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Dealing with an emotional seller

Posted by 1stHomeGa (My Page) on
Tue, Aug 14, 12 at 8:36

Hi everyone, my wife and I just submitted an offer on a house we love. The listing agent has told us and our agent that the seller is emotionally tied to the house and even has it listed too high- so both the seller and the listing agent agree it is listed for too much. We know the specific reasons but are not going to post them for privacy issues. Anyway our initial offer was obviously below asking price but after scrutinizing the CMA, overall condition of the house and items needing repair we do not feel it was unjustifiable.

I guess our question is how soon should we respond to her counter? She did come down a little bit but one of her reasons for not coming down too much (aside from the strong emotional situation she is going through) is that she did not want to deviate too much from her original list price- which was admittedly too high. The house has been on the market for almost 11 months now and she has only reduced price 1 time.

Should we come back now with another offer or wait a few days? A week? Feel free to contact me privately for more specific info.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Dealing with an emotional seller

Typically a counteroffer is submitted in writing and dictates how long you have to respond to that counteroffer.

There is nothing to prevent you from submitting a new offer after that time frame though.

Given the emotional seller, a few days is not going to change her mind. Let it sit at least a week, and even then she may not be motivated to come down to a realistic price, unless you are in a hurry or there is a possibility some one else will make an offer.


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RE: Dealing with an emotional seller

Thanks for the response. Her counter was given a 4pm deadline yesterday but we did not receive it until late last night. Her agent was out of town this weekend and unable to deliver it to us. Seller told our agent to disregard the date.
Apparently she has had 1 offer in the last 11 months and that fell through so people don't seem to be beating down her door to get in.
My gut tells me to wait as well so she can digest things.


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RE: Dealing with an emotional seller

It sounds like you have an emotional buyer too!! Do not overpay for the house. Haven't we learnt anything during the last 10 years in real estate!

Do you have an agent? Your agent should insist on presenting the offer with the seller present. Your agent should then show all the comps and explain how/why she and the buyers arrived at the price offered. Maybe your agent can do this for the counter. You can make the counter the same as your original offer or come up just a bit. After explaining the numbers, give the seller 48 hours to respond and state it is your final offer. Easy!!


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RE: Dealing with an emotional seller

"er counter was given a 4pm deadline yesterday but we did not receive it until late last night. Her agent was out of town this weekend and unable to deliver it to us. Seller told our agent to disregard the date. "

It is DOA.


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RE: Dealing with an emotional seller

Kenny Rogers said it all: "you gotta know when to hold 'em. know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away, when the dealins' done."

If what chispa says fails, it's your time to walk away.


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RE: Dealing with an emotional seller

I read a lot here about the "emotional seller" problem. but there's a mirror opposite: the "entitled buyer". I don't mean to be offensive but there's an attitude floating around that seems to be: sellers are screwed by the collapse of the bubble and any unwillingness to sell at a price - and other terms - that the buyer thinks is a good deal equates to a seller being "unrealistic."

Unrealistic in what way? Perhaps the seller places a higher value on the property than the buyer - for whatever reason the seller has in their mind. Perhaps the buyer holds an unrealistic view of what their money "ought to buy" in this market. Either way, if the parties can't come to an agreement, neither one is out of line. What happens is a deal for that property, at this time, with these parties will not take place.

No harm , no foul, just move on.

However, if a seller's agent is confiding to a buyer's agent that the seller has an unrealistic price position, then the seller's agent ought to be summarily fired.

Sheesh!

L.


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RE: Dealing with an emotional seller

Thanks for the input. I like the idea of having our agent present the offer with the seller present. We do love the house and would love to get it for a reasonable price but at this point it is a box with a roof that we are willing to walk away from if she chooses to be irrational.


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RE: Dealing with an emotional seller

My only thought is why do you love the house??? Location, space, schools, etc. To me it is hard to "love" something you have never lived it. Just my thoughts.


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RE: Dealing with an emotional seller

i sold a house at a loss last year and bought this year so see both sides. An unrealistic seller to me is one who wants a price that is not justified by comparable sales of similar homes in similar location. The seller is free to not want to sell for that price but is being unrealistic as to the fair market value of the home.

