Real NEastate: Irrational sellers

Q: I recently made two offers on two separate houses, and both times the sellers ended up wanting more than what they were even asking. In the first case, the seller apparently made improvements to the property after she listed it and when she finally got my full price offer, declined and raised the price. And in the second case the seller said OK to the amount I offered verbally through my agent, but when it came time to sign, he changed his mind and wanted more. Is this normal? And will I ever find someone to sell me their house?

A: From my experience, that is truly unusual and borderline ridiculous. There obviously are some sellers that have forgotten right now it is still a buyer’s market in Philadelphia, and it looks like you’ve stumbled upon two of them, which is unfortunate.

Here are a couple lessons from this for would-be sellers:

  1. The buyer won’t go higher. If you list your home for sale for a certain price, don’t expect any offers for more.
  2. Repeat lesson #1. Even if you decided to do renovations after you put it on the market, then by all means, raise the price if you dare, but don’t expect higher offers.
  3. Put up or shut up. If you’ve verbally agreed to a certain price with a buyer then the buyer now knows your bottom line and won’t likely pay more.
  4. You’re either in or you’re out. The homes that are priced the best will sell and may even receive multiple offers, which may even encourage an offer above the sale price. The homes that are priced above the market will sit.

There are plenty of homes for sale in Philadelphia, as there are more sellers than buyers. And even though the Northeast is doing better than the rest of the city with regards to pending home sales, it’s still a buyer’s market for now.

Everything happens for a reason, so no doubt you’ll find the house where you were meant to live. I hope the next seller whose home you want to purchase is as motivated to sell as you are to buy.

Good Luck!

Stacey McCarthy is a real estate agent with the McCarthy Group of Keller Williams. Her Real NEastate column appears every Wednesday on NEastPhilly.com. See others here. Read other NEast Philly columns here.

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