[photopress:man_in_the_bushes.jpg,thumb,alignright]This article is in response to a reader’s request yesterday, that I describe what a “man in the bushes” listing means.
Over the years, I have used the term “man in the bushes” most often in response to the question, “Can I sell my home myself as a For Sale by Owner”. If they are ready, willing and able to do that, I tell them to try it for up to 30 days, even two weeks, to see if they have a “man in the bushes”. I once sold a home with 23 men in the bushes.
A “Man in the Bushes” property is usually a unique home that has something that no other house has, and is also one people have suspected may at some time be sold. In this case a stand out corner property in Mount Baker built at or before the turn of the last century in the late 1800’s with some Lake view. It also has an owner who for some reason, actually many reasons, never got around to moving into it. So it has been vacant on and off for some forty years.
There’s usually someone, or several someones, who drive by it on a regular basis (in this case visiting his brother who lives nearby) who has said to himself a skazillion times, “If that house ever goes up for sale, I’d like to have it”. Of course they don’t know for sure until it does go on market and they go in it. But they are already 70% sure they want it. That’s a “man in the bushes”. Not just someone who is the first one to view it when it is listed, but someone who has been waiting for that opportunity to arise for a long time.
A seller can either try a FSBO on that, or get a deeply discounted rate if the “man in the bushes” comes forward very quickly. Another option is to list it in the mls and “exclude” the man in the bushes from the listing with a timeframe. “If Mr. X arrives and makes an offer on the property within 7 days, the listing is null and void”. To do it that way, you need to know who Mr. X is in advance and put him in the contract by name.
Sometimes the Man in the Bushes is a relative who has indicated an interest in buying it over the years, but may be “all talk” and “no ability to do so”. You give them 7 days to “put up or shut up”. This way the family doesn’t have to hear for the rest of their lives that this guy would have bought it, but no one gave him the opportunity to do so. There should never be a fee connected, other than maybe a handling fee, for people to sell their home to a relative. So if you think you have a “Man in the Bushes” in your family, give them 7 – 10 days to at least put that interest on paper, with no or little fee paid if a family member buys the property in the early part of the listing.