Stories From The Street – November 2015

The Seller Said “No” and it cost them $32,000…

This is an unfortunate story, where I didn’t stick to my guns and follow my own strategies for success. It was the winter of 2015. I had a client reach out to me. She was going to sell her house in Adamstown and move to Pennsylvania. I immediately told her about the process. We would start with Scientifically Staging, professional photos, and some maintenance on the house before we listed. Initially, she was onboard. I contacted Shari at Staged Above and brought her out for the consult and to game plan what furniture and accessories she would need; plus picking out colors to paint.

Shari provided a game plan for success.

The seller kept putting me off about bringing in staging. Now, this house was built in the mid-80s. It wasn’t really updated, could use some paint, and it didn’t have the grandeur or the nine-foot ceilings on the first floor. Things that you’d expect in a $420,000-$430,000 house.

I thought we could overcome that because of the location near 270, and the fact that houses of a similar sized just a few miles away would be selling in the mid-$500s, if not more. I was prepared to tackle the challenge and list this house. My suggested list price was $435,000, and in my heart – and I told the seller, I thought their home would sell for between $420,000 and $430,000.

However, when push came to shove the seller said, “No, you cannot bring any staging in. We will not paint the walls. We are not willing do the upgrades that you deem necessary to sell our house. We just want to bring the photographer in, spruce it up a little bit, and be done.” Typically in this situation, I’d tell the seller, “I’m sorry, I cannot work with you.” However, I liked these people. I thought I could help them out and, ultimately, I thought the house would sell, but not at the price that I initially thought, because they weren’t going to take the necessary steps for success.

Trust me, I understand that selling a house is a pain. It requires work from the sellers, from me, and from my entire team, but the results over the last three years since implementing the value-driven approach have been outstanding. I should have stuck to my guns on this house. However, I gave in and went with the seller, and I said, “Okay, we will try it.”

Here’s the unfortunate part of the story:

The sellers didn’t follow my advice and didn’t take the recommended advice. We did get the photos, and we had showings, but you know what?
People cannot envision themselves living in a vacant house with empty rooms. Therefore, they look at every small detail. There is no emotional attachment as buyers are walking through the home. Thus, when we can’t generate an emotional attachment to a home, the likelihood of selling for maximum value is never accomplished.

To make a long story short, we listed the house. We had an estimated 15 showings over two months. The seller kept requesting price reductions, so we kept doing price reductions.

Then, she asked me to cut my commission. This was not an option.

I invest my time and money in helping my sellers and should actually charge more. When I refused to discount my services she decided to go with somebody else. That’s all well and good, because she wasn’t complying with the strategies that have proven successful for so many. Guess what: that $420,000-$430,000 sale – I just looked in the MLS last week. It sold for $388,000.

So, is it worth it to not spend a little time and effort as well as a few dollars to get the $420,000 or to cut corners and get $388,000 – $32,000 less than the minimum anticipated sale price?

I should always stick to my guns, because the strategies that I use work.

Sellers have seen outstanding results, and we have wonderful feedback from our sellers on our strategies. As evidenced by what Patrick and Erin T said recently, “Eric was a consummate professional throughout our sales process and was the expert we needed to ensure the sale of our home was quickly completed. Being first time sellers and relocating out of the area during the sale of our home, we were very worried and scared that we would not be able to handle this process appropriately and burn additional resources. He provided the best strategy, kept us informed, and ultimately closed the deal in a very short time period.”

Opposite interaction with a different seller than above and the results are astounding. I just helped another couple sell who is going to settlement this week. When I met with them they wanted to push the envelope to price. They wanted to list for $450,000, I thought it was a $435,000 house. I told them that we could attempt $450k, but only if they followed the necessary steps and invested in the process. We had to have it Scientifically Staged. We gave them a check-list of about 20 items. They did every single item on the check-list. It looked great. This process took a month and a half, but when the final product was done, their home looked phenomenal, pictures were amazing, and the feedback the first weekend was super. We had four showings in the first four days, and the second showing that we had submitted a full price offer with closing help. The sellers were ecstatic and realized all their hard work paid off in their bottom line.

Do the strategies that we have for a value-driven approach where we help sellers increase the value – better said: increase the enhanced value of their property – work? Absolutely.

Are the results always record breaking for neighborhoods? Not always. But your home will be positioned for the best chance of success and maximizing your profits.

It’s unfortunate, but I did learn a lesson, and I think my sellers learned a lesson, too. The strategies that I use work. If the next seller will not follow the strategies and ask me to cut corners, I’m going to have to share this story and decline the listing.

I’ll talk to you next month. If you want a topic covered for Stories From The Street, feel free to e-mail me at