Saturday, April 24, 2010

Upshot on 724 University (pictured below)

See update below!
I listed the house at 724 University, in Burbank, a cosmetic fixer, for $559k.  It received 17 offers within one week.
Our seller chose the all cash offer with no contingencies.  That was not the highest purchase price offer, but it was quite a bit over the list price. We have several strong back-up offers, too. Here are some other numbers:

Open house attendees: 130+.  Partner Michele and I couldn't keep track of everybody. 
Offers from extremely financially well-qualified buyers: 16.  I’ve never seen so many high FICO scores (over 775) in my life.
Offers with over 20% down payment: 14.  One was as high as 42% down.
Offers at list price or higher: 14
People disappointed at the outcome: 16.

This process wasn’t fun.  We just really got a sense that the potential buyers had a lot of hopes and dreams riding on this outcome.  Many of the buyers had already put in good offers on other properties and had gotten aced out by other buyers.  Many also have children that they’d like to get into the excellent public school for the neighborhood.  And this gave me the feeling that we were messing up the buyers’ lives who didn’t get the house.  In retrospect, we should have listed it higher, but we believed the asking price was in line with the comps.  Yes, we probably would have still gotten multiple offers, but it wouldn’t quite have been such a carnival of disappointment.  This experience also confirms my belief that underpricing a home for sale isn’t the right thing to do just to draw multiple offers.  My experience lately has been that if a house is priced to sell at or around the asking price, it will sell just as quickly as if it is artificially underpriced.

A couple of other things:  we had virtually no print advertising for the open house.  Our 130+ people came strictly from internet and mls advertising.  I conclude that print advertising really is a thing of the past.

I was surprised when two separate buyer groups showed us proof of funds to close – in other people’s names!  Um, kinda fraudulent, yes?  Did they think we wouldn't actually look at the documentation?
Update April 28, 2010: we're already in escrow with the 1st back up buyers.  What happened: the first buyers were paying all cash and had submitted an offer without any contingencies.  We were dubious about this, but these terms were too good for our seller to pass up. Sure enough, late Monday morning, the buyers' agent called me to say that the buyer wanted $20,000 (!) back based on the physical condition AND wanted to get a loan.  Uh, no.  Here's your deposit back; go in peace.  The buyers in the backup position stepped up (for a higher price, too) and we're now in escrow with them.  (Gossip: the agent who wanted to renegotiate the terms for her buyer the minute we opened escrow is a member of a prominent Glendale real estate family.) Stay tuned!


  1. Phyllis Harb4:28 PM

    Judy, I agree that deliberately grossly underpricing is cruel. I don't understand why so many other Realtors seem to get a thrill from it.

    Amazing, price to sell and boy does it! Congratulations on your sale.

  2. Great post, Judy. This is the kind of posting that keeps me coming back to your blog!

    I really value the hard statistics you offer here, and the update on the deal as it unfolds, wrinkles and all. Thanks for taking the time to include so many details.


  3. Judy Graff8:50 AM

    Thanks, Al! Tell your friends.