Previewing is hell on your car. I take small pocket areas and try and see as much as I can in that area, usually in a consistent theme (like five bed, 4 bath, three cars that I did yesterday in Briargate and Northgate). I look at one, write notes, 3 minutes later I’m back I my car. I start it up, the dash beeps because of that turn signal bulb that keeps shorting out, I drive maybe a half mile to a mile to the next house, park it, run in, preview, I’m out again in three minutes. My notes take maybe 15 seconds, lots of dashes, exclamation marks, smart-aleck comments (“homage to wallpaper”; “dead yard over 400 in BRI?”; “Yeah, cat piss!”;”agent-in-trouble”; “Christopherson’s house! Listed for sold price last year!”; ”4% + $1K, holy-motivated”).
The last comment came from the last house I looked at. Maybe I did what I used to do to my buyers: rope-a-dope myself into seeing the best home last. After 18 previous homes that ran the gamut from pretty nice to just horrible, what-are-they-smoking-bad, the last home I saw was 8431 Winding Passage in Wolf Ranch. It was one of the better turn-key buys I’ve seen in a long time.
Let me begin by checking my bias at the door. I don’t like Creekstone Homes. I forget about them all the time as a local builder. I don’t usually like their plans, I associate them with very average quality and building in neighborhoods that often just aren’t that sexy or never really go anywhere (University Bluff is a prime example). So I almost cut this home from my original grouping of 37 homes because of that bias.
Bias checked: this home rocked. It didn’t match any of the above complaints. Maybe it was some of their owners that screwed ‘em up. These owners keep this house beautifully.
The negotiations start at $384,900 (that’s my way of saying list price), but I haven’t been called for feedback yet (I supplied it by email… ALWAYS SUPPLY FEEDBACK, it’s a cooperative business). I mention this because I could not believe some of the conversations I had earlier in the week. One home was listed at $420,000. I told them it needed to be below $400,000. “We can do that” I was told. Okay… so what you’re saying is the list price is $400,000? In other words, just take 5% off and treat that as the start to negotiations?
Tangent aside, $384,900 provides a buyer with a 2005 built home on a 8000 square foot mostly flat lot, four huge bedrooms PLUS a retreat with fireplace off the master all upstairs, cherry cabinets with stainless appliances, big living spaces and a great basement. It did not have a main level family room because it had a huge kitchen and oversized eat-in nook in addition to the formal dining room and living room on the main. Over 3500 square feet finished, central air, super-duper tidy, and unsold.
Here is where the nature of the great buys in this market come in:
This home probably comp’ed out at original asking price of $410,000. It probably didn’t sell because it didn’t have granite in the kitchen and some floors are vinyl not tile. Someone who wants to get their closing costs paid can reserve their cash from that seller contribution to slab the kitchen and tile where there is vinyl. The sellers are already down $25,000, are offering agents 1% more plus another $1000 bonus if they get a contract by next Friday. All of that is negotiable as well.
There are beauty contests and there are price wars. This one does well on both accounts.