Home Sellers and the Trappings of the Foolhardy Flaw

I was recently told an all-too familiar story.

A home seller had decided to list their home.

Their real estate agent had used comps to come up with the best sales price. The sellers agreed to price their home with room to negotiate, ten thousand above their comps. They signed their listing agreement and prepared for their home to be listed the following day.

Their agent called that evening; he had a potential buyer who wanted to see the home right away. The sellers agreed to an early showing.

The buyers loved the home and quickly followed up with a full-price offer.

Now, had that offer come in a week or more after the listing had been live, the home seller would have been happy and elated to get the home under contract at full price. After all, they had believed they may need to negotiate a bit. And showings are draining.

But. Because they had received a full price offer so quickly, they fell into a classic brain trap.

They wondered, “Oh shoot, did I list my home too low?” “Should I raise the price?”

This is a classic conundrum that’s too easy to answer[i].

Be happy and grateful you received your price so quickly and move forward.

Please don’t ask for a higher price under the guise “it’s just business”. Profit-seeking sucks all the energy out of the transaction. It ruins the magic.[ii]

You can call it business tactics and you wouldn’t be wrong. But your reputation is on the line and there’s somebody else sitting across from you.

How would you feel if the tables were turned?

Or how would you feel if the buyer said “no,” and the next offer was lower, and months away.

I’m telling you right now, if I was that buyer I would absolutely say no. Buyers hold the power; even when they think they don’t; because they can choose to say no.

There are always more houses, extreme patience be damned.

I’ll be blunt. The market is turning. What kind of fool would you be to say no to a full price offer under shifting economics? That said, regardless of the market my advice would likely remain the same.

Before you list your home and before you set your price, determine your goal. Determine what you’re happy to walk away with. Then stick with it.

The minute you change your price, change your mind- you lose trust, you lose magic.

It’s not an uncommon conundrum. In fact, a Redditor just posted a similar question to the masses.

Is there a name for this common brain-hiccup; does anyone know what it is?

If there is no name, let’s make one up.

The foolhardy flaw? I’m open to suggestions.

Thanks for reading,

HouseRat Zero


[i] I am not your real estate agent; if this is a real situation you’re in, consult with your hired professional rather than listen to me, a stranger on the internet.

[ii] Seth Godin touches on this in his book, The Icarus Deception. Pg. 207 discusses generosity and art as a gift. Homes fall under this umbrella as they are an art and a gift. I reject over-commodifying the home selling process. You can profit while being fair. There is no need to be greedy. There’s no need to feed on desperation.

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