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Are you kidding? Are you on drugs? Taking over priced listings?

Click On this image to watch the video. You'll die laughing, or get angry, or think. Warning: There are a couple of fleeting F-bombs, if you're sensitive, don't watch the video, just read the post. Otherwise, watch the video, then read. Or just watch the video. Click on the image now.


We should avoid overpriced listings at all costs. When our gut, our heart, and our brains tell us it’s a, No-Go situation, we should gracefully bow-out.  I know, it’s hard to decline business, “What if”, right?

The truth is, when a seller insists on overpricing their property, and a usually-rational real estate agent agrees, everyone involved goes down in tangled flames of bitter disappointment. When we concede to the irrational, we aren’t doing any favors for the seller, the market, our families, our colleges, or ourselves.  When we concede to the irrational, we rob our futures.  We waste time, money, energy, and emotion.  Everyone loses, every time.

When You Know It’s A No-Go.  Walk Away.

After you’ve presented your detailed market analysis, and the seller is adamant about pricing their property above your recommendation, walk away.  Be polite, be professional, be firm.  I’d say something like this.

“Thank you for the opportunity.  In my professional opinion, based on research, the data I’ve shared with you, and experience, listing this property for sale, above X-Dollars would be irresponsible.  I feel I’d be doing you a disservice by leading you to believe it was possible to find a buyer who would pay this price, the agent representing them will provide them with the same research, and data, I’ve shared with you.

I respect your desire to list higher, and I wish you the very best.  Thanks for the opportunity to meet with you.  Good luck.  Good by.”

While every situation has unique circumstances, the bottom line is, nobody is served by attempting the irrational, the irresponsible, and the impossible.

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How Do You Handle These Situations?

What have you experienced in this area?   It’d be great to hear how you handle(d) it.  If you would be kind enough to share it in the comments, we could all benefit.  We could learn more about how to, educate and council the seller, how to hold our ground and believe in ourselves, and how to gracefully decline over priced listings.  Respectfully.

Thanks for reading.

PS.  About the video.  I was sorta torn about broadcasting the video.  Personally, I laughed to tears.  Because it’s so real.  I’ve been there, I’ve felt it, and seen it, and done it.  Then there’s the language, which some might find offensive, hence the warning below the image.  Anyway, my intention isn’t to criticize, poke fun of, or in anyway disrespect real estate agents, or sellers.  My intention is shine a few shades of light, on a practice that benefits no one.  In fact, it’s a practice that actually harms people, both agents, and sellers.

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Written By

Ken Brand - Prudential Gary Greene, Realtors. I’ve proudly worn a Realtor tattoo for over 10,957+ days, practicing our craft in San Diego, Austin, Aspen and now, The Woodlands, TX. As a life long learner, I’ve studied, read, written, taught, observed and participated in spectacular face plant failures and giddy inducing triumphs. I invite you to read my blog posts here at Agent Genius and BrandCandid.com. On the lighter side, you can follow my folly on Twitter and Facebook. Of course, you’re always to welcome to take the shortcut and call: 832-797-1779.

64 Comments

64 Comments

  1. Fred Romano

    August 23, 2010 at 7:25 am

    Its a great video, I’ve had it posted on my site since it was released in July. I hope the producer makes a followup!

    • Ken Brand

      August 23, 2010 at 12:12 pm

      It’s a keeper Fred. Thanks.

  2. Sheila Rasak

    August 23, 2010 at 8:18 am

    I wish there was a place in our code of ethics that addressed this subject! Too often I see the same Realtors taking overpriced listings and I avoid showing their listings (no matter the price point) in assumption that they’ve done it again.

    • Ken Brand

      August 23, 2010 at 12:13 pm

      I hear you, over priced listings happen for lots of different reasons, in the end, and the middle, and at the beginning, nobody wins. Everyone wants it so “bad”, but reality doesn’t cooperate, it punishes. Thanks for your comment:-)

  3. BawldGuy

    August 23, 2010 at 11:22 am

    New agents should take this advice and run with it. Follow it verbatim.

    If the sellers are nice people, my last arrow in the quiver is to show them all the like kind props priced how they’d prefer. I then point to the average days on the market, which is almost always triple digits. If that doesn’t do it, I give them the ‘Ken Brand’ speech and gracefully bow out.

