“Some Day, Son, This Will All Be Yours”

It’s a given that, in a market of some 20,000-plus Twin Cities home sellers at the moment, some are more motivated than others.

Which ones?

You can usually tell by how well each home is priced, staged, marketed, etc.

But there’s another, surefire way to know that a Seller is . . . shall we say . . “motivated”:

They’ll come right out and tell you.

Whispering vs. Shouting

Not on MLS, mind you.

In my experience, the listings that scream the loudest how motivated the Sellers are –“Must Sell!,” “Make an Offer!,” blah blah — are usually anything but.

Oh . . . and they’re usually not such bargains, either.

The tactic recalls one of my favorite New Yorker cartoons, which shows a father and son standing in front of storefront window plastered with signs blaring “Going Out of Business!,” “90% Off!!,” “Must Liquidate,” etc.

In the caption, the father says to the boy, “some day, son, this will all be yours.”


No, the more sophisticated way to telegraph Seller motivation is one-on-one — Listing Agent to Buyer’s Agent — and then only at the appropriate time.

When’s that?

At least in my opinion, only after there’s a first showing, and it’s gone reasonably well.

Once there’s some expression of interest from the Buyer . . . there’s actually something to work with.

If you want another analogy, think of initiating a deal as like starting a fire –before you can fan any flames, first there have to be a few sparks.

Not only is that strategy more effective, it’s also more discrete, and avoids attracting the bottom feeders and sharks that come out of the woodwork when the listing blares motivation.

Context, Context

It’s also the case that putting extreme Seller motivation out there more publicly — and indiscriminately — can come across as looking desperate, and turn off serious Buyers.

Of course, a great many listed homes whose agents are quietly whispering to Buyers’ agents that the Seller is “ready to make a deal” are simply overpriced.

When that’s the case, the best way to sell the home isn’t brilliant negotiation or some other sales or marketing strategy.

Rather, it’s to drop the price (surprise, surprise).

P.S.:  One other scenario when the listing agent’s screaming for a deal?

The listing’s about to expire.

In other words, the Seller may not be motivated . . . but the listing agent sure is!

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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