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VOL. 40 | NO. 41 | Friday, October 7, 2016

Offering $5,000 above asking price is now too predictable

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With the presidential election looming, this is the time of year that my wife and I strike out into the neighborhoods with pen and paper in hand in order to count campaign signs in front yards. This practice was begun in the 2000 election, and the results have been startling in all elections, be they local, state, or federal.

With a margin of error of less than 2 percent over the years, the yard sign poll has provided data predicting how each of the races will go.

There were almost no signs out until two weeks ago, with the exception of Chris Moth, who is running against Tennessee House Speaker Beth Harwell and has had a successful early yard sign campaign.

Two weeks ago – almost overnight – U.S Rep. Jim Cooper staked his claim as signs blossomed all over his district. In the same fashion, Harwell’s signs dotted her district last week.

And now, the results for the presidential election as determined by the infallible Beth and Richard Courtney Yard Sign Poll after having driven past thousands of yards all over the city. Yards have offered thousands of votes citywide in past years. This year, it’s a tie, three to three, with Gary Johnson receiving two votes. No one is for either of them.

Sale of the Week

The venerable Karen Baker of Crye-Leike Realtors can start a ruckus when it comes to listing a home and creating a multiple-offer scenario for her seller. And that’s exactly what she did with her listing at 6652 Autumnwood Drive in the established Poplar Creek Estates in Bellevue.

In the case of the Autumnwood listing, owners provided Baker with great material for her property description, in which she noted the “new roof, new windows, doors, flooring, fresh paint, fixtures, stainless appliances, new kitchen cabinets, granites counters and updated baths.”

She went to great lengths to alert potential buyers that the garage has an entrance from the side, lest drivers-by would have to see two garage doors leering at them from the front of the home.

As Metro schools improve, there will be less mention of schools in the advertisements of Realtors. But for now, the good schools receive the shout-outs, and Harpeth Valley Elementary has elevated itself into the category of great public schools and is being glorified in the ads of Realtors, the adverts of those that have immigrated from the UK.

Baker set the rules of engagement: “All offers will be reviewed after the open house on Sunday.”

The wise and Bellevue-savvy Lise Deschenes of Fridrich and Clark Realty won the battle of the Belle with her offer of $282,500, a brilliant offer inasmuch as it extinguished any offers that chose to come in at $5,000 over list price, a practice so overused that it has become cliché.

And by coming in at $8,500 more than asking, she overwhelmed those who had inched upward with offers, $1,000 or $2,000 over list. In the cases of the popular properties that will eventually be decided silent auction-style – silent to the extent that there is no verbal communication – offers more than the traditional $5,000, $10,000 or, in many cases now, even $20,000 more may have the edge.

For example, many may offer $10,000 more and think they have been generous in their offers, yet someone offering $11,500 will take the prize.

Some buyers eager to win the bidding war suggest they should offer $5,000 or $10,000 more than best offer. According to some in the legal profession, those offers are only valid if they have a cap, or a “not to exceed” amount.

Others worry about how the listing agent will disclose what the best offer is.

Additionally, sharing the contract that could include sensitive financial information of another buyer has been discouraged by many of the managing brokers of various real estate firms.

Many feel the best way to purchase the house in a multiple-offer situation is to pay as much as the buyer feels comfortable.

If another bidder pays more, the buyer is at ease with the result.

If the home appears to have been well-maintained, or, as in the case of this house, all new, the buyer may choose to purchase the house in “as is” condition but reserve the right to inspect the property in order to ensure that there are no catastrophes brewing.

This may bode well for the buyer since that offer will often be viewed as more acceptable than an offer that may include the standard verbiage requiring sellers to make repairs.

As for the buyer, if the inspection reveals some drastic deficiency, the chances are that the owner will want to make the repairs for their own well-being even though the contract does not call for such an action.

Or, if the defect is one that would force the seller to amend the property condition disclosure, the seller will often opt to make the repairs.

Additionally, with the house having been removed from the market for the 14 days often allowed for the inspections, the momentum is gone, and anyone with a back-up contract will want to know why the primary contract moved on to more stable pastures.

So the owners can be held hostage to repairs even in an “as is “sale.

Richard Courtney is a real estate broker with Christianson, Patterson, Courtney, and Associates and can be reached at richard@richardcourtney.com

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