How To Know When The Home Seller Isn’t Serious About Selling

Xavier De Buck
Published on August 3, 2016

How To Know When The Home Seller Isn’t Serious About Selling

How To Know When The Home Seller Isn’t Serious About Selling

serious about selling home

How To Know When The Home Seller Isn’t Serious About Selling?

At what point does a real estate agent realize that the home seller isn’t serious about selling his home?

Following a valuation done earlier in the year, the agent persistently followed up with this homeowner for many months, and he now finally managed to get a listing mandate signed!

All good and well, right?

Not quite!

Little does the agent know that this homeowner-turned-home seller still hasn’t completely made up his mind whether selling his home is the right thing to do, and therefore isn’t really serious about selling his property!

There could be many reasons as to why someone isn’t serious about selling one’s home, no?

And while we could come up with a lot of valid excuses as to why, this article will cover 5 major clues that a home seller isn’t serious about selling his home.

Here’s the quick overview:

Check out below in further detail how these 5 major clues can be detected:

Clue #1 — Unrealistic asking price

The homeowner did all the necessary research on how to go about establishing the correct listing price.

Interviewing real estate agents was high on this homeowner’s to-do list prior to initiating marketing of his property.

Instead of blindly hiring the first real estate agent he ran into, he decided to do it the correct way, where he could:

  • take his time in talking to a number of real estate agents and assess whether the respective agents were up for the job at hand;
  • get a good sense what the real estate agents believe the local real estate market to be doing;
  • put forward any unanswered questions related to the home selling process to more than one real estate agent;
  • and last but not least, get a Comparable Market Analysis (CMA) from each of the real estate agents being interviewed.

Despite having received CMA’s, which were in in-line with one another (implying that the real estate agents in the area seem to all be glued up on what the market is currently doing), the homeowner insists on listing the property at a 20% premium!

“My house is sooo much better than the neighbours, so I’m not going to give it away!”

Even though correctly-priced properties are selling in no-time, irrespective of the prevailing market conditions, this home seller thinks (hopes? prays?) to fetch a much higher price than the comparable houses nearby.

“Let’s test the market and see if we can get anyone interested in this house at that price!”

Whichever real estate agent this home seller ends up hiring will be told to use the home seller’s suggested listing price.

And it wouldn’t be the first time (and definitely won’t be the last time) that real estate agents take on overpriced properties.

After all, isn’t that one of real estate’s dirty little secrets?

If the home seller were sincere in wanting to sell his property (getting so many similar CMA’s was an obvious clue), he would be very foolish ignoring the real estate agents’ recommendations regarding his initial asking price!

Perhaps the home seller’s reasons for selling aren’t the right ones?

[Related article: 10 Telltale Signs A Home Is Overpriced]

Clue #2 — Property listing activity is like a stoplight

serious about selling house

This property has been on/off so many times! Is this home seller serious about selling or what?!

So, the home seller has finally signed the mandate.

The real estate agent made all the necessary arrangements to have his professional photographer come through.

Given the real relative high price level and photogenic nature of the property, he agent even considers getting drone and video taken!

Excited with his new listing, the real estate agent hurries up in getting all of his initial marketing kickstarted.

Then, in some kind of panic, the home seller calls the agent and tells him that he’s not sure whether putting his property on the market at this time wouldn’t be too premature!

“What if it sells in a few days; what am I going to do next?”

The real estate agent managed to calm the home seller down and all marketing materials get taken care of.

After proudly presenting his marketing brochures to the home seller, he goes live with the listing.

Within hours of going onto the market, the real estate agent calls the home seller, asking when would be a good time to take all these interested buyers through.

The initial fear the home seller had now resurfaces and he asks the agent to now put all marketing activity on hold until the following week.

He can’t make any further decisions until he’s spoken to his (adult) children for advice.

As promised, the home seller gets back to the agent, who’s been trying to keep the enquiring clients (and buyer agents) interested. Some buyers have moved on and already bought a house elsewhere, but luckily there are still quite a few eager to view the property.

