Is the Seller a “Foreign Person”? Buyers, FIRPTA Says You Better Find Out

ID-10075952This is not legal advice. For legal advice, consult an attorney in person about your specific situation. Never rely on a blog. [Updated 12/17/14]

The Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act (FIRPTA) is a federal law that requires a “foreign person” to pay tax on the gain realized upon the sale of real property owned by that person. However, the law does not make the seller responsible for paying this tax.  Rather, the law requires the buyer to determine whether or not the seller is a “foreign person” (basically a non-resident alien).

If the seller is a “foreign person” as defined by the statute,then the buyer must withhold 10% of the sale proceeds at closing. These funds are to be forwarded to the IRS to insure that the foreign person pays tax on the gain realized from the transfer. If the buyer fails to determine that the seller is a foreign person and thus fails to withhold 10% of the proceeds, the buyer is liable for the 10%. WOW! That’s significant. If you just bought a $400,000 house from a foreigner and did not satisfy your obligations under this statute, you may be liable to the IRS for a cool 40 grand. Ouch.

The NWMLS, recognizing the serious risk to buyers, has included a “FIRPTA” provision in the standard Purchase and Sale Agreement (PSA):

j. FIRPTA – Tax Withholding at Closing. The Closing Agent is instructed to prepare a certification (NWMLS Form 22E or equivalent) that Seller is not a “foreign person” within the meaning of the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act. Seller shall sign this certification. If Seller is a foreign person, and this transaction is not otherwise exempt from FIRPTA, Closing Agent is instructed to withhold and pay the required amount to the Internal Revenue Service.

So that’s good news! The PSA specifically instructs the closing agent, aka escrow, to make sure the buyer complies with this legal obligation.  Whew!

Wait, there’s bad news? Yep. Virtually every escrow company has its own “escrow instructions” that elaborate on the terms of the PSA.  And guess what?  Those instructions relieve the escrow agent from taking any steps to make sure the buyer complies with FIRPTA.  Here is the language from some commonly used escrow instructions:

Seller warrants to Escrowee [i.e., the Closing Agent] that if Seller is an individual, Seller is a non-resident alien for purposes of U.S. Income taxation, or if Seller is a corporation, partnership, trust or estate, Seller is not a foreign entity. The Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act of 1980 as amended by the Tax Reform Act of 1984 places special requirements for tax reporting and withholding on the parties to a real estate transaction where the transferor (seller) is a non-resident alien or non-domestic corporation or partnership or partnerships. It is understood and acknowledged by the undersigned that (a) Escrowee will not take an active role in either the determination of the non-alien status of the seller transferor or the withholding of any funds; and (b) Escrowee makes no representations and (c) Buyer and Seller are seeking an attorney’s, accountant’s, or other tax specialists opinion concerning the effect of this Act on this transaction and are not acting on the statements made or omitted by the Escrowee.

So what protection the PSA provides, the escrow instructions take away. “Whew!” is grossly premature.

Obviously, “consulting with an attorney or other specialist” is simply the escrow company engaging in a little CYA.  The closing agent, and only the closing agent, is in a position to obtain the necessary signed certification. The PSA instructs the closing agent to do so.  But the closing agent promptly tells the buyer that it will not do so. If you’re a buyer in this situation, watch out. You could get some exceptionally bad news from the IRS long after you’ve purchased the home.

Not convinced? Check out my follow-up post where I flesh out my opinion with those of several other residential real estate lawyers.

Finally, this is a fantastic illustration of how a buyer can benefit from having an attorney on board from the get-go. At Quill Realty, we provide every client with an attorney (and we pay the attorney’s fee). So if you’re a Quill client, you can rest assured that your attorney will identify and resolve this issue (usually by demanding that the closing agent comply with the terms of the PSA and not those of the escrow instructions, to which they usually agree).  Not a Quill client?  Well, good luck in seeking to eliminate this very substantial post-closing exposure to the IRS…

The Seattle Condo Market: Are Sellers in La-La Land?

Having looked at several downtown condo listings lately (we have a client shopping for one right now), it seems to me that there is a real disconnect between comp values and listing prices. Based on my purely anecdotal investigation, condos are selling for less than $500/sf; many if not most condos on the market are listed at more than $500/sf. My client was interested in one listed well north of $600/sf, with two recent sales in the same small building (about 20 units), one just above $300/sf and one in the $430’s.

