There’s always something to howl about

My ideal closing date is always yesterday: The perfect real estate listing in the reckless teenage years of the new millenium.

On Facebook of late I’ve written about the idea of the perfect offer – the sum total purchase contract package most likely to win the de facto auction I am holding for my real estate listing.

We’ll talk about this in some detail, in due course, but for now the decision matrix for the ideal offer is obvious:

Highest safest soonest closable net return.

The price is the price, and you can lose me fast by dicking around. List or better? I like cash now, financed fast and FHA almost never. We’ll discount your offer for the time-value-of-money, obviously, but also for the closing-risk entailed by every new dawning day. My ideal closing date is always yesterday.

The corollary of the perfect offer is the perfect listing, and that’s an elusive prey. What we want is a marketing presentation – home, listing, photos, collateral – that cannot not elicit avid offers.

I list almost never lately, mostly repeats and referrals, which for me means a lot of investors. My sellers can be tight with a buck, but they’re rational. That matters, because a perfect listing wants a near-perfect house.

How near-perfect? FHA/VA-able, obviously, but I want more than that: Turn-key livable from Day One, with upgrades and spruce-ups as needed, cleaned to mother-in-law perfection and staged to charm. I want to be indubitably appraisal- and inspection-prepped, but more than that I want to be better than my competition – by a lot.

I don’t have to be luxurious or dramatic, just two or three cuts above everything else my potential buyers are seeing. For the same money or a little more, my house is your new home – and everything else is a work-in-progress.

We list just after midnight on Friday morning, this to maximize the marketing benefit of the Days on Market tally but also to maximize buyer frenzy: We offer up the scratch when we know buyers will be itching. My listing should be referenced in many, many “We must see this Saturday” emails.

The listing price? My best guess of the full appraisal value on the day of listing – no discounts, no testing-the-market, just what the home is actually worth in fair-market-value terms. Every good agent will know I’m right – and accordingly will know not to dick around.

But then what’s the point of being FHA/VA-able, since closing-costs offers are likely to fail? To drive up the numbers on the all-cash and conventional offers, for one thing. And who knows? Maybe the appraiser will find the number he’s looking for, should we end up taking an offer with costs coming back.

My baseline assumption is that a listing like this should produce multiple full-price-or-better offers within the first ten days on market, ideally within the first three days. I’m not always right, but when I am, I’m a market-maker: My all-cash deals make nearby financed purchases more appraisable.

There’s nothing like a seller’s market, I know only too well. But even when it’s easy to make deals, going the extra mile goes miles and miles in extra money for the seller.

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