Thursday, July 18, 2013

Home Buyer Tips: What's the story on this property?

I had a buyer once who asked me the same question every time we entered a new property. "What's the story on this property?" 

This buyer wanted me to have the complete history of the listing with any price changes.  He wanted to know why the seller was selling.  He wanted me to know what the seller would take for the house.  He wanted me to tell him what was wrong with the house.

I will gather as much information as possible for the buyer.  I will even ask why the seller is selling although an answer may be difficult.  How much a seller will take is usually not disclosed.  My guess is the list price would be an acceptable price 

So where can a buyer gain insight into a listing's "story."

A good starting point is the days a property has been on the market.  This may provide some useful clues about the property like..
  • seller motivation.  If the price is higher than the others in the neighborhood and the price has not been lowered (or even a minimal drop), the seller is likely not interested in selling.  I saw one on the market in Rockledge yesterday. Over 165 days on the market, highest priced home in neighborhood.  
  • condition.  Price should be directly related to condition.  It should reflect real updates or upgrades. It should not reflect blind hope.  
  • location.  Within a neighborhood there are good locations and some that are less desirable.  It may be the only house that backs to the highway or some other less than ideal spot like the entry into the development.
Very often a listing's story is a short story.  Very often it is a long tale.

Perhaps the days on the market should be used like a book's dust jacket and tell you whether it is worth the "read."