The listing agent and I exchanged emails. I expressed my concerns about the property appraising at a price that would be acceptable to the seller given the list price (and the agent’s admonition that the sellers are “motivated but not desperate”). In response I got this:

I have never in my long real estate career, had a problem with an appraisal–even in today’s market. One yesterday came in at 10% over list. I promise to justify the pricing if we can come to mutual acceptance with the appraiser. I have a way of doing it that seems to work well.

My client just forward me a link to this blog piece about this very topic, which includes this passage:

For just about every condo appraisal, the most suitable comparables are sales from the same building. That can lead to some appraised values that may disappoint some sellers/owners. The biggest item condo owners need to understand is that the appraised value of their unit will be determined by the most recent similar sales available to the appraiser.

So I’m curious to hear the experiences or insight of others: Does there seem to be a disconnect between list prices and “market value”? Or, more directly, has anyone had a problem with a downtown condo appraising for a sale price?

Please note: I am NOT calling ANYONE out…

Further Analysis of a Real Estate Broker’s Ability to Represent Buyers*

The method by which a real estate agent is compensated undermines the agent’s ability to represent his clients, particularly clients who are buying property. Before I get into the substance, though, I need to define the term “represent.”

Yes, the term is used in the “brokerage relationships” statute, RCW Chapter 18.86. However, I am unwilling to conclude that EVERY agent “represents” his clients simply because that’s what the statute says. In my book, “representation” requires more than the legislature’s decision to use that term in the statute as shorthand for acting as a real estate agent. Rather, I use the term to mean “to manage the legal and business affairs” of the client.

With that preliminary matter out of the way… Representation requires a high degree of loyalty to the client. Loyalty to the client is undermined by any interest that competes with the client’s interest, including self-interest of the person providing the representation (i.e., a conflict of intererst). Agents are paid by a seller, not by the client/buyer, and clearly there is a conflict of interest between the seller and the buyer. Moreover, the agent has no obligation to inform the buyer/client of the compensation paid by any particular seller. This system creates a serious conflict of interest that undermines an agent’s ability to represent a buyer.

Want proof? There is a general consensus that a seller should offer the “full” SOC of 3%. Correct me if I’m wrong in that regard. Assuming I am correct, this “general consensus” is de facto recognition of the reality that a substantial portion of agents put their own interests — getting paid a 3% commission versus something lower — above those of their client. If anybody believes otherwise I’d love to hear the argument, as this seems like a “slam dunk” point to me. There is simply no other explanation other than that an increased fee to a buyer’s agent will influence the agent to convince his client to buy the subject property versus some other. This influence over the buyer derives entirely from the agent’s self-interest to make as much money as possible, regardless of what may be best for the buyer.

The same logic is at work for a “bonus” SOC for a full-priced offer, which is permissible and not that uncommon. How on earth is it in the buyer’s interest to make a full price offer in this market? And in a situation where a full price offer is merited, it is merited because of the needs of the buyer, not the interests of the agent — or at least it should be if the agent is providing “representation.”

Want more proof? It is common for some listing brokerages to send a letter to the Selling Agent when a property is placed under contract. I recently received such a letter that reads as follows:

Knowing that selling a house at competitive market value can be a challenging process, I want to take this opportunity for professionally selling the subject property.

Wow! What an emphasis on “selling”! If an agent is truly “representing” a buyer, how is that agent “selling” the home? Those two terms are mutually inconsistent. A “salesperson” does NOT look out for the interests of the buyer. To the extent a “salesperson” claims to do so, it is — to a degree at a minimum, if not entirely — subterfuge to build a relationship of trust between the buyer and the salesperson, which in turn facilitates the sale. Does anyone really believe a salesperson when they say, “As a favor to you, I’ll…”. Salespeople sell, they don’t represent. Representatives in contrast look out for the interests of the client, they don’t work to convince the buyer to buy. Any decision to spend several hundred thousand dollars should be made by the client uninfluenced by the representative.

These are built-in conflicts of interest that undermine an agent’s ability to represent buyers. But even worse, these conflicts of interest are concealed from the client! The MLS refuses to reveal to consumers the SOC being offered on any property. Thus the buyer has no way of knowing that his “representative” may have a powerful self-intererst that is counter to the buyer’s.

