I guess I’m not a “Yes” broker. Yesterday I said “No”to listing a luxury home in the South Bay of Los Angeles. At least for the time being. Don’t get me wrong this luxury listing agent loves to hang our real estate sign on the lawns of Los Angeles luxury homes.
As the broker-owner of a boutique real estate company I always strive to be open to new business opportunities, it’s just as important to know when and where to establish “no-go” boundaries. In this case the property’s view is a winner, the location is better than good (not quite great), but the prospective seller and I are mega dollars apart on value, and therefore we could not agree upon a list price. The honest, fair and best for all concerned outcome was for me to walk away without the listing. There was no way I could come close to fulfilling the seller’s expectations.
I think it’s wonderful when homeowners love everything about their residences. However, when it’s time to become a seller, reason and reality must enter the picture. It’s to no one’s advantage to over price a property. Buyers are too savvy to overpay, agents are reluctant to spend time and money on marketing an overpriced listing, and perhaps worst of all, the property will not sell. Everybody loses. The best luxury agents in every market will advise buyers not to overpay and sellers not to over price. You don’t need a miracle to sell your luxury home. The right price, coupled with the right preparation and marketing, will provide the desired result.
The real estate market of the moment dictates current value. Not the market that was, or the market that will be. Yes, someday this particular property may sell for the dream price in the seller’s mind, but not this day, month or even year. I suggested the owner “sit tight” and wait for the market to catch up to his price, or to review the recent comparable sales in his neighborhood, along with a few suggested improvements, and decide which route he wants to take.
This broker does not have a crystal ball. I can’t promise the market will soar or that it will plummet. The only value I can give a seller is one based on facts provided by statistics and knowledge of recent sales in the neighborhood. I can’t leapfrog over to the next neighborhood and pluck sales from another location or city to justify a desired price. The subjective value of a view (the variation in coastal views range from none to peek to panoramic) must always be considered as well as condition, size of both house and lot, but the kingpin of value remains location, location, location.
The best luxury listing agents will help you achieve the highest and best price for your property. Often, this will require the prospective seller to invest additional dollars in the property prior to placing it on the real estate market. The preparation of a property is paramount in achieving the highest price the market will bear. Deferred maintenance will almost always be reflected in the price. If your property is sporting a “Nordstrom” price tag and its appearance is more “Goodwill” expect turbulence when it comes to negotiating the price and repairs.
One of the most valuable contributions the best luxury agents make is to guide prospective sellers through the process of preparing a property for sale. Making the right improvements and marketing decisions can more than pay for the agent’s commission–often several times over. This is especially true if the seller lived in the property for many years. Fresh eyes intent on marketing a property will see it in an entirely different light than a homeowner who is emotionally attached to memories created during their occupancy. We tend to grow accustomed to quirks and flaws in our homes, but a new buyer may not be quite as quick to forgive peeling paint and carpet that has seen better days. Achieving a balance acceptable to both the seller and the buyer is the goal. If it’s too one-sided the entire transaction will fall apart.
Perhaps the most productive time prospective sellers will spend during the entire real estate process are those occasions when they meets with her real estate professional to discuss price and preparation. The rewards are ready to be reaped.
There’s no question moving is a monumental task, especially when it involves selling the long-time family residence and purchasing a replacement home. I certainly empathize with those embarking upon the journey as I moved many times during my corporate years. Planning and preparation can reduce the chaos–it’s still going to be challenging but with the help of a professional real estate team to rely on the multitude of tasks will be more manageable.
It’s okay to ask for help. Contact Charlemagne Int’l Properties for a no obligation consultation if you have questions about selling your Los Angeles area luxury home.
– Norma Toering, Broker at Charlemagne Intl Properties