What Turns Sellers Off (and Kill Deals)


5 Things Home Buyers Do That Turn Sellers Off (and Kill Deals)

In today’s market, every savvy seller wants to know what turns buyers off, so they can get their homes sold as quickly as possible, for as much as possible. But buyers, take note – there is a minefield of seller turn-offs you can trigger that hold the potential to keep you from getting the home you want at the best price and terms, or to unnecessarily complicate dealings with your home’s seller.

Lest you think all of today’s sellers are under the gun and will just put up with whatever behavior buyers dish out, be aware that there are still many multiple offer situations in which buyers have to compete with each other to get a home – buyers who trigger these turnoffs tend to lose in those scenarios. Also, avoiding these seller turnoffs can create a transactional environment of cooperation and avoid things turning adversarial. That, in turn, can empower you to score a better price, get extra items you want thrown into the deal, and even negotiate more flexibility around your escrow and move-in timelines – all perks that can make your life easier and your budget go further.

For sellers, these turnoffs pose the potential of irritating you out of an otherwise good deal – maybe even the only deal you have!

Here’s a few of the most common buyer-perpetuated seller turnoffs, with tips for sellers on how to keep an emotional (and economic) even keel, even if your home’s buyer makes some of these waves:

  1. Trash-talking. Trash-talkers are the home buyers who think they’re going to negotiate the list price down by slamming the house, telling the sellers how little it is really worth, how the house across the street sold for nothing, why the school on the corner should make them desperate to give the place away, etc. This strategy never works; in fact, when you attack a seller and their home, you only cause them to be defensive, and think up all the reasons that (a) their home is not what you say it is, and (b) they shouldn’t sell their home to you!Sometimes this happens with buyers who actually love a house and just walk around it fantasizing about all the ways they would customize it to their tastes while a seller is there.Sellers: avoid being at home while your home is being shown.

    Buyers: save your commentary for your agent; if you do encounter the seller in person keep your conversation respectful and avoid critiquing the house or the list price.

  2. Being unqualified for mortgage financing. When a seller signs a buyer’s offer, most often the seller agrees to effectively pull the home off the market, forgoing other buyers who might be interested. As such, the only thing worse than getting no offers on your home is getting an offer, getting into contract, then having the whole thing fall apart when the buyer’s loan falls through – especially if that could have been predicted or avoided up front.Sellers: Work with your agent to vet your home’s buyers’ qualifications, including their loan approval, down payment and earnest money deposit – before you sign a contract. It’s not overkill for your agent to call the buyers’ mortgage pro before you sign the contract and get a level of comfort for how robust their qualifications are.Buyers: Get pre-approved. Seriously. And make sure that you don’t buy a car, quit your job, deposit lottery winnings or do any other financial twitchery between the time you get loan approval and the time you close escrow on your home.
  3. Making unjustified lowball offers. No one likes to feel like they are being taken advantage of. And sellers generally know the ballpark amount that their home is worth, as well as what they need to sell it for to get their mortgage paid off. Yes – the price you pay for a home should be driven by its fair market value, rather than the seller’s financial needs, and deals are more available in a market like the current one, in which supply so vastly outpaces demand. But just throwing uber-lowball offers out at sellers hoping one will hit the spot is not generally a successful strategy, especially if you really, really want a given property.Sellers: Don’t get overly emotional about receiving a lowball offer; counter at the price you and your agent decide makes sense based on the total circumstances, including your motivation level, recent comps and the interest/activity level your listing is receiving.Buyers: Work through the similar, nearby homes that have recently sold (a/k/a comparables) before you make an offer to factor the home’s fair market value into your offer price – also factor in how much you want the place, too. Don’t be amazed if you make an offer far below asking, and don’t get a response.
  4. Renegotiating mid-stream. Sellers plan their finances, moves and – to some extent – their lives around the purchase price a buyer agrees to pay for their home. If you get into contract to buy a home, find out during inspections that costly repairs need to be made, then propose a lower sale price, repair credit or even actual repairs to the seller, that’s sensible and fair. But if you were aware that the property needed a lot of work before you made an offer on it, then you come back asking for beaucoup bucks’ worth of credit or price reductions midstream, expect the seller to cry foul. And holding the seller up two weeks into the transaction because you caught a case of buyer’s remorse? Not cool, and not likely to foster the spirit of cooperation you may need to get your deal closed.Sellers: avoid mid-stream price renegotiations by having a full set of inspection reports and repair bids at hand when you list your home.Buyers: try to avoid renegotiating the entire deal unless you get some major surprises at your inspections or inflating small repairs to try to justify a major price cut.
  5. Misleading or setting the seller up. Remember when we talked about buyer turn-offs? Being misled by listing photos or very fluffy property descriptions was high on the list. The same goes for sellers.Offering way over asking with the plan to hammer the seller for a reduction when the house doesn’t appraise at the purchase price? #LAME Making an as-is offer planning the whole time to come back and ask for every penny ante repair called out by the inspectors? Lame squared.Sellers: If you get multiple offers and are tempted to take a sky-high one or one that claims to be all cash, consider requesting proof that the buyer has sufficient funds to make up the difference between what you think the home will appraise for and the actual sale price, and statements showing the cash truly exists.Buyers: Don’t be lame. I’m not saying you have to tell the seller exactly what your top dollar is, but making offers with terms designed to intentionally mislead is really, really bad form – and can result in losing the home entirely if and when your bluff gets called.

