Dueling agents

UmbrellaI love classical movies. There was an age when entertainment was just that, entertainment. Singin’ in the Rain doesn’t educate or indoctrinate, it makes you smile.  At worst it gives the moral lesson of, Be nice.  People like you better when you’re nice.  Being deceiptful can backfire.  It’s the sort of thing mothers (except presumably Colton Harris-Moore’s mother) teach their children.

I like the fight scene from the movie inside the movie, The Dueling Cavalier.  It’s hokey, schmaltzy and clearly not very lethal.  There is a lot of posturing and glaring, with little sword play.  Sort of like the real estate drama in the cul de sac below my house this past weekend.

House GD has been on the market over 215 days.  It was overpriced to begin with, but I’m sure the agent did their best to convince the owners otherwise.  There are other issues with the house, so although it is a beautiful property, it has gone under contract once in those 215 days and was rescinded on the inspection contingency.  The agent for house GD travels each and every weekend from Whidbey Island (which requires a ferry trip and about 110 miles round trip) to do at least 2 open houses.

House JA went on market Friday.  It is 300 square feet larger than house GD, has another bedroom and another bath.  The yard is more interesting and the view pretty much the same.  House JA is priced at $20K less than house GD.

JA’s agent held 3 open houses — Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  House GD’s agent took advantage of the new listing on the block and also held 3 open houses.

The two agents spent the entire weekend posturing and glaring at each other at the ends of the respective driveways as they thanked potential buyers for coming.  From our vantage point above, it was most amusing.  I felt like singing Make ’em Laugh.

So other than the obvious competition for the same pool of buyers, why the glares?  I think it is because everyone is trying hard, but the buyers are few and far between.

I had a call the other day on a townhome I have listed for sale.  The caller wanted to know would the owners consider renting?  He didn’t want to commit to a mortgage in this market, but really liked the home.  I think this is becoming more commonplace.

One of the statistics for our homeowner’s association is the percentage of rental homes vs. owner occuppied.  The association covers 128 view homes in a sought after neighborhood, of which no house can be less than 3400 square feet.  The number of rentals is creeping up.  It used to be temporary high level job requirements — “C” level consulting which didn’t require a permanent residence, but which would be long enough to necessitate relocating a family for at least a year.  Now it is families who would like to live here, but who don’t want to buy here. 

Sellers:  is there a way you can consider lease optioning or renting, and still accomplish your goals?  It might take some stretching outside the box, but ask a creative agent to help.

Buyers:  is your desire to rent borne of a knowledge the banks will not lend you money in this economy?  Be blunt with yourself, but soften it with the knowledge EVERYONE’s credit is enjoying a Calgon bath.  If you can find a seller willing to finance for you, you may come out the ultimate winner.

Investors:  Be wary.  The adage is always, “It’s easy to buy a house.  Selling it is the tough part.”  Tailor your exit strategy to cope with the possibility of no queue of eager takers, Purchase and Sales contracts waving in the air.

Agents:  This is not permanent.  Focus on your client and help them creatively come up with solutions rather than glare at the other agent across the street.  There will come a time again when real estate is financiable and people feel confident enough again to claim a part of their own American Dream.

New for rent on the Seattle market.


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