Sold Story – Behind The Scenes Negotiations
Are you thinking of selling your La Crescenta home and wonder what is in store? Here is one family’s journey from dream to moving day. We’ll take you behind the scenes – the questions, the choices and the multiple offer negotiations. Experience matters because your hopes and dreams of the future are on the line.
Angela and Neil Are Living A Dream.
They are selling their La Crescenta home and moving to The Pacific Northwest with their best friends. They will live in a big, brand new home right next their friends big, brand new home and their children will grow up in one big family.
This particular dream had a LOT of moving parts. Two families needed to sell their homes, identify and buy two new homes and coordinate budget, school, job and relocation logistics.
They needed an expert to help them navigate everything smoothly.
Preparing For The Dream
It started with an almost casual joke – “we should sell here and buy big homes next to each other in the pacific Northwest.“ Both families wanted a different life – more time and less pressure. They wanted to raise both families together, as a village.
Over the next two years they started to ask serious questions of themselves. What about jobs? How would our lives be different? Why would they be different? Can we make that difference here, without uprooting our lives?
Next they thought through logistics. Where will we locate? When is the best time to sell our La Crescenta homes? What will it cost to buy? What can we get when we sell? What resources do we have to get answers?
Angela and Neil were DIGGS Tribe before there was a DIGGS. They knew they could count on me for blunt truth and advice on even the smallest things.
When Do You Call The Realtor?
Calling the Realtor – even someone you trust – is hard. It means sharing your huge, audacious goal with another person! No matter how much you trust them… it’s scary. Angela and Neil did the scary thing and reached out for my advice and guidance way in advance. They knew selling their home would take work and preparation.
Here are some of the big things I helped them assess:
- Price trends – what direction are they trending?
- Buyer/Seller market, who is in control and by how much?
- Critical maintenance and upgrade issues that caused problems in my transactions
- Staging and presentation trends
- Seasonal timing issues – when is the best time to list?
Find The Date and Work Backwards
Angela and Neil and their friends found the perfect new home development in Washington and placed a deposit. A huge piece of the puzzle fell into place – the date the new home would be ready to occupy.
The first question – get their homes on the market during the Home Buying Season and move to an apartment or sell the homes later in the year and move straight into the new home? It was a hard decision because every choice seemed terrible. Selling now meant living in an apartment and moving twice. Waiting meant biting their nails and hoping the market didn’t change for the worse.
Together we worked through the pros and cons of waiting or getting on the market right away. I’ve been through several boom/bust cycles. They leaned on my experience to make some tough decisions.
They decided to sell as soon as they were ready. The cost of the known was preferred over the convenience (but risk) of waiting.
Preparing For Market
Neil really hates surprises. So we did all the pre-sale inspections. General home inspection. Sewer scope. Termite Inspection. No surprises, and Neil even fixed a few things found along the way.
Then I got my stager/designer onto a Zoom call with Neil and Angela. In person visits were a real concern during coronavirus! My designer went through each room and suggested furniture editing, color suggestions, accessory suggestions and decluttering advice. Angela later admitted that she thought some of the ideas were silly – even terrible…. but then after she did them she was AMAZED.
One suggestion that caused heart ache was painting their daughter’s beloved purple walls back to white, but it made a huge difference! Another suggestion that Angela resisted was dressing her bed with white bedclothes and then laying a strong coverlet on the foot of the bed. Once it was done Angela admitted it looked pretty cool.
Another huge part of the preparation was decluttering. Their home is not large and every single inch was filled with their stuff. The Symes made a big decision to pack up a POD and send it up to Washington months ahead of schedule.
Neil and Angela put in a ton of work, their lives were upended and they made a lot of sacrifices… but they knew it would pay off.
Bonus Read: 30 Day Guide To Prepare Your Home For Sale
Setting The Price
Did I mention that we sold the Symes’s home during a global pandemic? It was incredibly difficult to sell in the months prior to listing, so comparable sales were hard to find. We knew there was strong demand for homes like theirs, and Angela and Neil trusted me. They knew I would give them transparency and control. I would give them all the options and they would make all the decisions.
They choose a list price that was just a little south of what they hoped to get…. but we all hemmed and hawed in the weeks before launch. Was the price too low? Should we raise it up? Home pricing is always more of an art than a science. We can analyze the price range a home needs to occupy, but the final list price is always a gut decision.
Marketing and Showing During Coronavirus
The Symes are very careful about the coronavirus and needed a careful, well planned strategy for showing the home while staying safe.
- I attended every showing to keep a watchful eye on that was touched and to enforce mask policy.
- We grouped showings in 2 or 3 hour blocks, each appointment was 15 minutes
- We created a weekend time period for un-represented buyers to view the home
- Each party followed CDC and CAR guidelines.
We produced detailed digital marketing to get buyers excited and motivated to jump through all the necessary hoops – we had 3D imaging of the interior, floor plan with room measurements, on-demand disclosures and reports, virtual walk throughs and video walk throughs and virtual Q and A sessions.
The Symes were flooded with appointment requests within 5 minutes of launch!
Multiple Offer Negotiations – Behind The Scenes
15 eager and excited La Crescenta home buyers submitted offers. The lowest offer was at the list price and the highest offer was quite a bit beyond expectations. Actually, several offers exceeded expectations!
When a buyer submits a truly outstanding offer… do you try to fish for more?
Neil and Angela decided to accept the high offer without countering any other buyer. While this may seem odd to you, Dear Reader, I can tell you this is becoming common. Home sellers are just as overwhelmed and stressed as home buyers. Many see the “bird in the hand” preferable to another round of negotiations.
And Then A Terrible Thing Happened
The buyer lost their job. It was a COVID thing, but it was utterly unexpected. The buyers were shocked and spent several days saying and doing things that made no sense. They asked for a huge repair credit (HUGE), they delayed, made excuses, then went radio silent. After too many days, they cancelled.
Dear Reader, you must be wondering why the buyers didn’t cancel the moment they lost their job. But nothing is obvious in a pandemic and the buyer needed time to process the shock. They were likely too consumed with their own stress to see how their actions were damaging my home sellers.
The next best buyer had already moved on and bought another home. The third buyer was $20,000 lower than the best buyer, but still well beyond the Symes’s expectations.
I laid out all their options. They could issue a multiple counter to all the other offers they had received, put the home back on the open market or accept the terms of the third best buyer. There were few other La Crescenta homes for sale so the Symes could really do anything.
Again, the sellers choose “the bird in the hand” and accepted the third best buyer. They knew many of the original offers received might give a higher price if given the chance, but they didn’t want to go throu
gh the process. Does this surprise you? It happens more often than you might think. The fear of loss is far stronger than the prospect of gaining a few more bucks in another round of negotiations.
The New Escrow Was Smooth
The new buyers were delightful. Their agent was smooth and professional. He did an outstanding job preparing his buyers for each step of the way. As a result the buyers had a wonderful buying experience and everyone walked away feeling happy and respected. A great buyer’s agent is invaluable.
The Symes did everything they could to make sure the new owners of their home started out right.
Happily Ever After
It is ridiculously hard to say good bye to the only home you’ve ever known.
Everyone talks about the inconvenience and stress of selling a home. No one really talks about the soft gooey emotional stress of changing the connections and patterns that have to change with a move.
You can feel sad and disjointed even if the end goal is joyful and happy.
The Symes are unfailing members of the DIGGS Tribe. They cheer me on, participate in my wild ideas and validate my idealistic concepts of what residential real estate should be for every home buyer and home seller. I feel sad and disjointed that they are no longer in La Crescenta.
Even if I also feel joyful and happy for their new life.