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Missing Buyers’ Expectations

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Posted On: 08/27/2014

Question: We listed our home for sale with a local broker and during the first week he placed the property in the MLS and has shown it several times. That’s the good news. The bad news is that buyers have complained about the paint even though we don’t currently live in the property and it recently was spruced up by professional painter. Also, one buyer was “disappointed” because the property did not have marble counter tops in the kitchen. We’re depressed. What can we do?

Answer: You have nothing to be depressed about. Your broker has taken a number of steps to promote the property and has already gotten some interest. That’s a good sign.

You should ask your broker for the typical number of days a home remains on the market in your community. Nationwide, according to the National Association of Realtors, existing homes in May were on the market for 47 days before receiving an offer. However, markets vary enormously, and what’s “usual” for your market might be very different.

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Now let’s talk about the buyers.

Selling a home is a dance of sorts where we have buyers and sellers each trying to extract the most advantages from the marketplace. One would fully expect buyers to moan and complain at every turn in an effort to shore up their bargaining position. This is not to say that some complaints do not have a factual reality, but merely to point out that part of the bargaining process involves an assortment of buyer grievances and objections designed to whittle away the seller’s valuation of the home.

You have complaints about the paint. You also have an empty house where defects are more visible. If the home were occupied and fully furnished there’s no doubt that a lot of paint dings could not be seen and would not be a matter of contention. You can bet that when the new buyers move in their furniture will hide such alleged imperfections, and once hidden they likely will not bother with the cost of painting things, which will never be seen.

As to the purchaser who was disappointed because you do not have marble counter tops in the kitchen, you can safely ignore such complaints. If the buyer was seriously interested in the property and capable of making an offer he or she would’ve said, “Hey, we’ll take the house if the owner will give us a 2-percent seller contribution.” In other words, the buyer could offer to purchase the house in exchange for a credit from the owner at settlement equal to 2 percent of the sale price. The buyer could then use this credit to fix up the house as they want or for other purposes. For details regarding seller contributions as a bargaining chip speak with your broker.

Peter G. Miller is the author of The Common-Sense Mortgage and a veteran real estate columnist. Have a question? Please write to peter@ctwfeatures.com.

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