Oof, this is a tough one.
There are rules about what it’s okay to talk about in polite company. Commonly understood topics to avoid? Religion and politics. Likewise, there are suggestions about how to handle the subject of money. “Money and family don’t mix,” they say, and the same is said to be true of money and friends.
The commonality between religion, politics, and finance lies in feelings. That’s right, feelings. Our life philosophies are close to our hearts. And, as hard as we all work, let’s be serious, so are our bank accounts. Think about the things we sacrifice to be at our jobs all day earning the money we need to keep ourselves and our families fed, clothed, and sheltered: time with friends and loved ones, pursuit of arts and dreams, higher levels of fitness. We are placing our actual health and happiness at stake, even as we try to protect them…is that even fair?
Well, fair is fair, and we all make choices. But here’s what’s real: if somebody threatens your political beliefs in a heated conversation, you may argue and try to show the other party the sense in your perspective, but at a certain point you’re likely to walk away (unless you’re especially fond of giving or receiving fisticuffs.) Whereas: if you feel a threat to your cash stash? Most people will not only argue, but will dig in their heels and hang on tight in a stance that says, Buddy, I am not going ANYWHERE. (Clearly if your or another’s personal safety is being threatened, you would drop the money and RUN.)
Question: When is this heel-digging the wrong thing to do?
Answer: When the expert tells you it is.
Okay, so we’re talking about the delicate subject of what your property, your dwelling, your Home Sweet Home is worth. You know your house better than anybody else could, right? You know what you paid, what you’ve spent on maintenance, upgrades, and mortgage payments, not to mention sweat equity. Any homeowner thinking of selling knows how much he wants to make and how much he needs to sock in the bank to move on. You have a good understanding of your property’s value, so who the hell does Mr. Realtor think he is, telling you to list it for $25,000 less than what you think it’s worth?
Um, he thinks he’s your Realtor. A.k.a. your trusted advisor in all things real estate. You chose him for a reason, remember? So, let’s not fly off the handle when all he did was violate your profit margin with this harsh reality: THE TRUTH.
Look, you want to sell for the best possible profit, right? Listings priced too high consistently fail to fit that bill. They sit on the market, languishing, while you do the same, continuing to pay the mortgage and freaking out while you sit in limbo, unable to move forward.
Yes, the truth hurts! But it’s still the truth. Sure, you can say, Forget this guy! I’m getting another agent who will list my house at the price I want. And guess what? Some agents will do it. If you want a yes-person who will nod and smile and lie to your face, by all means, hire that guy. He’ll list your house for the price you want, no matter how unrealistic. You’ll have the satisfaction of looking at all of those zeroes on your listing online…and you’ll be looking at the same thing on your bank statements. Zeroes.
If you really DO want to sell instead of tear your hair out in total frustration, understand that any agent worth his salt has done the research, done the homework, and turned in an A grade on price. While that price may not align with your hopes or even your needs, a qualified agent probably has it right. If you don’t believe so? Impersonate your seventh-grade math teacher and ask your agent to show his work. He’ll be able to show you exactly how he arrived at his answer, and chances are it was proved out by recently sold comparable properties, comparable active listings, the movement of the market in your specific location, and his own experience.
So here’s your reality check: anything is only worth what a person is willing to pay. If you’re stuck on a specific number and list too high, you’re undermining your own bottom line. If you want the kind of check you can put in the bank? Work with a Realtor who isn’t afraid to get real.