shown houses with my zipper down.  I think I once had a T-Shirt on inside out.

I have others of course, but I hope this takes your mind off of the state of the world and puts a smile on your face.

They got the house!!

I sold a house last weekend.  A real nail biter.

It was an attractive house with a popular floor plan in a desirable neighborhood and in the most popular price range.  All of that means that there were showings back to back all day.  I knew there would be multiple offers and it might go over the asking price.

It did.

We found out the next day that we were one of the 3 best offers they received.  We had to give our highest and best offer by 5:PM.  We did.  We got the house!

I guess all of my sales are personal since just about 100% of my work is people I know or people sent to me by people I know.   This one was very personal.  The buyers are a very young couple.  Married recently.  Just starting their adult lives together.  The wife is somebody I have known since she was a little kid.  Her family lived across the street from me at my last house.  Our family became friends with her family.  Her older brother and my boys were always together, especially in the summers.  They all went to the same school and we would take turns carpooling.

My favorite memory of her is when she was maybe 10 years old.  I would see her riding her bike down her driveway and on the street.  I would always look around to make sure no car was coming and that there were no strangers around.  A couple of times the chain would come off of her bike and I would fix it.  Once or twice I would notice there wasn’t a lot of air in her tires and would go get my tire pump.

I’ve always liked helping people.  It just feels good.

It wasn’t until after we got the news that they “Won” the house that I realized I was doing the same thing for her as an adult that I used to do when she was a little kid.  Instead of riding her bike out of her garage to start her day, she was buying a house and starting whatever she has planned for the rest of her life.  Instead of looking for on coming cars, I was making sure she got the house but didn’t pay too much and recommending a home inspector that I trust.

I have worked with several buyers that I have known since they were kids.  It is always mind blowing to remember them as kids and see them now as adults.  It is nice to see them doing well and making good decisions.  It also reminds me that I am much older too.

I’m glad we found them an awesome house, but I’ve got to confess I was really having a great time seeing her and her husband as well as her family while were house hunting.

Guess the price of these houses

I had an interesting thing happen this past weekend.  I showed a For Sale by Owner listing in an area where few houses are listed with a realtor.  It’s a popular area and about the cheapest route to get in a super desirable elementary school district.

My buyer did some of my job for me.  They found pictures of the FSBO listings on zillow.  I try not to use zillow for a main source of information because their data is often incorrect and they do not list if the seller paid any of the Buyer’s closing costs or if there were any other concessions…..but pictures are helpful to see the differences in the houses.

There were four houses that were all roughly the same size…..so close that we don’t even need to make any adjustments in value for 3 of them.  All sold within a few months last summer.  The range was $280-$330k.  Everything is sounding pretty normal so far, but this is where it gets odd.

I’ll describe each house and let you pick the sale price:

  1.  Sale #1 was 2400 square feet.   It backs to a city park.  It is all original and even has a green kitchen counter top which doesn’t look that nice with original cabinets that have been painted white.  Did it sell for $302k, $280k, $330k or $310k?
  2. Sale #2 was 2300 square feet.  It recently had $45k in updates including new white shaker style cabinets, trendy lighting, subway tile in the kitchen and around the fireplace.  Did it sell for $280k, $330k, $310k or $302k?
  3. Sale #3 was a 2300 square foot house with different types of laminate flooring.  It looks like the only newer thing in this place other than maybe the furnace filter was granite counters in the kitchen and bath.  This one has an odd shaped lot.  It is sort of a triangle so your backyard comes to a point.  Did it sell for $330k, $280k, $302k or $310k?
  4.  Sale #4 was just over 2000 square feet so it was a little smaller than the others.  It might be worth $12-15k less just due to square footage differences.  The kitchen was just remodeled and was equally as impressive as the one in Sale #2.  This one had new flooring too.  Did it sell for $330k, $310k, $302k or $280k?

Okay, you ready for this?

Sale #1 sold for $330k.  It was equal to Sale #3, which sold for $302k.  That means somebody paid $28k for the nicer lot.  That is nearly a 10% premium.  That is higher than anywhere else in town.  This was a great deal for the seller and a bad deal for the buyer.

Sale #2 sold for $280k.  Yes, the one with $45k in recent updates sold for the least.  Bad deal for the seller and great deal for the buyer!!

Sale #3 sold for $302k.  This was the house that had more flooring types than Home Depot offers and the worst lot out of all of them.  This one was listed with a realtor.  This was a fair deal for both the buyer and seller.

Sale #4 sold for $310k.  A good deal for the buyer.

So, what is my point in all this?  That these people needed the help of a realtor.  As a buyer’s agent, I would have advised my client not to pay $28k more than an equal house just to get a better lot.  I would have told the seller of #2 that their price was waaaaay too low.  I would have told both the buyer and seller of #3 that they got a fair deal.  I would have told the seller of #4 to ask for more.

 

 

What’s been on my mind lately?

I always joke that I am a bad combination of OCD and ADD.  A lot goes through my mind, especially as I drive around Lexington.

Here are some things that have popped in my mind lately:

1.  Masterson Station is no longer the “Affordable” side of town.  I don’t know if you have noticed, but a lot of the new homes in Masterson and the various new neighborhoods that have their own name but in 15 years will be called Masterson are not cheap.  I am seeing more and more houses for over $300k.

2.  The giant dice looking metal things by Local’s are really cool.  I enjoy seeing the murals, art and other well designed structures around town.

3. There are more and more small condo/townhouse projects all over town.  I still think they are a little risky.  Lexington has always been mostly a single family home type of town.  Condos or townhouses were always a niche market with most of them being geared towards first time buyers or empty nesters.  I’ll wait to see how well they sell in a soft market and if they appreciate before I give them a Thumb’s Up.  I guess the issue is nobody plans on staying in one forever.  You’re going to need the next generation to want to live in them too for there to be a future market.  Also, way to many of the 10-15 year old condos downtown are rentals now.

4.  I’m turning into a curmudgeon Gen Xer I guess because I miss the old days when you dropped some quarters in a meter to park downtown.  Now you have to enter your license plate number, hit a bunch of buttons on a keypad and then drop in your quarters.  What was wrong with the old way??