Are any homes worth buying?

While it seems to be a fad to track inventory, reality is that most times in January, and this year is no exception, there are plenty of buyers. They simply do not want the homes that are currently listed for sale for a myriad of reasons, nor should they.

Last Thursday a group of us went to Broker’s Open Houses. We did not see any homes on the tour that we would recommend to our clients. We did pick the ones we thought would sell first, even though we would not likely suggest that our clients buy them.

Here’s how it played out:

House #1 – We all walked in, it took about 3 minutes to determine that it was not priced right and was not good at any price for any of our clients. There was a busy street close enough to be visible from the home. The house was very “cookie cutter” and not “commanding” the asking price by style alone, before considering the busy road negative. Tacking on the busy road issue, we went upstairs. The master suite was on the busy road side. Had the master suite been on the quiet side and the odd bedroom on the busy road side, the value would have been different.

A few agents talked about the quality of the windows, the gorgeous granite counter tops, when I started clapping my hands and saying: Out of Here…NEXT! It’s $200,000 over on the asking price and there are better houses to be had at this price. Not necessarily for sale today, but clearly within any buyers future timeframe.

It’s a NO! Let’s GO! (the open house agent was not present nor were any agents from other offices, so we could speak freely like this at the first one, since we were early and the Open House hadn’t started yet.)

House #2 – Great house; how much is it? Too much. But a great house if it were priced $75,000 less. NEXT! Agent asked about the old windows. I said irrelevant. Lots of updates needed, so price it at good condition in need of updating. No need to calculate each why and how much, let’s go, it will be a long time before this seller gets real, and you can’t make an offer until the first number is a 6 and not a 7, you will still be $35,000 over value even with the best of negotiation skills. Start price has to be lower, wait for the price reduction.

House #3 – We got out of the cars and everyone proceeded to the front door of the house. I stayed standing in the middle of the street. I told everyone to come back and stand with me and tell me what they observed. Big dog barking incessantly. I said if the dog is in the yard of “the subject house”, no biggeee as he’s moving. No, it was a vacant house. So Big Dog Barking is next door. Everyone made a note of it in case they had a buyer client at a time when the dog was sleeping or not home. We then proceeded into the house.

I stayed at the front window. What is THAT?! Elementary School and Middle school next to it. Every Mom and Dad dropping off kids would be line up out front every day. Car doors slamming. Shouts of “You forgot your lunch!” Envision what isn’t visible. NEXT!

House #4 – Gorgeous remodel. Great price. Open House agent present. Directly behind the Open House agent I could see out the window. The next door neighbor’s house, or part of the accessory of it, was smack up against the fence of this house. The Open House agent should not have planted himself at the home’s worst negative. I couldn’t even concentrate on what he was saying because of the view behind him. I said that’s tough; he said yeah. NEXT!

WHTF house (investor bought “Wrong House to Flip”). Now we can just say WHTF on any similar houses. Saves on time. Walk in say Great Remodel BUT “WHTF”. Still, all in all, I dubbed it my pick for “Best House of Day” as it was priced well and looked good and the cheapest good home in all of Bellevue at the moment.

I picked it as the house that would sell first without a price reduction needed. These “picks” go into an envelope, and we check back on them later to see how well we evaluated the properties. The agent who picks the most right gets a prize, they get to become a really good agent and stay that way.

There were two other houses, similar to house #2. Good houses, but priced out of range. One only needed a $10,000 reduction to get in range, so that was my second pick and some other agents’ first pick.

Even if you have been in the business for over 17 years, like me, you never stop doing Broker’s Opens to stay on top of the market and keep sharpening “the tool”.

Buyers can do this with Sunday Open Houses. It’s great fun and a valuable exercise.