    If they’re rude and cynical? I refer them to an agent I think would be a good personality match. It’s often entertaining to observe from afar. 🙂

    • Ken Brand

      August 23, 2010 at 12:14 pm

      Thanks Jeff. And you’re right, a referral to a like-minded agent is sometimes a beautiful thing to behold. 😉

  4. Liz Benitez

    August 23, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    Love the video, shared it on my FB 🙂

    Looking for insight on like subject – I have a listing right now that is priced decent but in no ways to sell quickly. On my first meeting with he clients we toured the house, talked a little about there expectations, and made an appointment to go over the CMA and listing docs. At the time they were adamant that the house be prices were they wanted it. At our second appointment when presented with he CMA they agreed with the list price, how ever they want it sold in two month, now one month away, we have only had 3 showing. They will not budge on the price to make it sale faster. At this point I am ready to let the agreement run its course and move on.

    • Ken Brand

      August 23, 2010 at 8:18 pm

      I hear you, every situation is different, with it’s own sticky wicket part.

      The thing is, there are many angles of logic, sometime you use a couple, some times a fistful. While the logic, data, and facts, are patently obvious, we’re sharing this information with people who fully invested in the emotional blender of moving, fears, inconvenience, lost equity, etc. The better we present the information, the more often we’ll succeed. Sometimes, the emotional density overwhelms the dead-bang logical. Nothing you can do about it. You do your best, fight to keep it, if they don’t relist, you move on, no regrets

  5. Anthony Rueda

    August 23, 2010 at 7:11 pm

    I have a different perspective on how to handle a seller who initially refuses to lower their asking price. Have you ever had a listing where the seller refuses to drop his price and your listing expires, then you see another agent list and sell it for a lower price? How did that agent convince the seller to drop his price? For some sellers, it’s difficult to convince in an hour or two (during a listing presentation) to drop their price. Some sellers just need to be shown and not told. If you reject the listing, you’ve lost your opportunity. If you accept the listing, you have until the listing agreement expires to improve your communication skills with difficult clients. How can you improve your communication skills with difficult clients if you avoid working with them?

    • Ken Brand

      August 23, 2010 at 8:35 pm

      Great points Anthony. The short blog post can’t really dive into some the interesting circumstances the swirl around the CMA discussion, and over priced listings. For the circumstance you describe, and we’ve been on both sides, the victim, and the beneficiary, the SWAG (sophisticated wild ass guess) method would come into play. Specifically, If I believe that the seller was motivated enough, as in, I know they have to sell because she’s been transfered to China, and they agreed to listing period long enough, and I liked them enough, and I thought they would eventually reduce the price to salable figure, then I would take the listing. I would be making a calculated risk. If they got bored, and began to blame me, then fired me, and relisted with another, then it would have been a bad call for me. Or it it turns out they are loud, and persistant whiners, and they complain about me to their friends, the I would regret the time, and energy I’m investing for the commission, that would be bad call too. And so on. You only know if you made the right decision when it’s all over.

      So, you’re right, in certain circumstances, taking an initially over priced listing, might work out. Bu,t most every other over priced listing circumstance, run like the wind

  6. Alex Cortez

    August 24, 2010 at 5:00 am

    Sure, nobody likes to see overpriced listings on the market, but in reality these listings help sell the ones that are priced accordingly by being on the high end of the measuring stick. By the wayn sweet video, I hadn’t laughed that hard in a while.

    • Ken Brand

      August 24, 2010 at 7:05 am

      Alex – For sure the over priced listing is a silver linning benefit for the competitively price. It’s hard for the over priced listing agent, and seller to get a clue, when their property is show frequently, as you’ve described, agents are including the over priced listings in their showings to demonstrate contrast. Good call. Thanks for commenting.

  7. Scott Harris

    August 24, 2010 at 6:25 am

    That was so funny.

    I did something similar a few months ago to attempt to motivate (shame) a local contractor / friend / buyer to get started with social media plus doing a few other things on line to promote his business such as Google maps. He’s a great guy, but he says his phone doesn’t ring anymore and he wonders why no one looks him up in the yellow pages these days. He also once complained that his residential tenants don’t even take the yellow pages inside their apartments anymore, but instead leave them by the entrance gate.

    youtube.com/watch?v=qcOQY8AxVj8

    Now true, he’s bought a bunch of properties from me and I work real close with him to solve problems, but he’s way too reliant on me when it comes to anything regarding computers. He prefers to keep it pre-1962 or so. I share many of his hobbies including the old cars, but I like to move everyone forward a bit and show them that there is life after 1962. We’d gone around and around for months about his marketing so I put this one together thinking maybe some famous people could tell him the same thing I had been telling him. I won.