Finally, I must note again one other example of how the system is inconsistent with an agent’s “representation” of a client. The client/buyer should have the right to select his/her own “representative.” After all, “representation” must arise out of a relationship built on trust. However, the seller’s SOC can be paid to ANYONE who sold the home, regardless of whether that person provided any representation at all. In other words, the fee paid is totally disconnected from the service ostensibly provided. Indeed, the fee is paid for a service — selling the home — that is INCONSISTENT with the service that the agent claims to provide.

In the final analysis, this state managed to get halfway to “buyer representation.” RCW 18.86 was a big step forward for buyers because agents now have at least some limited legal duties to their buyer clients (in the “good old days” EVERY agent worked for and had a duty ONLY to the seller, even if they only worked with a buyer). But they didn’t fix the underlying system. And that system seriously undermines the ability of agents to “represent” buyers.

To address this shortcoming, I formed Quill Realty. Every Quill client gets both an agent AND an attorney (and Quill pays the attorney’s fee). So Quill clients are truly “represented” in the transaction.


* Following “competing” posts by me and Ardell, Seattle Bubble asked its readers to weigh in, framing the issue as “Real Estate Agents: Advocates, or Dead Weight?” Both Ardell’s “rebuttal” and SB’s “poll” muddied my point significantly. I recognize that there are really great agents out there who do fantastic work for their clients and who hold themselves to an ethical standard that far exceeds what is required of them by law. My point is that there are substantial flaws in the system in which agents operate, and these flaws undercut an agent’s ability to truly “represent” his clients, particularly on the buyer side. Consumers should be able to rely on a fair SYSTEM and should not be charged with responsibility for finding one of the “good” agents. Similarly, its unfair and inaccurate — and overly inflammatory — to suggest that agents are EITHER an advocate or dead weight. That’s hyperbole, not a fair comparison, and serves only to inflame the passions of the audience, which again obscures my point. So from here on out, its “clinical” titles for me only.

Are you making your client homeless?

I’ve been wanting to warn sellers and seller’s agents about this for the last 10 days or so.  Courtney’s new post is a great lead in to this added consideration for sellers and listing agents.


Having had the benefit of working in a market exactly like this one, back in NJ/PA in 1992 or so, I think this warning will be timely advice for many.

When an agent is called to sell a house, they touch on the subject of “Where are you going to go when this house sells?” But most often the antennae of the agent is focusing on whether you will also be buying a house with them, or if they can get a referral fee by referring you to an out of area agent (usually 25% of the commission.)

WARNING TO SELLERS: IT IS VERY HARD TO GET A MORTGAGE.  In the last market like this, many sellers assumed that since they had a HUGE downpayment, they didn’t have to worry about qualifying for a mortgage on the house that they were planning to buy.  NOT SO!

Having 50% down and little income could leave you homeless, as NWMLS does not permit “provisional” listings.  There’s no turning back.

Here’s how it usually “plays out”:

1) Seller doesn’t want to look at homes until their house has a contract. With houses sometimes sitting on market for well over 100 days, looking at what you will buy when your house sells is often put off until you have an actual buyer for the home.

2) Once the contract is signed around, the seller goes out and makes an offer on a house they are buying with 30% to 50% down.

3) Often the seller and the agent for the seller of the home they are buying are so impressed with the big downpayment, everyone all the way around assumes that someone with that large of a downpayment can get a mortgage.

REMEMBER:  The buyer of a home has a legal out phase lasting about 10 days, but the seller does not have a legal out phase if they can’t get a house to go TO.

Often you can’t just go to the buyer and say, “Sorry.  I can’t buy a house so you can’t have mine.”

So to listing agents, I know you want that listing, and your are primarily interested in getting the seller to sign that listing contract.  But be careful that you are not making your clients homeless. If they are people living on a fixed income, saying they are planning to buy, part loan, your ears should perk up.  Make sure they check with a lender as to getting that loan…before you sell their house out from under them.

We are often in the business of “GETTING PEOPLE FROM HERE TO THERE” moreso than simply “selling houses”.  Don’t leave your seller’s homeless, as you walk off to the bank to cash your commission check for “selling their house”.

Short Sale Listings: Leaving Out Key Details Is Like Telling A Lie..

