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Marty and Max: Real Estate Recipes

by MARTY WALKER
| September 29, 2023 1:00 AM

Today we will discuss two ways to buy an actively marketed home at a bargain, where you actually want to live.

When pricing your home, consider that some houses tend to sell for a lower price than others. According to the Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, the median sales price of a for-sale-by-owner (FSBO) home in 2021 was $225,000, while the median price of an agent-assisted home was $345,000. One of the disadvantages for Idaho FSBOs is, that without an agent, it is challenging to know what homes are actually selling for. Idaho is a non-disclosure state and online estimates are exactly that, guesses. Typically, an online guess sells for less. There are some FSBOs that are done right. The seller invests $3-5k upfront for appraisal, professional images, marketing, advertising, and videos. However, even when the FSBO seller does everything right, the buyer knows there is limited competition and limited visibility and expects a bargain. It’s just like trading in your car. The buyer normally wins. Have you ever noticed there rarely bidding wars at the trade-in counter?

The most puzzling thing, however, is many FSBO sellers concede paying a 3% buyer fee, will invest thousands on selling the home, have little understanding of how to write a contract or how to deal with earnest money, and will sell for 10-25% less than they could have if only they had worked with an experienced agent. If you want to buy a below-market house, partner with a trusted realtor who knows the market, have your financing in hand, and include FSBOs on your home tours. You just might steal one.

I have a customer who is discussing dividing his 20-plus acres, selling the home on 10 acres, and building a new home on the remaining land. He commented, “The only way I can afford to do this is that I stole it when I bought it. The agent threw up dark cell phone pictures that looked horrible, and I knew nobody else was looking at it. When we first toured the property, we loved it but it was out of our price range. We put in a low-ball offer and they had nobody else looking so they accepted it.”

My original column title for today was, “How to legally steal a house.” Although it is accurate and true, I did not want to imply a lack of scruples, however, if you want to buy a home at a bargain basement price, follow this recipe. You will need a pro to collect your ingredients.

In a pan, add drippings of under-marketed sizzling homes that have been stewing. Fold in stagnate slurry and let simmer. Next, and in a separate bowl, you will carefully blend your dreams, needs, and budget. Once the market has tenderized to the desired home seller's expectations, prepare to both chop the price and reduce the competition without mincing words. Watch the pan closely as emotions may boil over and quickly burn the seller. Once cooked to temp, enjoy your Thanksgiving meal around the closing table. That’s it!

Would you like me to reduce this recipe to one word? You got it - spatchcock. “To split poultry by removing the backbone.” If you have a chicken without a backbone it will cook faster.

If you are serious about obtaining top dollar for your home there are two, perhaps three professional real estate marketing firms in North Idaho you should insist on. If you don’t know them please email me and I can send a list. If you plan on selling before spring you may want to get your marketing started now. As a seller, you should expect high-end images and if your home has not sold and the seasons change you should expect a new set of marketing images. Bon Appetit!

For more information, contact Marty Walker at marty@21goldchoice.com or call (208) 518-6636. This article was not written by and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Coeur d'Alene Regional REALTORS®