Lack of Information & Objectivity

Not all Home Sellers misprice — or would if their Realtor didn’t convince them not to — but enough do that it begs the question: why?

From my perspective, it’s usually a combination of three factors (none of which involve vanity or ego).

One. Lack of information (about the Comp’s, or comparable sold properties).

A client of mine last year was adamant that his home was worth more than another on his block that had sold for $40,000 more than I recommended pricing his at.

So I asked him, “Did you see your neighbor’s updated Kitchen? The new master bathroom? All the new windows in the back of the house?

Answers: ‘no,’ ‘no,’ and ‘no’ — he’d never been inside. (Memo to fans of Trulia, Zillow, CyberHomes, etc.: they suffer from the same shortcomings.)

Two. Lack of objectivity.

This one especially comes up with homeowners who haven’t moved in a long time.

Anything you look at day after day — let alone year after year — gradually becomes . . . invisible.

Once upon a time, when I lived in Manhattan, I had a 35th floor apartment with sweeping views of upper Broadway and the Hudson (at least until a developer put up a new, 50 story building across the street).

Yet after a few months, the only time I really noticed it anymore was when guests would visit and be mesmerized by the view.
Or, after I’d been away for longer than a week and returned, the views once again registered for a few days, before turning back into wallpaper (albeit very attractive wallpaper).

The same phenomenon explains my initial meeting with a client a ways back, as we toured her home.

When we got to the master bedroom, I pointed out a conspicuous stain in the ceiling that I recommended fixing.

“What stain?” was her first, incredulous (and honest) response.

Then a second later: ‘Oh, that stain . . .’

(Sidebar: the one exception to becoming inured to one’s everyday environment: natural light. At least in my experience, you never get tired of natural light — or used to its absence.)

Three. Lack of information — about Buyer tastes, market trends, etc.

Another recent client of mine took umbrage at the (rather deafening) chorus of feedback all zeroing in on the home’s dated feel.

The windows, the carpet, the Kitchen counter tops, the color scheme, the home’s siding — and on and on.

The owner had spent good money periodically updating those things and keeping them in good repair, but after 30 years in their home, they simply weren’t able to relate to Buyers’ comments.

Which leaves it to a Realtor they trust to (gently) tell them — ideally, before they come on the market.
About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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