[Editors note: It’s always exciting to introduce a new author to RCG… and today I’m especially excited to introduce Courtney Cooper of Cooper Jacobs as the newest RCG contributor!  Far from a newbie, she’s been running an entertaining blog on ActiveRain for over a year now (and racked up tens of thousands of points in the process!), so I’m pretty sure she’ll have no problem making her impact on the RCG community.   Welcome Courtney!   ~Dustin]

Hello RCG!

Thanks Dustin and ARDELL for the encouragement! I am a huge fan of RCG and look forward to what lies ahead!

Pushing openness with short sale listings…

A lot has been written on Rain City Guide and elsewhere about short sales in the Seattle area, but 2008 had me working with far more buyers than sellers and one sentence kept popping up: “that house is a short sale

"Over-priced" Houses That Don't Sell

As I wander through the various message boards, I often read about people’s frustration regarding “over-priced houses that can’t possibly sell”.  To a buyer who likes the house, and is waiting for the price to be within reason, this can be very frustrating.

What they fail to understand is that every house that is for sale, is not necessarily going to be sold by the current owner. 

1) Divorce – Often in a divorce, one of the spouses is offered an option to buy out the other spouse.  In a market like this one, sometimes the agreed upon price must be tested.  Say the spouse who is leaving wants the buyout price to be $600,000. Let’s say they bought it for $400,000 and put $100,000 worth of improvements into it.   They put it on market for $$599,000 and keep reducing the price to $519,000.  Then it goes off market (this is a real case) and it never comes back on market.

Meanwhile, a buyer has been watching it, who wanted to buy it for $485,000.  He’s been watching it for 7 months.  He feels “used” and frustrated that it went off market before it hit an asking price of $499,950 .

Once the value was proven to be $400,000 plus $100,000 at best, the two spouses agree on the “buyout” amount, and one of them gets to stay in it.  It was only ON MARKET to prove to one of the spouses that the price of $600,000 was unrealistic.

2) Passive Aggressive – saying YES and meaning NO.  Husband and wife have a fight and the wife calls an agent to list the house, planning to get a divorce when the house sells.  Husband signs the listing paperwork at a price at which he knows it won’t sell.  He appears to be cooperating with the sale, and blames the market for the wife’s failed plans 🙂  They make up at some point, take the house off the market, and live “happily” ever after…until the next fight.

3) “Mom, you HAVE TO move” – Well meaning children tell Mom she’s too old to live in that big house all by herself.  She’s tired of hearing it, and agrees to put the house up for sale.  High price and awkward showing instructions.  “Can only be shown with listing agent present’ or “Can only be shown on weekdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and not on weekends”.

Sometimes these homes are on market from April through October, every year, year after year, with the price increasing every year.  Kids wonder why Mom’s house won’t sell, but they stop bugging her about her need to sell it.

4) Short Sale – Bank approves a sale price of $450,000.  House sits on market at $450,000.  No offers.  Owner can’t lower it below what bank has indicated they will take.  Bank won’t reduce the amount they will take, because they have an appraisal at $450,000.  House sits on market until someone buys it at foreclosure.  Some owners keep reducing it every couple of weeks, but mls says they can’t offer it at a “fake” price not ratified by the Bank…big Catch 22.

So when you look at the inventory of homes for sale, understand that they will not all be reduced to a price at which they will sell.  Often you will not get the real story about the seller’s motivation.

U.S. % Change in Home Prices

This chart reminds me of the crash in real estate prices in the late sixties when REIT (real estate investment trust) stock prices dropped to pretty much worthless.  I was still in high school, but the Courts got involved in the loss of value in trust portfolios, so I was looking at those in 1974 in my accounts.  I would think that today’s national drop in home prices emulate the drop in the late sixties to some degree.

I do recall in recent years warning people not to buy into REITs, but must admit I felt a bit “old-fashioned” at the time.  Once you see those losses, you don’t forgive or forget, somewhat like people who lived through the Depression.

This post is supplemental to last night’s post and as a result of the comments that follow in that post.  The source of this info is at the end of last night’s post for those who want to look at the detail.

U.S. YOY % Home Price Changes

U.S. YOY % Home Price Changes

Buying without an Agent — the Epilogue

This is not legal advice. For legal advice, contact an attorney.

Over the last year, I’ve posted several times on using an attorney — rather than a real estate agent — to purchase a home. As discussed in those posts, one of the biggest challenges in doing so is getting access to the properties that you may be interested in purchasing.