Chamber Sports Federation Leader

Intracoastal Realty Corporation announced that Jimmy Hopkins will lead the Intracoastal team in the 2011 Wilmington Chamber of Commerce’s annual sustainable resources development campaign, which kicked off March 23 with a reception for volunteers at the Chamber. The annual campaign raises funds needed to finance new and existing Chamber programs, events and publications. A talented team composed entirely of volunteers raises these funds through the recruitment of new members and by securing sponsorships and advertising sales.

The Campaign 2011 goal is $245,000. A sports theme—the Chamber Sports Federation—has been designed to bring excitement, entertainment and fun to the Campaign. At the kickoff, volunteers got into the spirit by wearing shirts from their college alma maters and heard inspirational messages from legendary coaches and sports figures.

Intracoastal Realty has participated in this annual campaign for the past eight consecutive years, with representatives serving as Team Captains and Division Leaders, as well as being consistent Top Producers. Hopkins has volunteered for the past three years, representing the New Homes division of Intracoastal Realty.


L to R: John Lyons, Campaign 2011 Chair, Melisa Gallison, Intracoastal Team, Jimmy Hopkins, Intracoastal Team Captain, Brett Barnes, Campaign Division Leader.

? Mystery Agent ?

Each week at our sales meeting we have a “Mystery Agent.”  This gives us a chance to learn more about one of our colleagues that we may not have known otherwise.

Intracoastal Realty Mystery Agent

Clues for this week’s Mystery Agent:

  • Won State Championship in 4-H Barrel races in high school
  • Played baseball in high school
  • Can embalm a body
  • NC Native
  • Accepted to the US Naval Academy but instead went to Chapel Hill
  • 1 1/8 Cherokee
  • Family can trace themselves back to the Mayflower
  • Ran the DC Marathon
  • Ran a 5 mile race in College for their fraternity initiation. Stopped every ½ mile to take a shot of tequila and won the race!
  • Their first job was on the Presidential campaign.

Can you guess who this is???

Here’s the link that unveils our mystery agent!

Intracoastal Wins “Best Interactivity” Award

Intracoastal Realty Earns Website Award at Global Real Estate Conference in Las Vegas

Wilmington, NC – Intracoastal Realty is proud to announce it is the recipient of a Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® Website Quality Certification (WQC) Award for its website, www.intracoastalrealty.com. The award was presented March 10 at the 2011 Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® Conference at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, which attracted 800 real estate brokers, managers, relocation professionals, sponsors and guests from across the U.S. and eight countries worldwide.

Intracoastal Realty was the winner in the category of Best Interactivity. The company’s use of blogs, interactive maps, lifestyle searches, links to social media sites, and other features were noted as important components in providing the consumer with the ultimate online real estate experience.

The WQC was introduced in 2009 to recognize and encourage superior websites among Leading Real Estate Companies of the World’s 600 member firms. Intracoastal Realty is one of 111 applicants to earn the designation this year.

Intracoastal Realty is the local representative of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®, the largest network of over 600 premier locally-branded firms producing almost $250 billion in annual home sales. LeadingRE provides a broad range of brokerage services to its affiliates, including lead generation, branding support, luxury marketing, Web exposure and technology systems, and state of the art learning and credentialing.

Pictured below: Jim Wallace accepts the Best Interactivity award from Harold Crye, Chairman of the Board of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®, at the convention in Las Vegas.

