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Baseball and Real Estate

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Posted 04-08-2010 at 04:21 PM by Roy Sanborn
Updated 04-08-2010 at 04:20 PM by Roy Sanborn

April showers bring May flowers and more real estate listings, but the unseasonably warm and sunny days have also brought out the buyers. Let’s hope they actually buy something! The number of single family homes in the towns in this Lakes Region report jumped from 993 last month to 1070 as of April 1. That number is also up compared to the 1000 homes listed as of April 1, 2009. Based on the number of homes sold in the last 12 months, this total is equivalent to 17 months worth of inventory. We are fortunate to have a good mix of properties and great offerings in every price range and with 28% of the listings priced under $200k there are a lot of affordable homes on the market.

For those following the lake front listings, there are 211 homes available on Lake Winnipesaukee (including island property as of April 3) with an average asking price of $1.85 million. A little under half of these listings are on the market for less than $1 million. Over on Lake Winnisquam there are 18 waterfronts available with an average asking price of $650,833. I’ve read several articles lately that say vacation and luxury homes sales are rebounding in many parts of the country so let’s hope for a great summer here as well.

The wonderful world of real estate is a very challenging place right now to say the least, for buyers, sellers, lenders, and REALTORS® alike. It seems like the normal hurdles that we face in every transaction have become magnified because we just don’t get as many offers on homes as we used to. The biggest hurdle may be getting a showing on a property. Stress levels have increased for sellers in particular (real estate agents have always had to go for therapy) and buyers seem to enjoy tormenting them with the ever popular “low ball offer”. But, in some circumstance, sellers should think very seriously about your first lowball offer! So what is a “low ball offer”? Well, it can be viewed differently depending on your perspective on the matter.

Assuming we are talking about a seller, let’s see if we can make some sense out of it. Let’s say you have been trying to sell your home for $359,00. Mr. Seller’s property is very, very nice and he has remodeled every square inch with the highest quality materials, replaced all the systems, and made it the best and most unique domicile on the planet (his agent knows all of this because Mr. Seller has told him ten times). It has been on the market for 237 days, but Mr. Seller has also had it listed before with two other agencies for a little over $400,000. Despite the fact that there have been two homes sold in town for $325,000 that were pretty similar and every bit as nice Mr. Seller’s, he is standing firm on the conviction that his home is worth more because, well…because he says so and the price is the price. Remember when you were a little kid playing baseball? Seems like the worst player was always stuck way out in right field. That’s where Mr. Seller is…

But Mr. Seller’s home really does show beautifully and after the third showing on it (yup, three showings in 237 days---pretty good right?), he gets an offer. It is a solid deal with standard contingencies and good buyer. But the buyer, through his very astute Buyer’s Agent, makes the offer at $310,000. You see, the buyer’s agent did his homework. He saw the two recently sold properties for $325,000 and also observed that Mr. Seller’s home was assessed for $315,000. To the buyer, this is not a “low ball offer”, but the right offer. To Mr. Seller, it was time for a tantrum, a token small counter offer, and then a rejection of the deal. To use another baseball analogy the offer was not low, it was really in the strike zone.

Just like on ABC”s “Flash Forward” (where everyone on earth got a glimpse of their future) Mr. Seller saw that he would receive another offer. But he didn’t see how much the offer was for. Six months later, after considerable badgering by Mrs. Seller and his agent, he lowers his price to $329,000. He really didn’t want to lower his asking price, but his wife assured him that in his next Flash Forward he wouldn’t see anything except darkness. She had seen Florida in hers. Just like in the Flash Forward, he receives another offer. But this new offer for $250,000 is from a buyer that had been in town for a week and was looking for a deal on anything he could find that he could buy at a bargain price. This was a true “low ball offer”. I suspect Mr. Seller would jump at the first “low ball” offer if he could do it all over again.

If you are selling your home don’t go ballistic if you receive what you perceive to be “low ball” offer. Take time to really think about it, look at comparable sales, and talk with your agent. Someone might be trying to tell you something, particularly if your home has been for sale for the better part of this decade. It may not really be a low ball offer. It may be a reasonable offer.

The moral of the story is; don’t get caught standing in right field in this housing market or its going to be a long game with extra innings and you are likely to lose in the end...

Roy Sanborn
Roche Realty Group
97 Daniel Webster Highway
Meredith, NH 03253
Direct: 603-677-8420
Cell: 603-455-0335
Fax: 603-279-7604
Web: http://www.lakesregionhome.com
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  1. Old Comment
    Lucy Goose's Avatar
    I would ask why Tuftonboro is not listed?
    Posted 04-28-2010 at 04:05 PM by Lucy Goose Lucy Goose is offline

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