I am currently working with a couple looking to purchase their first home together. The did their homework — they searched the listings on the web and looked at numerous properties before deciding to make an offer. I asked them about their experience and if they had any difficulty. They told me that they actually looked at perhaps 10 homes (as opposed to the “drive-by”), and in only one instance did they have any trouble. In that case, they got the old “that’s not my job” reply from the listing agent when they called to schedule a viewing. In every other instance, the listing agent either met them at the property or, in several cases involving new listings, allowed my clients to attend a brokers’ opening (at my clients’ request).

So, if you’re thinking of going this route and saving some money in the process, it appears that listing agents are coming around to at least tolerating this approach. A 90% success rate seems pretty good. I guess the times, they really are a-changin’…

Tracking Homebuyer Activity

Last week an agent said to me, “I have had the same 6 or 7 buyers and sellers for the last 4 months.”  Reminded me of a waitress who couldn’t “turn a table” because the same people stayed all night long.

I decided to track homebuyer activity to see how many buyers who have been looking at homes for the last 30 days or so, have purchased one.  The little blue box on the doors of homes for sale tells us which agents have shown the property.  If you take that agent’s code number and plug it into the MLS, you can tell if that agent is involved in a pending or closed transaction in the same period of time. It’s not an exact science, but let’s see what we can find out.  As usual, I’m doing this in real time by tracking the agents as I write the post.

I pulled the records of 6 of my listings and the 56 showings by 48 agents they have had in the last 30 days or so.  34 of those 48 buyers have bought nothing. 2 bought my listings.  12 bought other properties (see below).  One of my listings in escrow during the same timeframe was purchased by the neighbor, so that pending transaction had no agent showing.  I’m not counting the times I showed the property myself or people who came through during an Open House.

Agent #1 showed the property 3 X in 2 days.  If you take the code # of the agent and plug it into the system, you will see that two days later that agent opened an escrow on a property that cost $250,000 more on a similar house nearby.

From that we can assume that the buyer of Agent #1 was weighing the choice of buying a fixer or spending $250,000 more for a similar home assessed for only $25,000 more.  It’s not unusual for someone to want a home that needs no work.  But spending $250,000 more to get one, is not all that common.  Especially one that doesn’t have more bedrooms or more bathrooms or much more square footage and is not in a better location.

Agent #3 showed the property twice and then the buyer purchased a newer townhome on the Eastside instead of a fixer single family home in Seattle.  This buyer spent $100,000 less.

Agent #5’s buyer bought my listing in Rivertrail in Redmond.

Agent #16’s buyer bought the house behind my listing in Seattle on a 2,800 sf lot vs. a 5,000 sf lot, listed for $6,000 less.  The price differential could have been $20,000 at the time.  I have to check the date of the showing vs. the date of the price change and the date the home behind it went into escrow.

Agent #19’s buyer bought a single family home in Downtown Kirkland vs. a townhome in Redmond for almost double the price.  (This one is more likely a different buyer with the same agent. Most of the agents listed as their buyer buying “Nothing” are agents who sold nothing at all, so it’s easier to be almost positive.  Though those 34 buyers could have bought something with a different agent, that’s not likely given the short timeframe tracked.

Agent #21s buyer went further south and bought a single family home instead of a condo for about $20,000 more.

Agent #22s buyer bought an “income qualified affordable ARCH” condo.  $20,000 more for twice the size and 1 additional bedroom.

Agent #24s. buyer bought a new townhome instead of an older craftsman that needed updating.

Agent #25s buyer spent $100,000 more and bought a house that needed less work.

Agent @26s buyer bought a condo in Capitol Hill vs. a fixer home in Green Lake.

Agent #28s buyer bought a newer home further away from Microsoft for $25,000 more (Newcastle)

Agent #36s buyer bought a new townhome (instead of an older SFH) further north in Seattle for $100,000 less.

Agent #37s buyer went to Shoreline vs. Green Lake and spent $100,000 less for a house that needed less or no work.

Agent #40s buyer bought my listing in Bellevue.

While I don’t intend to replace OBEO as “the expert in buyer behavior”, being able to track what buyers are actually doing, is a useful tool. This ability is only recent, as NWMLS just added the “selling agent” code ID to the data entered when registering a pending or closed sale.  It was the first (and only) thing I complained about back in 2004, and the change took place in June or July of 2008.  Many could not see the need to post the Buyer Agent info when recording a sale.

