Unfortunately is a waste of your time and your agent’s time to try to find homes that simply do not exist. That part is relatively easy to educate, and provide hard data to back up that education. If you want a golf-course lot single-family home in Fort Myers? A quick trip to the MLS shows you have 120 options, and the five lowest priced ones are: $295K; $350K; $394K; $410K; and $424K. You simply can’t get one for $150K ― it does not exist. Don’t waste your time looking for one.
You want to “steal” a bank-owned home for 50% of list price? Consider this… In Feb 2010, there were thousands of lender owned properties sold, at an average of 98.48% of list price. How many do you think were sold at 50% of list price? While I have not looked at all the sales, but I am quite confident in saying that number is zero. You can’t buy REO properties in Southwest Florida at 50% off list price. That’s not a realistic expectation.
That’s all hard data – you can’t argue with it (though many do).
Were it gets tough is on some of the more nebulous requests from buyers. You don’t want to offer a dime over list price on a short sale? Well, here is where you may have to rely on your agent’s expertise. I can tell you (and show you) that there are no longer oodles of short sale listings in the Southwest Florida market priced woefully under market value. We could spend hours pouring over current listings and past sales to demonstrate this. But that’s not an effective use of your time (or your agents). And it is still a difficult thing to prove. The problem is, there are listing agents out there with the nasty habit of grossly under pricing a short sale in an effort to generate an offer and/or bidding frenzy. Offer below list price on a home already priced lower than the bank will accept and you are looking at an exercise in futility.
When you are buying a home, you have to be realistic. You aren’t going to get everything a $500K home has to offer for $250K – it just doesn’t work that way. You’re not going to steal a home from a bank, no matter how much the banks annoy you or how much they got in bailout money. You aren’t going to live a Naples lifestyle on a mirage budget.
Please, for the love of all things good, don’t think for a moment that I’m saying all buyers are unrealistic, or that no one listens. Buyers are smart. Smarter than a lot of people, including many listing agents and sellers give them credit for. Yes, it is frustrating when a buyer won’t listen, or doesn’t believe what we say. Given the general mistrust of real estate agents in the public’s eye, I understand that reluctance to believe. I understand we have to prove we know what we’re talking about. We have to earn your trust. Once that trust is earned however; take advantage of it! Believe what your agent is telling you. I can assure you that they want to sell you a home as badly as you want to buy one.
Think about what your expectations are, and work with your agent to see if they are realistic. It’s OK to ask for as much proof as your agent can provide. Realize though that some things are difficult to prove with hard factual / statistical data. Sometimes empirical data (based on observation and experience) is all you have to work with. Combine the two, work closely with your agent, build that trust and get out there and find that perfect home!
Just be realistic. It will greatly reduce your stress level. And your agents. Remember, real estate agents are people too. (At least most are most of the time…)