For the OP, what I have done in your situation is to try to negotiate a price that represents fair market value and walk away it is clear that the seller won't accept fair market value. So I would suggest responding with your best or close to best offer, perhaps attaching the comps you used and see what happens.


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RE: Dealing with an emotional seller

Having your agent or their agent sitting down showing them comps is not going to work with an emotional seller. If that was the fix, it would have been "fixed" over the last 11 months. You need to appeal to their emotions. Write a letter telling them why you love the house. Tell them about your family, etc. DO NOT TELL THEM YOU PLAN ON GUTTING THE HOUSE AND REMODELING. You want them to know that you will love the house as much as the they do but with the current home values, you feel this is fair compared to other homes you have viewed. Emotional sellers, are just that, emotional. Its not about the money, its about their ties to the house and their memories. No amount of money will be enough for them. Sometimes, it even helps if you can meet them.

Good Luck!


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RE: Dealing with an emotional seller

Having your agent or their agent sitting down showing them comps is not going to work with an emotional seller. If that was the fix, it would have been "fixed" over the last 11 months. You need to appeal to their emotions. Write a letter telling them why you love the house. Tell them about your family, etc. DO NOT TELL THEM YOU PLAN ON GUTTING THE HOUSE AND REMODELING. You want them to know that you will love the house as much as the they do but with the current home values, you feel this is fair compared to other homes you have viewed. Emotional sellers, are just that, emotional. Its not about the money, its about their ties to the house and their memories. No amount of money will be enough for them. Sometimes, it even helps if you can meet them.

Good Luck!


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RE: Dealing with an emotional seller

OP, when your agent provides your revised offer to the seller's agent, you may want to make it your "best & final" one. If you're dealing with an emotional seller, your time may be wasted. Even if she does accept the offer, it's possible the entire march to closing could be long and annoying one.


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RE: Dealing with an emotional seller

Lirio, there really can be irrational sellers, too. We just went through this as buyers. Our quite insane sellers had an idea in their heads of the value of the house that was so unrealistic it bordered on delusional (comps were selling at 340k - 360k, they were asking 500k). OP, I will warn you, it's true that even if you come to contract it might be a long and difficult process. Our house was worth it to us, but everyone needs to decide their own limit in advance.

We paid about 10k more than we should have, at 365k, but our entitled sellers were still so resentful at "losing" what they thought was their share of profit that they did petty annoying things like take a number of items from the house when they left. So if it comes to that, make sure you list every darned thing in the house you want that isn't nailed down, just in case.

One problem, as we found, might be your sellers' agent -- has her agent been unable to convince her to lower the price, or perhaps has promised her far more profit than is realistic? It seems that unrealistic sellers often hire unrealistic agents, and this does nobody any favors.


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RE: Dealing with an emotional seller

CircusPeanut, You got it. Though the seller does not seem quite as delusional as the one in your case the price is almost 20% higher.

I think it was another poster who was asking why we loved a house that we have not lived in. Thanks for trying to play psychologist but our opinions are our opinions. Why do many people buy a particular house? That is up to the buyer and for us we love the quirkiness of it, the location, the school systems and after walking through it a few times we just feel comfortable there. We are still seeing other houses but this is just at the top of the list as of now.

We think we're going to put in one more offer and then a final, best offer if our counter is not accepted.

If its works out we'll be elated. If not it is on to the next house.


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RE: Dealing with an emotional seller

I agree there can be "emotional" sellers who can't make up their minds, who sabotage and dither. They are pains to deal with - I know, I have BTDT!

But I guess my point is that every seller has a perfect right to want to any price in the world for a property. It doesn't matter if this price is completely unrelated to the whatever the market thinks the price ought to be. What I don't get is how incensed would-be buyers get when their price expectations aren't meant. I just don't think sellers have any obligation at all to sell at the "market price." They are free to put any value they want and the only party who has any right to feel agrieved is the poor RE agent, who may wish they'd declined the listing.

When we bought this farm the sellers had a firm idea what price they wanted. It almost certainly didn't match what the market would have said it was worth - it was about 10-15% higher than market. Still, they owned it free and clear, were under no pressure to sell, and didn't have to meet anyone's price expectations because it was worth that much to them.