This feature offers an enormous advantage to our seller clients, who can now track via their listing agent, what the buyer did or didn’t do after seeing their home.

For listing agents, just write down the LAG# (agent code) of agents who show your listings.  Then you can track to see if they are putting anything at all into escrow…or not.  By seeing what the buyer chooses, you can determine if you need a price change, or if you need to make some condition improvements to your current listings.  There’s not much you can do if people don’t want a fixer and choose a new townhome instead. So before reducing the price based simply on time on market, assess the actual situation as carefully as possible.

Interesting side issues:

1)  Three of the agents are no longer agents at all, so I can no longer track them.  Showed my listing and then quit the business altogether 🙂

One of the agents’ buyers bought a Downtown Condo that had been on market for 4 1/2 months with no price reductions. Knowing WHY buyers are not choosing the property, by tracking their movements, can help owners decide whether you need to wait it out at the same price, or reduce the price.

Don’t buy into an automatic reverse auction of reducing the price every X days. Track what those buyers are doing, and plan and change your strategy accordingly.  A lower price isn’t going to turn a fixer craftsman into a new townhome.  Sometimes waiting longer for the right buyer IS the answer.  But if people are buying similar homes nearby for less…then a price reduction is in order.

Fishing season is officially open!

To this title you might ask, “which salmon is available?”  Well, I’m not really talking about fish with scales and fins here.  What we’ve noticed over the past month is that the fishing with low offers is getting pretty common in a lot of price ranges.  These occurred in neighborhoods ranging all over the area too including Greenwood, Phinney Ridge (x2), Bellevue (Bridle Trails), and Mercer Island.

Some of these properties I can understand the desire of investors to lowball and get a bargain.  One of these homes I had listed was already priced to be a good value for the neighborhood so my clients completely ignored some extremely low all cash offers from an investor because they weren’t THAT motivated to sell – meaning, we’d only been on market for about 30 days.  Now, 2 years ago being on market that period of time would have made some people nervous but, realistically, most homes take longer than just a few hours to sell or even just a couple of weeks. So, we ignored the first 2 ridiculous offers and another one came along (still low). We put forward a counter with a very small price change and the buyers took it. WAKE UP CALL!  We’re not in a buyer’s market in the Puget Sound region.  We’re in a balanced market.

What I’ve noticed in talking with all of the agents submitting offers for these various listings I have is that they’ve all bought into their client’s mindset of thinking that “it’s a buyer’s market” and they should be able to really drop prices via their offers. But the agents aren’t helping their clients by doing the work associated with helping “sell” those offers.

Yes, there are some sellers out there that are still hanging on and desperately wishing for the days of the high flying markets we had for 5+ years, but reality is kicking in for most and the scales are becoming more balanced.  This isn’t the rust belt where the economy has sunk and houses have sunk lower.  If you’re a listing agent you had better be able to justify your pricing.  And, if you’re a buyer’s agent you should do the same for your offer.  One lowball offer we received my partner went back and asked the guy to submit his comps that supported the offer.  The agent’s reply was, “well, I don’t have any, it’s just what they wanted to offer.”  Our client almost completely ignored their offer except for some details we pointed out that led us to believe they’d accept a counteroffer with a minor price change – and it worked.

Another listing had an agent providing comps but they just solidified my client’s view that our pricing was right on. We did go ahead and submit a counter with a faster closing date and some small concessions that we expect will be accepted.

I will admit though that with a couple of my buyer clients, who are not in a hurry to buy, we’re doing some of this offer roulette.  We submitted an offer on a MI house for about $100k less than asking price but we also put forward our pricing analysis and comps that supported the price point.  The house had had several large price drops based on other agent feedback as well and it was definitely a cosmetic fixer.  It might have worked out for my clients except that the house got another offer the same day – it was still a very low offer but not as low as ours so the seller started negotiating with them.  But, that’s okay because my clients are willing to wait for the right deal for them.  This house was going to need roughly $200-400k in updates over time so from a cost perspective the price we offered was what they were willing to spend knowing the costs they’d incur later.

Having watched the low offers come in for one of our listings my client provided the impetus for this post by saying in an email, “well, it looks like fishing season is officially open!”  I’m glad that she’s got a good head on her shoulders and a good sense of humor too.  These are the clients you really enjoy working with especially when you can have sensible discourse with regard to your work together, market conditions, strategy, and more.

Happy fishing!