    • Ken Brand

      August 24, 2010 at 3:41 pm

      That’s the crazy thing these days Scott. There are new ways to open eyes, wake the dead, and drag zombies into the 2010s. Cheers to your creativity, everyone wins.

  8. Joe Loomer

    August 24, 2010 at 7:09 am

    Laughed pretty hard at the video, Ken!

    Scripts and dialogues help, nothing trumps market data, and Jeff’s recommendation is spot-on – take them to see homes at the price point they wish to be at and point out the differences in their property with those comparables.

    What I didn’t hear is any talk of adressing the appraisal issues in the unlikely event you actually get that “buyer from Pluto.”

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

    • Ken Brand

      August 24, 2010 at 3:42 pm

      Yep, yep, and more yep, until those dumb ass Pluto buyers show up. Cheers Joe.

  9. Stacie Wells

    August 24, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    Wow. Brilliant, as usual 🙂 Where was this script when I needed it last month?

    1) Seller thinks their house is a gold mine and could care less about market statistics
    2) They interview a 2nd agent who tells them it’s worth way more than the outrageous amount that they think it’s worth.
    3) When it doesn’t sell, it’s the agent’s fault because they’re not “working hard enough”.

    Really?? The only thing that the agent should be faulted with is taking the overpriced listing. I’ve always said that the very best and most important piece of marketing is pricing it right. No sense in telling millions of people how over-priced it is, right? 🙂

    • Ken Brand

      August 25, 2010 at 3:23 pm

      Yeah, it’s sort of a jungle out there. If it sells fast, you underpriced it, if it never sells, it has nothing to do with the price, it’s because you suck. Back in the day, I sold new homes, when sales were slow, the mangers told us we were weak, it was our fault, we didn’t know how to sell. When sales boomed, we were luck, the houses were so magnificent, they sold them on their own, we were order takers. In the long wrong, I guess that’s why we make the medium money. Cheers. Stacie.

  10. Diana Hoyt

    August 25, 2010 at 9:34 am

    I laughed so hard and am not sure if it was because it was so funny or that there was so much truth in it! Both I suspect. That said, I would LOVE to post this on my FaceBook and on Twitter but again, the language is prohibiting me from doing so. The “F” word and the “retard” remarks are not appropriate, but your message is PERFECT for sellers to see and for all agents to consider. Is it possible for you to remake this without the offensive language? You have a great talent here and I would love to use it! Thanks for making my day a bit better!

    • Ken Brand

      August 25, 2010 at 3:24 pm

      I did the same the same. Sadly, I can’t take credit for the video. I had the same issue with language, but I wanted to post share, so I wrote a blog post around it, to sorta soften it up. The things is without the language, it’s lose some of its hammer. Thanks for commenting. Cheers.

  11. Tim Domanski

    August 25, 2010 at 11:09 am

    One of the things that my partner and I do to help avoid this is to not ask the seller what they are looking to get as a sale price. We present the market data and offer our opinion. We find it is easier for the seller to agree with our price opinion when they don’t have to try to save face because they offered a higher number as opposed to them giving us their number, which they try to defend.

    • Ken Brand

      August 26, 2010 at 8:05 am

      Smart advice Tim, like you’ve shared, once someone takes a position, it’s a challenge to get them to change their mind, or admit they were wrong. Good point.

  12. white bear lake mn homes for sale

    August 25, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    I also like the approach of “working with the seller” at the start to target what they want for sales price. Then I’ll tell them how close we can come to that after I do a quantitative CMA. By including them in the systematic, and data-driven process of pricing their home, I found it to be much easier reach an agreeable listing price. Great post!

    • Ken Brand

      August 26, 2010 at 8:09 am

      Thanks. Keys to success = make the discussion conversational, non confrontational, reassuring body language (relaxed and friendly vs tense and tight), tone of voice, and of course, if we’ve really done our homework, confidence. Cheers and good luck out there.

  13. Naples Real Estate

    August 25, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    The video is both hilarious and sadly true. IMHO, when dealing with emotional/ignorant people in this industry it is essential to take a stand, control the situation, and not let yourself get sucked into one of these situations no matter how tough the times are. Great post.

  14. Janie Coffey

    August 26, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    Man Ken YOU ARE The MAN! This reminds me of your post several months ago about fix it or kick it to the curb. So 100% right on target! I love your posts!

  15. Nick Nymark

    September 10, 2010 at 11:06 pm

    Great Article, I like the response in the grey box above under “When You Know It’s A No-Go. Walk Away.”

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