During our first face-to-face meeting, my buyer looked me straight in the eye and stated, “Val, I watch those Home Shows, and the REALTOR® always shows a house above the buyer’s price range.” Showing frustration, she asked, “Why do they do that?” Noticing that her guard was slightly elevated, I explained (for one), that’s the type of show it is. Second, oftentimes a buyer doesn’t realize the value of a property. A buyer thinks that the home of their dreams will be priced lower than the market currently asks for. It’s not that the Agent is trying to up-sell, most of the time we’re having to show a more realistic picture of the market.
FOR SALE (example): Green Acres home with 2500 square feet, tile floors in the island kitchen, new stainless steel appliances, wood floors in the living room, Jacuzzi tub in the owner’s bathroom, fireplace in the formal living room, vaulted ceiling in the formal dining room, four extra large bedrooms, backyard deck and patio, newer roof, newer A/C and a lot size close to 1/2 an acre… ALL FOR JUST $500 A MONTH!
WAIT. What? Are you serious? Shoot, if that was the case, we’d all submit offers! I don’t know what kind of market you live in (as you’re reading this), but I can almost bet that the house that fits that property description would sell for far more than $500 a month. Wouldn’t you agree?
SO, HERE’S WHAT HAPPENS…
A buyer creates a budget and a wish list. Let’s say a buyer wants a 2000 square foot home with three-bedrooms and a monthly payment of $900.00. Here in San Antonio, TX, a $900.00 monthly mortgage might be a home priced around $100,000 (depending on taxes, insurance, interest rate, etc…). And, just like the rest of us, the buyer wants to find the perfect, move-in ready home (no hammers required).
*APPLYING BRAKES* Let’s just stop right there. From experience (and from extensive market knowledge), I can tell you that a 2000 square foot home with three bedrooms, in pristine condition and priced at $100,000 would be hard (and maybe impossible) to find (in our market). If I find that size home priced at $100,000, it may need extensive repairs, or a garage might be converted, or it might not be in the buyer’s preferred area. In short, this is when “dreams” and “reality” separates.
NOTE: Out of curiosity, I just did a quick search for a 2000 square foot, three- bedroom home, in San Antonio, TX priced at $100,000 and there is only ONE for sale.
SO, WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
As a representative of any Buyer in a similar situation, I would have to explain that the home the buyer wants and/or needs may cost him/her more than he/she planned. Again, it’s not an up-sell. I’m not thinking about, “higher commission.” That is not ethical, and that is not how I conduct business. I think about the buyer’s needs, and I’ll show him/her how much he/she would have to spend to get exactly what he/she wants.
For this scenario, if I bump up the sales price by $10,000 to $110,000 (roughly $70 more a month), I now have 10 more homes I can show. (That is a true number. I just checked MLS.)
NOW, GOING BACK TO MY CLIENT WHO WATCHES HOME SHOWS…
When I explained how the “house” usually doesn’t match a buyer’s “budget,” my client still stood firm on her ground and instructed me NOT to show her houses over her budget. I agreed to her instructions, since she is my client. But I already knew, that the criteria would eventually change.
STEPPING OUTSIDE THE BOX…
When I work out game plans with my Buyer-clients, I try to prepare them for things to come. Almost every buyer (especially first-timers) will go through similar experiences during their buying process. The most common experience I witness is their first step out of their comfort zone. It’s when the light bulb goes on over their head… The ol’ “AHA” moment! After touring a few homes, my clients can walk into a house and get a real feel for it’s true value. That’s when they gain leverage and that’s when they know they’re ready to make an offer.
We all have a budget when we shop, it doesn’t matter what we’re shopping for. At some point; however, we’ll realize we might have to pay just a little bit more to get exactly what we want. And we’ll gladly pay it because it’s worth it to us.
SO, WHAT HAPPENED TO MY CLIENT?
After touring almost every house within her budget, she asked me to increase the search price. During the first round of tours with the new “budget,” we found the perfect home. And because she loved the house so much, she offered the seller just a little bit more to make sure she got it! Oh, and all of her closing costs will be paid, too!
Dream come true? Yes. To her it is, and that’s all that matters.
CASE CLOSED. 🙂