?'s on Home Sale

limpid lizard

Recycles dryer sheets
May 26, 2007
I have been looking at selling my house. About 5 years ago, I refinanced. When I refinanced, the appraiser stated that he could find no comps. I have had two realtors look at the house and give me estimates on listing price. They were within 5K of one another, but their comps were not really comps.

My house is in extremely good shape compared to the neighbors. I have probably over improved, but I had to live here. My neighbor across the street just sold his house. His house was in much worse shape than mine. The suggested listing prices proposed by the realtors were about 14K higher than what the neighbor's house sold for.

That house is about 300 square feet smaller, but has a double garage while I have a carport. The thing about my house that makes it difficult to find comps for is that it has a 24'X36' shop in the backyard. One can hardly tell that it is there from the front, and the shop is in as good a condition as the house. It has two 10' roll up doors, electric, heat, good concrete floor, and matches the color scheme of the house.

I know that everyone thinks what they own is the most valuable thing on earth, and even trying to take that into consideration, I think this place should be worth more. I think quite a few men would not even bother to look at the house once they saw the shop.

I bought the house simply because I could build a shop in the back yard. It took me 9 months of looking to find a place in this town where I could. Since I built the shop, the city has passed an ordinance prohibiting the building of shops without a variance.

Do I sound out of line in expecting the listing/selling price to be higher? If one built this shop today, it would cost better than 30K. I spent about 15K on materials and did the work myself 13 years ago.

Should I just demand that the realtor list the house at a higher price?
First... YOU are selling the house, not the realtor.. YOU demand whatever you want...

As for price... if you have a unique situation, you will more than likely be in trouble.... let me give an example..

I have been looking to buy in a neighborhood... the houses are listed from say $150k to $200k.... well, one came on the market last week for $350k... nobody is going to even LOOK at that house... is it worth it? I don't know... but if it is, they put it in the wrong neighborhood...

SO, list at whatever price you like, but be prepared to not have many lookers if it is out of line with your surroundings... and the price is what something will sell for with a willing seller and a willing buyer... you are the willing seller right now at what price you post... but will a willing buyer come forward?
Sounds like the realtor is pricing it to SELL. You're pricing is largely based on what you'll part with it for (XX more than the neighbors place!).

Sure you can tell the realtor what to list the place for ... they might even take the listing (just to get the listing). BUT will it SELL? And how hard will the realtor advertise the house if he thinks it's over priced.

Eventually you'll drop it to market value ... pricing a home too high in a falling market is a waste of time.

If you need to move accept the realtors price. If you've got time, set you're own price (but don't be surprised if it sits).
I'd guess that with no comps, no one knows what the market price is. I'd be happy to get 10K more than the realtors suggest, think that fair, and sell. I'd not be willing to put the house up and sell it in the first day because it was underpriced.
yeah, a house that sells in a day is underpriced. 10k over the realtors "comp" seems reasonable.

You'll know in the first month if you did the right thing ... if there's an offer. If not drop to the realtors number.
First... YOU are selling the house, not the realtor.. YOU demand whatever you want...

Good advise - the real estate agent is in business for his business to make money ASAP - that is in conflict with your goal of getting as much money for your house in your pocket. If you sell your house for 30,000 less than you could get the RE agent only looses $1,800 or 900 when splitting the commission.

You should research recent sales in your area from the tax assessors web site - not the posted price. You should prepare a spread sheet with your potential P&L

Gross Sale Price of house - Posting Price
- Negociated reduction
- Closing Costs (yours and if you are paying the buyers)
- Sales enticements
- RE agent commission
- Other costs
= Net Sales Price.
If you are in a good market you should be able to back into your Posting Price from your Net Sales Price.

You should never tell your RE agent what your lowest acceptable price is - they will "suggest" it to the buyer or their agent.

Be wary of a "ghost" buyer - the agent tries to find out your bottom line by saying there is a buyer giving a low ball bid and you should counter offer - Just say no.
I'm not a realtor, so I'm not sure what kind of return you could expect on your shop. Some buyers might not want a shop and might prefer more yard space for their kids to play. As for the garage, my realtor told me that in my area a single car attached garage adds about $5K compared with a carport, so the double garage could be responsible for some of the difference, too.

If two realtors were within $5K of each other, I would tend to view their opinions seriously. In a lot of areas, real estate is not selling well this year.

Given what you said, if you want to get out of there in six months I'd go with the higher of the two selling prices suggested to you by the realtors. The last thing you want to do is to price your house too high. If you do, and your property is on the market a long time without selling, it may be harder to sell.

In any event, good luck! Don't forget that once you get a buyer interested in the property you can start negotiating the details and possibly recoup a little in the process. Don't forget that having a house on the market a long time is expensive, too.
This state does not require a disclosure of sale price by either the buyer or seller, so sometimes the info is hard to come by. I also realize that for every dollar I leave on the table, it cost me $.95 and the agent $.05.

I spoke with the person who has been doing appraisals in this town for the last 25 years. He told me that due to the market being strong in this town and this price range, I should ask above what the realtor's suggested. He said that there just plain are no comps for this property. The overall market is too small.

His opinion was that with a few amenities to please the prospective female shopper, and the property has several, the shop would be a clincher for quite a few males. He said the shop was equal to a 3 car garage in value, and in this demographic, only single female shoppers would not appreciate the shop. We are mostly rednecks pretending to be high society.

I could not rent for what my mortgage payment is, so sitting here a little while longer is not going to hurt me. The thing I dread most is having to have the house clean every day.
Hopefully this discussion has helped you to figure out what you want to do! With a strong local market, and not minding if it takes a while to sell, and a third real estate professional who disagrees with the two you previously cited, it sounds like you have made your decision. :D
It always helps to have a few impartial folks to bounce things off of. I think I will up the realtor's listing price a bit, not as much as I would like, and then try and wrangle as much as I can out of any prospective buyers that show up.