2011-3-WQC with Jim

Pleasure Island Events

March 26th Carolina Beach will be hosting 15th Annual Budweiser Wing Fling, Live Music By: Bag of Toys, Machine Gun, Tim Elliott and the Wheels. Event starts at 11:30am and is located at Cape Fear Blvd. Tickets are $15 and must be purchased in advance. For more information go to http://www.wilmingtonwingfling.com/wf/

March 19th through May 7th Pleasure Island Fresh Market at Carolina Beach Marina every Saturday from 8am to 1pm (910) 805-3014

May 14th through August 27th Carolina Beach Farmers Market every Saturday (910) 431-8122 8am – 1:00pm

April 1st on Friday, American Legion Fish Fry 11:00am to 7pm (910) 458-4253

April 1st and 2nd, Suncoast Cruiser “Back to the Beach” Car Show
(910) 231-6877

April 16th – 11th Annual Chowder Cook-Off (910) 458-8434

April 30th – Kure Beach Annual Street Fair (910) 458-8216
Held at Joe Eakes Park in Kure Beach

April 30th – Miss Pleasure Island Beauty Pageant (910) 798-6405

Weather – The weather has been nice and warm, next week we will have a slight cooling trend with some rain.

Real Estate – last week there were 4 new listings, 7 under contract and 3 closed sales.

For more information about Pleasure Island events and activities go to www.pleasureislandnc.org

Mystery Agent?

Each week at our sales meeting we have a “Mystery Agent.”  This gives us a chance to learn more about one of our colleagues that we may not have known otherwise.

Clues for this week’s Mystery Agent:

    • Was formerly an EMT at a local plant
    • Received prestigious Company award in 1978 due to saving three children from a burning car after being hit by a drunk driver (with speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour). Performing CPR for over 30 minutes on the 8-year old girl saved her life. Still remains in contact with this child
    • Life-long area resident
    • Attended Bradley Creek Elementary (now the Arboretum) and grew up in the Seagate Community
    • Received a basketball scholarship at Wayne Community College as a walk-on (having only played Intramural ball during high school)
    • Daughter cheered for UNCW for 4 years
    • Daughter’s cheerleading squad was 5 time National Champion
    • Used to be on the King Mackerel Tournament Trail, fishing and winning (several tournaments) up and down the Eastern Seaboard
    • Formerly owned a seafood open air market/restaurant
    • Has Masters Captain license
    • Currently running in-shore Charters (in case you need to know who to call for any of your clients, friends or families) along with Real Estate

Can you guess who this is???

Here’s the link that unveils our mystery agent!

5 Mortgage and Foreclosure Myths

In a mortgage market that changes as quickly as this one, today’s fact is tomorrow’s fiction. For buyers, misinformation can be the difference between qualifying for a home loan or not. Sellers and owners, knowledge is foreclosure-preventing, smart decision-making power! Without further ado, let’s correct some common mortgage misconceptions.

  1. Myth: Buyers with bad credit can’t qualify for home loans. Obviously, mortgage guidelines have tightened up, big time, since the housing bubble burst, and they seem likely to tighten even further over the long-term. But just this moment, they have relaxed a bit. In the last couple of weeks, two of the nation’s largest lenders of FHA loans announced that they’ve dropped the minimum FICO score guideline from 620 (which allows for some credit imperfections) to 580, which is actually a fairly low score.At a FICO score of 620, buyers can qualify for FHA loans at many lenders with only 3.5 percent down. With a score of 580, the lenders are looking for more like 5 to 10 percent down – they want to see you put more of your own skin in the game, and the higher down payment lowers the risk that you’ll default. However, if your credit has taken a recessionary hit, like that of so many Americans, this might create a glimmer of hope that you’ll be able to take advantage of low prices and interest rates without needing years of credit repair.Myth: The Mortgage Interest Deduction isn’t long for this world. Homeowners saved over $85 billion in 2008 by deducting their mortgage interest on their income tax returns. A few months ago, the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform caused a massive wave of fear to ripple throughout the world of real estate consumers and professionals when they recommended Mortgage Interest Deduction (MID) reform, which would dramatically reduce the size of the deduction.

    Fact is, the Commission made a sweeping set of deficit-busting recommendations to Congress, a few of which are likely to be adopted. Fortunately for buyers and sellers, MID reform is not one of them. Very powerful industry groups and economists have been working with Congress to plead the case that MID reform any time in the near future would only handicap the housing recovery. Congress-folk aren’t interested in stopping the stabilization of the real estate market. As such, the MID is nearly universally thought of as safe – even by those who disagree that it should be.

