Posted By Alan Donald @ Jan 30th 2011 10:53pm In: Home Marketing


Home PuzzleWhy would we say such thing? After all, aren’t all Realtors supposed to list whatever they can, whenever they can?  

You see, we believe that transactions must be Win-Win for all the parties involved. If we list your home and are not able to sell it, you will still have your home to sell, we all wasted a few months, our relationship with you suffers, and our reputation as professional, effective agents may take a hit. This is a lousy long-term business strategy!

Professional, effective and efficient Realtors must be very careful about which homes they choose to carry in their inventory. After all, their objective should be to SELL the home, not just to list it!

We are in the business of exceeding clients' expectations. If we have a strong feeling that we cannot exceed your expectations, we believe it is best for everyone to tell you upfront.

Here are some key reasons why we our team would choose NOT to list your home. 

10. LUKEWARM SELLER MOTIVATION - If you are thinking about “testing the waters” and don’t have a strong motivation to sell, this is not the time to try selling! Selling in this market only works for very motivated sellers, who really want (or must) sell and are willing to go the extra mile to achieve the sale.

9. UNREALISTIC PRICE EXPECTATIONS – Unfortunately this is one of the most common reasons why homes don’t sell. The market is what it is and neither you nor us have any control over it (it’s the same with the stock market!). The fact that your next door neighbor sold his home for $400,000 four years ago has nothing to do with the current value of your home. Sellers must price their home using two factors: a) recent (last 3 months) comparable sales (30% weight) – to make sure that you will not have troubles with an appraisal and; b) similar competing homes on the market (70% weight) to make sure you provide high perceived value to active buyers. Everything else is theoretical.

8. POOR CONDITION – A fact of this market is that homes need to either be in tip-top condition, or else a bargain! To get a fair market price, homeowners need to take care of all deferred maintenance, paint (interior and exterior) and re-carpet if needed, spruce up the yard, de-clutter and de-personalize their home, and stage it for showings. If you are not willing to do all this, or list at a price substantially below similar comparable homes, we may not take the listing because we know it will not sell and we don’t want to create false expectations that ultimately will disappoint you.

7. WIN-LOSE ATTITUDE – We have seen transactions that fell through because one of the parties attempts to ”take advantage” of the other party by constantly pushing and cajoling for never-ending concessions, changes and demands. We believe that a real estate transaction must be a win-win for all the parties involved, and although parties are expected to concede, they must come to a mutually satisfactory (if not ideal) agreement in a respectful and fair manner. If you are one of those people who MUST WIN EVERY TIME AND AT ANY COST, regardless of the situation, disregarding your prior commitments or who gets hurt, we may choose not to represent you.

6. UNREALISTIC TIMING – Some homeowners believe that you can still sell a home in a month AND get top dollar for it. In the “boom” time of 2004-2006, this was indeed possible. Today, the speed for a sale depends in the PERCEIVED VALUE that the listing presents to active and able buyers. If their particular neighborhood has 12 months’ inventory (which means that from every 12 yard signs you see, only ONE will sell next month at the current rate of sales) and their home is in the “middle of the pack” in terms of value (i.e. price vs. quality), it is very probable that it may take 6+ months to sell. If on the contrary, they price their home at the top of the list (best value), it is conceivable to sell in the next 30 days.

5. UPSIDE DOWN, AND UNWILLING TO DO A SHORT SALE – given that home prices in the Charleston metro market have lost about 25-35% from their peak in 2006, many homeowners find themselves in a “negative equity” situation, where they owe the bank more than they can get for their home in the current market. If the homeowner does not have the cash to “top up” any deficit, and they have explored alternatives like re-financing, loan modification and deed-en-lieu, they must be willing to explore a short sale with the lender. A short sale will have a negative effect on the mortgagor’s credit and it is a long, frustrating experience that requires a lot of patience and tenacity. If the homeowners are not willing to go through this “grinder”, then a short sale is not going to happen.

4. DISAGREEMENTS BETWEEN THE OWNERS – If there are serious disagreements between the owners (as is common in the case of a divorce), we will explore the nature of these disagreements and how they may affect the marketing of the home before we choose to take on the listing.  Unless there is clear direction from all parties regarding the sale of the home, placing it on the market and trying to negotiate an offer will only exacerbate those differences.

3. UNWILLING OR UNABLE TO DO WHAT IS NEEDED –  Homeowners (especially those who are in distress because of personal reasons) are in a state of “paralysis” that makes them not want or be able to fix deferred maintenance items, stage the home of shape up the yard. In this competitive “buyer’s market” homeowners must be willing to do their part and present the home in the best condition.  The moment they decide to place the home on the market they must realize they are in a beauty contest, whether they like it or not. This means making their home look like a model home for the duration of the listing period, and getting out whenever there are showings.

2. TOO LATE IN THE GAME – Sometimes clients call us when the lender is already about to foreclose on their home in a couple of weeks. Unfortunately at that late stage in the process, there is very little we can do to help them out, since there is no time to try a short sale.

1. BETTER ALTERNATIVES TO SOLVE THE “HOUSE PROBLEM” – We have often advised our clients against selling their home - because they may have better alternatives at their disposal to solve the “house problem” and move on with their lives. Alternatives may include renting it out for a few years, working out a loan modification or a “deed-en-lieu” with the lender, or doing a quitclaim deed in favor of one of the owners. 

Alan Donald Real Estate Team

The Alan Donald Real Estate Team provides full-time, professional residential real estate services to buyers, sellers and investors. If you have any questions or want to arrange an appointment with us, please call us at (843) 416-1434 or contact us by email

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