Managing the balance of desires

Dated: September 5 2020

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There is no objective measure of property value, because value is a function of someone’s desire. If a homeowner leading a stable life says that his house is worth a million dollars, he’s right—assuming that what you hear him saying is that he wouldn’t sell for less. On the other hand, if the same homeowner learns that his career will be taking him to a new city, his desire to move will tend to make him care more that there are no buyers willing to pay a million for the property, and sooner or later he’ll decide to sell for less. The house is exactly the same, yet changes in the owner’s desires change the value of the house. The definition of “market value” is the amount that a willing buyer and willing seller will agree upon, so the nature and malleability of willingness plays a large role in real estate.

Studies have shown that most people care more, and will do more, to keep from losing what they have than they care and will do to get something new. As agent to a client who is selling, I go out of my way to encourage the buying agent and clients to feel that they only barely achieved agreement from the sellers—in other words, to make them feel that they’ve gotten something of high value by getting into escrow. In staging, marketing, and providing buyers ample time to visit the home, I work to maximize the buyer’s emotional attachment to the property. That sets the stage for negotiations over potential repairs, a less-than-contract-price appraisal, or unexpected bumps in the escrow road. If the buyer hates the idea of losing the house, it becomes easier to negotiate a favorable resolution for my selling client.

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DAVID DUNLAP

As a residential real estate executive with an extensive background in corporate marketing, I am able to apply unusually strong skills in marketing communications, e-marketing, strategic planning and ....

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