All that being said, in this instance I understood that we’d likely be asked to break protocol and postulate without completing a thorough diagnosis beforehand.
The homeowners were already knee deep into the selection process. They were building a new home with plans to move out of this one in a couple weeks' time. As the final candidate to arrive, I’d been informed that they had every intention to select a broker to work with, the following day.
Of course, I’d done my homework.
Last-minute appointment or not, you can bank on the fact that I’m going to come prepared. Even so, I invited him to “go first,” knowing that he already had a price in mind anyway. In the time it took for that number to fly out of his mouth, I knew he’d overshot the target.
Now, let me state for the record, we never assume that we know exactly what a home will sell for. No one does. You will never hear us guarantee a sale price — in writing or otherwise. Some agents will do it but that's not our standard operating procedure.
That said, over the past 15 years, I’ve honed pretty good intuition about where a property needs to be positioned to generate the type of response home sellers are looking for. I understand the dynamics of "perceived value."
Stated more simply, I know when something feels right and when it does not.
“I think your price is ambitious. Based on our brief tour and discussion, we have more work to do before I can give you an educated opinion of FINAL market value. However, based on my initial research, if I had to list your house today, I’d do so at $729,000 — with some potential for upward mobility once we’ve finished ‘running all of the tests.’”
Furthermore, I explained, “At that price, at my cost, and to your benefit, my plan would be to bring in a second agent to co-list the property with me. I have someone in mind, a member of another brokerage who knows the area well and who is backed by an equally strong marketing team. I’m confident, for this listing, we’ll make a pretty dynamic pair.”
He squinted back at me with a steeled expression, wheels turning.
I could tell he was thinking to himself, “This guy isn’t bullshitting, is he?” Nonetheless, he retorted with, “Well, the other two agents I’ve already had come through the house both quoted me prices that are more in line with what I am thinking.”
Furthermore, I could tell that neither of the two agents he was talking about had given any sort of mandate that work be done to the house prior to listing. It was going to be pretty much as "what you see is what you get" type listing. And at an inflated price, that's always a big concern.
He then segued into the next most common question, “What does your fee structure look like,” which led him to jut off into a story about a reduced commission agreement he had with a broker, when he used to live in California.
Imagine that, prospective listing agents over-committing on price and drastically under-cutting their worth. It’s about as predictable as the morning sunrise.