We on the other hand, for completely different reasons, also put a higher-than-market value on this particular property so we paid over the odds and have never regretted it.

This transaction taught me the fundamental fact of real estate valuations: in the end it's what the particular sellers and buyers agree the property is worth and not a penny more, or less.

It's foolish to take umbrage when someone wants more than you want to pay for a property. And trying to badger them into accepting that their price is "unrealistic" (by market standards) is a waste of time. Few sellers don't clearly understand that they can close a deal by reducing the price. If they choose not to do so don't take it personally, just move on if the property is not worth that much to you.

L.


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RE: Dealing with an emotional seller

Lirio, I think what you are missing is that the market value is a 2-way process. So, in your example of the purchase of your home you didn't pay over market value--by your willingness to pay you established that value!

Your umbrage at buyers is unfounded. Of course a seller has the 'right' to set a price at whatever s/he wishes. And then buyers have the 'right' to respond that it's ridiculous, and refuse to pay it when the price is unrealistically high and they can get the equivalent product for less (which is the case in real estate shopping as in much of life).

I have the right to bang my own head against the wall repeatedly. It doesn't mean I am not going to get a headache. Someone asking too high price for their house will just live with the headache of an unsold house. As the doggerel goes, don't hate the player, hate the game.


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RE: Dealing with an emotional seller

Having spent almost a year looking at houses, I totally agree with runninginplace. A seller can list their house at any price they choose, but as the buyer, you set the value.

We looked at two houses we liked and made offers on. One house had been listed almost 3 years with no price reduction. The other house was listed for two years with one price reduction after a year. We did not want to offer on either house as our offer would be so much lower than list price. Our Realtor insisted we make the offers as she would back the offer up with comps and our private appraisal.

As we were paying cash, the sellers knew we intended to have the house appraised and would not pay more than that amount.

We made our offer, one seller came down less than 1%, the other seller would not drop the price at all. We realized the sellers loved their homes, put a lot of themselves into the home and could not consider moving unless they found someone who felt the way they did about the house.

Both homes were owned by single women (I don't know if that had anything to do with anything) who put so much of themselves into their homes. We completely understood their unwillingness to negotiate. We couldn't change the way they viewed their homes and we moved on.

Those houses are still listed for sale.

Jane


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RE: Dealing with an emotional seller

Well, I guess we'll have to disagree on the terms.

I think sellers can be incorrectly priced (from the market perspective) without being categorized as "emotional." They may have very un-emotional reasons for their price, unrealistic though it may be.

It's often first-time buyers who seem to get exasperated and offended when they encounter one of these situations. More experienced buyers know what they are willing to pay and aren't so personally affronted.

And sellers who are correctly priced (by market terms) can be as emotional as hell; willfully disrupting the process, dealing falsely in other details and making everyone waish they had never signed the contract.

I also disagree that our decision to pay a higher-than-market-value price for our farm re-set the market value in any way. Our reasons were entirely personal and likely no one else would have considered them a valid reason to pay more.

Perhaps because this is a large farm and each farm is a more singular property than typical residential real estate transactions. Farmland is usually valued on its production capacity per acre, availability of irrigation supply and on the utility of the existing farm buildings. The house(s) may or may not come into the equation. Sometimes, the subdivision value is a factor if there is strong development presssure. The market value of our property would have been based on these largely agricultural matters. The seller put an added value on the place for another reason, one which wouldn't have moved us to pay a dime over the odds.

However, in our case we were looking for still another highly unusual use and we also discovered that the farm had been settled by my husband's ancestors in the 1700's. As they are buried here this was very important to us - irreplacable in fact - so we were determined to buy their gravesites. That factor, however, would not increase the market value one cent.

L.


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RE: Dealing with an emotional seller

"I also disagree that our decision to pay a higher-than-market-value price for our farm re-set the market value in any way. Our reasons were entirely personal and likely no one else would have considered them a valid reason to pay more. "

As a wiling buyer you paid a willing seller a price.

That price will be used to estimate the value of surrounding properties.

The appraiser will not be privy to your personal reasons.

It is one of the risks of appraising and lending, and the reason lenders prefer buyers with more 'skin in the game' over those with less.


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