When Kyle McCorkel was looking for his family’s next home, he knew the search would be an uphill battle. A real estate investor by day, McCorkel was keenly aware of the warmth of housing. So when the perfect property emerged in October – a four-bedroom Colonial-style home in Hershey, Pa. – McCorkel was ready to get creative to make a deal.
Apparently it would take a bit of a wait.
“Their only eventuality was that they had to spend this last Christmas in their beloved home,” says McCorkel, owner of Safe Home Offer. “I voluntarily forced it. I don’t think a lot of buyers are willing to wait two to three months to settle in and move into their new home. (He’s right: the typical house only took 50 days to close in September).
Still, idiosyncratic homeowner demands like these have become increasingly common in the extreme seller market of 2021. And the one McCorkel met? He might even be considered tame.
This is because with a record housing supply and growing demand from buyers, sellers have clearly had the upper hand for some time now. Most use this leverage to cash out. According to a survey from Realtor.com, about 26% of homeowners plan to list their home next year. Among this group, more than a third say they do so to “take advantage of the market and make a profit”. Even more speaking? Over 40% plan to ask for more money than they realize for their home’s value.
It’s not all about profits, however. In fact, industry professionals say some sellers have taken their demands much further this year – making jaw-dropping demands in the process.
As Ryan Dosenberry, owner of Lakeshore Homebuyers in Michigan, says, “Without a doubt, this year has been the real estate wild west. To say it was a sellers’ market is an understatement.
How wild has it gotten, though? Here are the most extreme seller requirements we could muster.
The sellers sold their pets with the house
Buy the house, have a new pet too? Apparently it was one thing this year. Several agents saw sellers including furry friends in their house sales.
Ben Fisher, an agent for The Fisher Group Park City Luxury Real Estate, had one of these sellers in February – a discovery he said left him “speechless for a moment.”
“The guy looked great, and everything was going so well until he came up with the strangest request I’ve ever heard,” Fisher said. “The gentleman had a companion dog named Jimmy, and he wanted to let the buyer keep the dog with the house.”
According to the owner, Jimmy – a friendly Golden Retriever – was born in the house and had an emotional attachment to it. Although the request seemed a challenge at first, Fisher eventually managed to find an animal lover willing to agree to the two-for-one deal.
“She was thrilled to have Jimmy as a pet,” says Fisher.
Sellers took parts of the house (or yard) with them
While sellers are clearly keen on making their home profitable this year, some just couldn’t part with parts of their property. Take a salesperson who recently demanded that he guard the toilet seat in the master bedroom of the house.
“At first I thought it was a joke,” says Perry Zheng, the real estate investor who was looking to buy the house. While not required, anything attached to floors, ceilings, and walls is usually included in a sale. So, buyers can (usually) assume that items like refrigerators, dining room chandeliers, and, yes, toilet seats, are included.
It wasn’t a joke, however – and Zheng quickly understood why. “It featured a health monitoring feature that tracked your BMI, blood sugar, blood pressure and temperature,” says Zheng, founder of real estate investment platform Cash Flow Portal. “It came with a built-in bidet and a drying function, and to top it off, the toilet seat was also heated. “
He estimates that the imported seat costs at least $ 10,000. “It’s no wonder the salesperson wants to take it,” he says.
Other industry professionals have encountered similar scenarios, but not with bathroom accessories. Don Adams, Managing Director of Regional Foundation Repair, was tasked with removing a century-old kitchen and entry floor set, so homeowners could take it with them. Nicholas McMillan, owner of Hire Realty, asked a client to keep a tree in the yard. This left a “gaping hole,” says McMillan, and made selling the home much more difficult.
“The landscape is a major concern for home buyers,” says McMillan. “It made it quite difficult to sell the place. Considering the features and location of the house, it might have sold like a bun otherwise.
Vendors asked for more money or expensive extras
Other salespeople have focused on financial gain. They asked buyers to cover transfer taxes or make a higher deposit to show they were serious about the house. Some have asked for more money at the very end of negotiations – often from buyers already bidding well above the asking price.
“The market distorts what the average seller considers normal,” says Mark J. Schmidt, associate broker at RE / MAX Country New Jersey. “It’s certainly still a seller’s market, but many sellers have exaggerated expectations and unrealistic views of how far they can push negotiations. “
However, it wasn’t just about getting more money up front. Marina Vaamonde, real estate investor and founder of the House Cashin home sales platform, asked a seller to organize her four-hour move and cover the moving costs.
Dosenberry, an investor from Michigan, had to purchase the handmade furniture from an owner to close the deal. On another property, the owner (a “buyer” as Dosenberry described it) refused to clean the house, forcing Dosenberry to do it himself.
“It was almost all garbage,” he says. “The house had enough garbage to fill 10 large dumpsters.” The task added approximately $ 6,000 to Dosenberry’s costs.
Salespeople limited screenings – or turned them down altogether
Homes have been selling at the fastest rate in at least five years – around 47 days on average (from listing to accepted offer) – and hopeful sellers have certainly noticed. In fact, some sellers were so convinced that their homes would sell that they severely restricted or refused viewings.
Steve Johnston, CEO of Ideal Agent, a nationwide discount real estate agent service, said one of his agents encountered a seller who only allowed buyers into the property between noon and 2 p.m. Saturday – a two hour window only. According to Johnston, their thought was, “Get all the buyers through during these times. We know it will sell, so we don’t want to be bothered.
Glenn Phillips, CEO of Lake Homes Realty, a multi-state brokerage firm specializing in lakefront properties, had an even more extreme example.
“The seller has declined all in-person visits, demanding that all offers be based only on the written description and photos,” Phillips said. “The photos were not of good quality, the house was old and it was cluttered. Our buyer passed this one on.
Salespeople asked for more time – sometimes a lot longer
Sellers also used their leverage to withdraw trades or buy more time from them (much like McCorkel’s Christmas case).
Just ask Shmuel Shayowitz, president of Approved Funding – a mortgage lender outside of Teaneck, New Jersey (one of our top 10 places to retire this year – a spin-off of the annual list. of the best places to live for Money).
“I asked a seller to ask the buyer to close the house and allow them to stay there without rent for 45 days,” says Shayowitz. “I also had a seller who was willing to take an offer – above the asking price, of course, but that didn’t depend on a fixed closing date. The seller would have up to six months to close, but could close on as little as 30 days’ notice, and buyers should be prepared in either extreme case.
Surprisingly, the buyers agreed, and once the sellers were finally ready to close – three months after the contract began – it caused a “huge scramble” on the financing side, Shayowitz says.
Will 2022 be so “wild”?
Clearly, the sellers had the advantage this year. The question is: will 2022 be even more the same?
Most forecasts point to another strong real estate market over the coming year, but sellers may not be wielding the power they have wielded for the past 12 months. Prices are expected to rise, but at a slower pace than this year, and inventories and construction are also expected to rise.
For these reasons, Phillips says homeowners should be careful when selling their homes “based on what they think about it, rather than market data.”
As he says, “No amount of marketing can overcome an overpriced home.”
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