First time home seller looking for advice

acheavacciFebruary 21, 2013

We are first time home sellers so this process is very new and sometimes overwhelming. Our house is eleven years old and on the market for 18 days at $247,900. It is a three bedroom 2.5 bath center entrance colonial in a very nice neighborhood with a good school system. Similar homes, with the same sq footage but some have four beds 2.5 baths, have sold at $242,900, 247,250 $240,000 and $187,900(foreclosure) within the last six months just in our development. And, $246,900 $245,900 and $241,500 just this past week all within two miles of our house. We know that a new roof is needed but did not have a chance to fix due to the weather. We have three estimates all within $200 of each other to replace and are willing to replace.

So now we have an offer for $227,000 plus seller concession for $5,000 and to fix the roof complete tear off with 30 year Architectural shingles. I believe that this is too low and would like to counter. Should I insist our REA meet with us at our house? I get the feeling that he wants to do this over the phone, but I do not feel comfortable without seeing the contract. Is this standard practice? I would also like to ask if the buyers submitted a deposit, and if they attached comps to justify the offer. Are there any other questions that I should ask?

Thanks in advance.

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It's completely appropriate to request an in-person meeting with your agent if that's what you're comfortable with. It can be done over the phone, but there's no rule that says it must be thus. You're the customer, and it sounds like you want to be able to ask lots of questions, get advice, toss things around, etc.

Do be careful about disclosing too much to your agent about how low you're willing to go, as that could get passed along or hinted to the buyer. You could ask advice, then excuse yourselves to another room to discuss, then come back and tell your agent what you want to counter with.

You could also ask if they submitted a bank letter showing they could borrow sufficient funds.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 5:21PM
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I don't know what state you're in, but some things strike me as wrong. Your agent should provide you with a copy of the offer/contract immediately. I can envision a few circumstances when he might not be able to email it to you right away, but it should be done asap. It's not too difficult these days to email an offer to some one. Doing this over the phone might be okay, BUT it sounds as if you, rightfully so, have a lot of questions.

I agree, based on the comps, the offer is low. Essentially it's for 222,000 plus a new roof.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 6:05PM
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If that's the first offer this buyer has made, they DON'T expect to buy the house for that. It's an offer--and if you agree to it, you're going to have some VERY surprised buyers, I think. They're expecting to get the house for something between their offer and your asking price.

I wasn't really interested in doing a lot of back and forth when we sold our house last spring, so when we got an offer that was a little lower than we'd planned to sell, I just divided the difference, told my agent that was our bottom line--and the buyers jumped at the deal. Your numbers? $235,000-240,000, with you picking up the $5000 allowance would seem very reasonable.

As to your agent? Absolutely, ask him over to sit down with you. While we did have a lot of back and forth via e-mails and phone, our agent was right over when we felt we needed a face-to-face (well, he did live just on the other side of our back fence--LOL--and was past the house daily walking his dog, anyway).

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 7:00PM
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You already said that you were going to repair the roof. So don't worry about that part of it. But, you should use the roof repair as leverage... never give anything up unless you get something in return, or at least try. The buyers do not know that you are willing to do the repair, so use it to get something that you want... probably a higher price.
Your list price is $248,000. They are at $228,000 minus the $5000 closing costs. if you both give in the same amount, ($12,500) you end up at a net of $235,500. Is this acceptable to you? If so, then it should be an easy negotiation. If you need more, than you and your agent need to negotiate harder. (Use that roof replacement as leverage)
If your agent did his homework and educated you thoroughly, you should already have the comps in hand from when he listed the place... it's only been 18 days. Doesn't matter what the buyer throws at you. In fact, you can throw those above comps at them sometime during the negotiations.
Most of the time, I call my seller after I have emailed them the offer. We then go through the offer term by term, over the phone.
Congrats on an offer so quick and good luck.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 7:42PM
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OP here. Thanks for the quick replies and advice. We countered with $246000 + $5000 concession and we would repair the roof with our choice of the GFA (?) certified roofers from the estimates we received. Our REA thought it would be best to include the roof. Hopefully we can come close to what we want. He indicated that this could be a lengthly process because he feels that they are a nickel and dime buyer. Maybe karma will be on our side and we will get multiple offers:) It seems like houses in our price range are sold within 30 days or on the market for 100+.

How much information should we give our REA when it comes to what we will settle for. If he is working for us, will he really disclose our information to the buyers REA? It seems like this business can be very cutthroat.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 8:07PM
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Your agent should always email you any offers received at a minimum. I don't usually need a face to face meeting but I can see a first time seller might.

If this sale doesn't go through, if I was you, I would go ahead and do the roof repair now since I think that would make your house more attractive to buyers.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 10:16PM
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Kat: OP said they can't do the roof repairs right now due to weather.

Don't disclose your bottom dollar to your agent. They may not hand the number directly to the other agent, but they can hint around about stuff without technically disclosing.

Your agent should share the comps you used with the buyer's agent to help convince the buyer their offer is too low.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 8:08AM
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