James Frangella, Monterey, Carmel, Pacific Grove real estate specialist
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Monterey real estate, James Frangella
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by James Frangella
Written on 5/15/2008 7:00pm PT

“Gold-plated, you say.” I wiggled the tip of my finger in my ear to clear out the hearing canal. I wasn’t sure if I heard that correctly.

“Yes siree, gold-plated sixteen penny nails and extra thick two by fours were used to build this place,” the seller said with a smirk and wink. “And that’s why I want the price I want for my house! I’m not going to give it away.”

I’m not making this up. True story, honestly. Although I finally realized he was pulling my leg. Sort of. He was making a point and his point was that he didn’t care what the house across the street or up the street or even around the block sold for. His house was better … much better by at least hundreds of thousands of dollars. There was inherent value, never to be seen by the human eye (or an appraiser’s eye) and never to be touched by the hands of any potential buyer (or home inspector).

The hardest decision any real estate agent can make. Take the listing or not take the listing. I chose not to. The other agent never did sell it but I heard she sold one around the corner (it was priced realistically) to a buyer who came through the open house. So there was a happy ending but not for the gold-plated seller or me. And this all took place in 2004, one of the hottest markets of our time.

Believe it or not, not everything flew off the shelves in those days. As a matter of fact, Carmel (with the most sold properties of the Peninsula area cities in 2004) had 296 solds out of 393 active listings for the year. There were 97 that didn’t sell. I wonder why. Must have been the extra thick two by fours.

How can that be? How could a house not sell in any market? Simply put, it was … are you ready? I’m going to give you the answer right this second … overpriced. Properties do not sell in any market if they suffer from the disease of overprice-itis. How does one know if their property is afflicted? That’s an easy one because it didn’t sell or receive any offers within the first 30 days.

The opposite of an over priced property is one that is priced right. Now, I just spoke to an agent the other day about one of my listings and we were talking about comparable sales in the neighborhood. I mentioned a property that two of my colleagues at the Keller Williams office in Del Rey Oaks had just listed.

It received multiple offers on the first day and one of those full-priced offers (maybe a bidding war?) was immediately accepted. Remember now, we are talking multiple offers in today’s gluttonous market! He also knew of that property and said it didn’t count as a comparable because it was under-priced and sold too quickly.

Whaaaaat??? I thought there were only two kinds of prices in real estate: the over-price and the right price. I didn’t know there was a third and here I am with 18 years of experience in the business. That’s what I love about the real estate industry. I’m always learning something new! All this time I thought if your home sold quickly it was priced right.

One of my mentors in this business is a broker with twice the years of my experience. I respect her tremendously as she is just a powerhouse and an icon in the real estate community. She once told me that there were two things that sell houses: marketing and price.

Most agents do a bang-up job of marketing. It basically means that your property will be receiving the widest exposure to potential buyers as possible. From internet inclusion to color brochures, from TV shows to open houses and whatever else, there is no way a buyer is not going to know what is on the market in this day and age.

However, pricing is actually controlled by the seller. The seller decides to sell at the price they choose, not the agent. The agent brings to the table all the facts, figures, charts, graphs, 8 x 10 glossy photos and everything else needed to support the right price for your local market. The agent’s other job is to bring offers for you to choose from or better yet, an offer at your asking price. Then you just accept it and off to the title company you go!

There is an entire field devoted to real estate pricing. As a matter of a fact, a plethora of advice and information is available on the Internet.  Just google it.

In summary, a seller has two choices: to sell their home or not to sell. The agent also has two choices: list to sell or list not to sell. Remember this one little fact: anything will sell if it's priced right or maybe it's under-priced … either way should work. And you don’t have to give it away either! Why you can even throw in a couple of gold-plated nails with the right price!