  2. Myth: It’s just a matter of time before loan guidelines loosen up. The US Treasury Department recently recommended the elimination of mortgage industry giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. I won’t get into the eye-glazing details of it here, but the long and the short is that (a) this is highly likely to happen, and (b) it will make mortgage loans much harder and costlier to get, for both buyers and homeowners. It’s possible that loans are as easy to get as they’re going to get. So don’t expect that if you hold out, zero-down mortgages will come back into vogue anytime soon. Fortunately, Fannie and Freddie aren’t likely to disappear for another 5-7 years, so you have a little time to pull your down payment and credit together. If you want to get into the market, the time to get yourself ready is now!
  3. Myth: If you don’t have equity, you can’t refi. Much ado is being made about how stuck so many people are in their bad loans, because they don’t have the equity to refinance their way out of them. If you’re severely upside down (meaning you own much, much more than your home is worth), stuck may be the situation. But there are actually a couple of ways homeowners can refi their underwater home loans. If your loan is held by Fannie or Freddie (which you can find out, here), they will actually refinance it up to 125% of its current value, assuming you otherwise qualify for the loan. That means, if your home is worth $100,000, you could refinance a loan up to $125,000, despite the fact that your home can’t secure the full amount of the loan.If your loan is not owned by Fannie or Freddie, you might be a candidate for the FHA “Short Refi” program. While most mortgage workout plans are only available to people who are behind on their loans, the Short Refi program is only available to homeowners who are current on their mortgages and need to refinance up to 115 percent of their homes’ value. So, if you owe $250,000 on your home, you can refinance via an FHA Short Refi even if your home’s value is as low as $217,000. If you think you’re a good candidate for a short refi, contact your mortgage broker, stat – there are some in Congress who think that this program is so underutilized (only 245 applications have been submitted since it rolled out in September – no typo!) that its funding should be diverted to other needy programs.
  4. Myth: If you’ve lost your job and can’t make your mortgage payment, you might as well mail your keys in. Until recently, this was essentially true – virtually every loan modification and refinancing opportunity required that your economic hardship be over before you could qualify. And documenting income has always been high on the requirements checklist. But there are some new funds available in the states with the hardest hit housing and job markets, which have been designated specifically for out-of-work homeowners.The US Treasury Department’s Hardest Hit Fund allocated $7.6 billion to the states listed below – all of which are now using some portion of these funds to offer up to $3,000 per month for up to 36 months in mortgage payment assistance to help unemployed homeowners avoid foreclosure. Contact the North Carolina state agency listed below if you need this sort of help:
    North Carolina: www.ncforeclosureprevention.gov

The 5 W’s of Realtor Benefits: Who, What, When, Where, Why

2011-3-WwWhen it comes time to buy or sell a home, there is nothing more valuable than the industry knowledge, expertise, and guidance a real estate professional brings to the table. Today’s consumers realize that now is the time to have an expert in place to navigate them through their real estate transactions. Here are the 5 W’s of Realtor benefits, according to the latest surveys of real estate professionals.

Who thinks it’s important to use a REALTOR®?

95 percent reported that working with a real estate professional is just as important, if not more important, than it was just a few years ago. After working with their agents, 68 percent of buyers and sellers rated their agent with a six or seven, on a 7-point satisfaction scale. This high level of consumer confidence reinforces the credibility of real estate professionals.

What qualities are important in a REALTOR®?

First on the list is trustworthiness followed by experience, willingness to look out for a client’s interest, expertise in negotiating contracts, responsiveness, familiarity with contracts, and knowledge of the local community. What this means is consumers are seeking more than simple guidance, they are looking for an expert they can trust to execute a step-by-step process throughout the entire transaction.

When is a REALTOR® usually contacted?

In years past, the agent was the first step in the home buying or selling process. Today, Internet-savvy consumers can gather information and educate themselves, long before contacting an agent.

Where do you find REALTOR®?

Of those who already have a realtor, 48 percent found their agent by way of referral. Approximately 80 percent of consumers stated that they would recommend their agent to a friend or family member, especially those that purchased or sold a home in the past twelve months. Intracoastal agents are committed to making sure that their client’s interests come first. Our agents are all are experienced, full time, “people-oriented” real estate professionals who are committed to excellent service for sellers and buyers and dedicated to keeping them informed on marketing progress.

Why is list with a REALTOR®?

Today’s housing market is no time to go it alone. 60 percent of home owners who used a REALTOR® to sell their home were successful compared to 39 percent of For Sale by Owners. Most importantly, would they do it again? 88 percent of home owners who sold their homes using a REALTOR® said they would use a REALTOR® again. This is an important statement because consumers understand how vital a real estate professional is to the process.