Vol 6 No. 50 - September 6, 2006

Popular myths haunt real estate industry
By Louise Bolger
SUN STAFF WRITER

Do you know what a myth is? According to Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary a myth is "a popular belief or tradition that has grown up around something or someone embodying the ideals and institutions of a society or segment of society." Those of us who have been involved in the real estate industry understand that it is rife with myths and misconceptions. These are some of the more popular ones and why they either have or do not have any validity:

The first offer is always the best. It may turn out that way, particularly if buyers have been looking for a long time and really want your home. But so much of this myth is market driven and reflects buyer’s personalities that it’s probably one you should not have a lot of faith in. Sellers should always be open to offers and not be insulted by a low bid. Consider it a starting point.

Lower commissions mean a higher net to sellers. You always get what you pay for in this world. If sellers negotiate lower commissions with Realtors or decide on "discount" brokers, chances are they won’t get much marketing or assistance with their sale. You also run the risk of other brokers not wanting to show your property because of a lower selling commission. This is especially true in an overstocked market. The longer your home is on the market, the more it’s costing you.

In addition, if you decide to sell your home on your own in order to save all the commission, you may be surprised at how much time, work and money is required. Hiring a real estate professional gives you the added benefit of providing you with an advocate to help you work through one of the most emotional processes in your life.

If a house sells in a few days, it was under priced. More likely it was priced exactly right, and the buyers knew it.

If you don’t want to make repairs, lower your price. The perception of a house in disrepair can lower offers far more than the cost to actually fix the problems. It sends the message that this house could have a lot of other hidden issues. Condition is critical to getting top dollar and moving a property fast. If you can’t do everything at least make the property cosmetically pleasing.

Attorneys add an unnecessary complication. Using an attorney in a real estate transaction is frequently based on local custom. In some regions of the country, you must have an attorney and in others, people think you’re nuts to pay for one. This is a personal decision. If you feel your rights need to be protected or you have been presented with a complicated contract of sale, you may save a few sleepless nights if you get some legal advice.

Buyers lose interest if sellers are present at showings. It’s better for sellers not to be on the premises so buyers can discuss concerns freely, but the seller’s presence probably won’t be a serious detriment if you have a serious buyer. If the sellers remain, they should keep a very low profile.

Don’t buy stigmatized property. Chances are if you don’t have a problem with whatever happened in the house previously, future buyers also won’t have a problem. It’s always best for all parties to disclose everything they know about a property.

Stash the myths on the same shelf as the fairytales. Even if you’re selling your beloved home or buying your dream, real estate is a business and best dealt with within the realm of reality.

AMISUN ~ The Island's Award-Winning Newspaper