The agent gives the home seller feedback on the initial batch of viewings and expects a handful of them to come back for a second viewing in the next coming days (which the agent is expects to be followed by a couple of offers).

Exciting times, no?

The home seller gets all awkward and informs the agent he’ll be going to Europe for the next month, so perhaps the agent ought to make the necessary arrangements with those interested buyers when he’s back…

Excuse me?

You wanna do what?

And the story of that indecisive home seller continued on for a number of months after that!

Clue #3 — Numerous expired mandates

Unlike the previous example where the home seller wasn’t 100% sure whether he was ready to sell, there are home sellers who genuinely believe that their homes are worth 10, 20, or even 30% more than the neighbouring properties, even though the statistics paint quite a different picture!

“Why hasn’t my house sold yet?! This real estate agent clearly doesn’t know what he’s doing!”

Thus, the listing mandate expires and the home seller strongly believes another agent will definitely get the property sold.

“They sure can’t all be as useless and lazy as our current real estate agent?!”

Unfortunately for the home seller, yet another mandate expires and the property is still on the market!

Being persistent, the home seller gets yet another listing agent on board.

“Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, while expecting a different result.”  Albert Einstein.

If the market has rejected his property at that price, a smart decision at that time would have been to immediately adjust his price.

And not blaming the agent, or getting another agent (or yet another one), whilst still believing it’s not price related!

It’s clear by now that his overpriced house won’t be moving any time soon!

Maybe the home seller isn’t serious about selling after all?

[Related article: Home Seller Mistakes To Avoid When Choosing A Real Estate Agent]

Clue #4 — Seller is not negotiable

serious about selling not giving home away

Of course I’m serious about selling my home! I’m just not going to give it away!

Following up on the previous point, the real estate agent (surprisingly) manages to get an offer, which is in-line with the CMA price levels put forward by real estate agents.

Remember that home buyers normally don’t keep themselves busy putting in low offers on overpriced houses!

Instead of being ecstatic about the offer activity on his overpriced property, the home seller decides to reject the offer to purchase on his home right there & then, without even wanting to consider a counteroffer!?

What more could the real estate agent do than bring him market-related offers?

Heck, this same agent sold 2 of this home seller’s neighbouring homes in the past 6 months around the same price!

Yet another clue that the home seller isn’t serious about selling!

Clue #5 — Failure to prepare the home

Whether it is right at the time the real estate agent is giving his advice on how to best present the property, during the professional photo shoot, or a few minutes before every single buyer showing, the home seller sometimes is just not interested in sprucing up his home!

You only get one chance to make a first impression!

There’s always something in every home which needs some extra attention prior to selling the property.

Looking back, it’ll be the best return on your investment ever!

After all, how do you expect your property to fetch a top dollar price if there are still so many unfinished jobs left to be done?!

Closing thoughts

How does a real estate agent (or any interested buyer for that matter) detect that a home seller isn’t too serious about selling his home?

There are many reasons why a home seller might be behaving in a certain way when selling his property, but overpricing a home remains the most important reason!

If the home seller has been told by a number of real estate agents where his property is likely to be valued at, why overwrite that advice and try to list it at some premium price?

We all know that time is not on the side of the home seller, and following that overpriced tactic will almost guarantee you wasting valuable marketing time at the initial launch of the property, and eventually a financial disappointment via the level of sale price as well, as it’ll be lower than the originally value put forward.

Other Home Seller Pricing Related Articles:

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About the author: The above article “How To Know When The Home Seller Isn’t Serious About Selling was written by Xavier De Buck, your top-producing Johannesburg real estate agent. Xavier has been nationally recognized and awarded for providing service excellence, exceptional property sales, whilst exhibiting the highest level of professionalism. With over 15 years combined experience as a real estate agent and real estate investor, if you’re thinking of buying or selling a home in Johannesburg, Xavier would love to share his property knowledge and expertise.

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