I'm surprised no one mentioned the flat rate assist to sell realtors.

The flowers are starting to bloom, the roses will be on shortly, and the place is pretty well spruced up. I may get lucky. Thanks all.
Sounds like where I live...it's not the size of the house that matters, it's the size of the out-building!

I thought the only married people that bought houses were women. Men just came along for the ride. ;) The man-cave might get the husband excited but it could be a tough sell if the kitchen and bathrooms don't show well. My house is the perfect blend.....a three-car garage with a 12'x12' master walk-in closet.
This state does not require a disclosure of sale price by either the buyer or seller, so sometimes the info is hard to come by.
That's odd. You would think that once the sale has been recorded (and the taxes paid) that the sale price would be public info.

Our Sunday newspaper lists the address & price of every house in the state that's recorded in the previous week. It's clearly dumped from one computer into another and printed.

We also have plenty of assessment info (as well as square footage, permits, and other data) on the state's tax website.

You would think that every state would have a similar system...
You would think that every state would have a similar system...

There you go again, attempting to apply logic to a political system...

Kansas, New Mexico, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming do not offer sales price information as public records. These states consider real estate sales transactions as private contracts. Go figure.
In our city there are 20 listings/sellers for every buyer. Realtors are selective on listings the take because it costs them money to list/advertise. If they think a property is overprized they don't list.
Is your realtor willing to accept a higher listing price?
If the realtor does not want to take the listing, that is fine by me. I am not trying to sell the house so that the realtor can make a fast buck. I am trying to sell the house so that I may profit. I am planning on moving down the road about 35 miles, and even at today's prices I could drive there quite a few times on less than the 10K I think the realtors are off on the price.

I have gone through quite a few homes in the last few months, and darn few are in the shape, or have the amenities, this one is in. On top of that, I worked off a service truck in this town for about 30 years. I used to tell the kid's friends what color their house was if they told me the address. I have a pretty good idea of what is out there.

Additionally, both realtors I talked with openly admitted the comps they selected were not comparable and that the proferred listing prices were guesses at best. Had they been more exact, professional, and competent, I would not be second guessing them.

Maybe it is prejudice too, but the realtors seem to need their jobs and are at an age where had they been financially wise, they would not necessarily need their jobs. This transaction has all the elements of dealing with a financial advisor that is more interested in his/her new toy than my financial well being. This all ads up to my being okay if the realtor does not want to take my listing. It's the same way I would feel if some shyster FA turned me away.
Have you thought about trying a FSBO? That'll give you more room if you have to being the price down and it doesn't sound like they doing much to help anyway. Unless you feel that you're going to need to do some intensive stuff up front like weekly open houses, I'd probably try to sell it myself first.
That's odd. You would think that once the sale has been recorded (and the taxes paid) that the sale price would be public info.

Our Sunday newspaper lists the address & price of every house in the state that's recorded in the previous week. It's clearly dumped from one computer into another and printed. ...
Not here either. Sales prices are closely held and are generally hard to come by unless you are a realtor.

One other consideration for selling a home too high is the buyer's appraisal. If it comes in too low your deal may fall through as the buyer may not be able to get financing.
One of my concerns was the buyer's appraisal. That is why I talked with the local appraiser. He said it would appraise at the higher figure.

One of the benefits, and there are many drawbacks, to living a long time in a small town is that you gain a nodding relationship with many people. This town is small enough that when I went to see the appraiser, nobody was in the office, as he was out taking care of business. However, the door was open, and I went in and waited. After a bit, I decided to walk downtown and see the sights such as they may be. I returned to the appraiser's office about an hour to an hour and a half later and he had not returned.

Last summer I left for a few days. I closed the screen door, but locked nothing. The keys sit in the ignition of the car most days. In such an atmosphere, it is easy to ask someone their unofficial opinion and expect an honest answer.
I had an experience selling my last house (Oregon) that confirmed my view of many realtors -- that they are looking for a quick buck and could care less about the client. After firmly suggesting that I list my house at a lower price than I thought the house was worth, I insisted on setting the price ($20,000 higher than the realtor's number). My house sold at the higher listing price in 4 days so I expect it was still priced a little low. If you have a good feel for local values, set the price yourself (get another realtor if required). Now that I am retired, I will likely sell the next one myself.
I think you are going to have to find someone that wants your shop (takes up valuable space, blocks views, etc.) so you might as well try to recoup some of your investment. In the end, it will be the market that decides.

But I listed one place 20% higher than any place had sold in our neighborhood (many were bigger) and we sold it the day we listed it for our asking price! Reducing price is easy. Increasing it is costly.
A shop in the back yard is a unique feature to have, however, it's more like a hobby than a necessity. Just add whatever cost of the shop built to the house and go from there. Sometime it's extremely to let go of what you love, on the other hand, other people might see "what you love" as headache instead of treasure.

Maybe I will get lucky and find a plumber, electrican, or etc., that works out of a service truck from his home. Or a serious hobbiest, who knows, certainly not me.

Yesterday I went to an auction. The place was up for sale too. I was the third one to make an offer, and each offer was the asking price without dickering. I called the realtor and made an offer shortly after stopping. I'd say that place was underpriced by about 75K. It included 85 acres, two houses and two shops, a large barn in good condition and was fenced and cross fenced. In an area where bare land in 5 acre lots goes for about 10K per acre, this was priced at 305K. The land in larger parcels generally goes for about 5K per. A medium sized piece like this should have been about 6K per. The realtor did these people no favors.
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