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Harsch Associates Berkshire Real Estate's Blog

By Harsch Associates | Broker in Williamstown, MA

3 Magic Words for Buyers and Sellers


Is there a rule of thumb in the Berkshire Real Estate market for how much below the asking pricea potential buyer should initially offer for a listing? 10 percent below? 20 percent below?

This seems like an easy question, but unfortunately quick fix answers will not work in the Williamstown MA real estate market. The magic words to begin the process of negotiation are “make an offer.” The truth is that there will be number of factors at play you are not aware of , no matter where in Berkshire County or Williamstown MA the home is located, no matter who the seller is and no matter who the buyer is. Getting to the bargaining table is a poker game in the beginning. Throwing down your cards and walking away means you lose without a doubt. Staying in the game means you may sell your home or buy the one you want for a great price.

For a seller the three magic words are “I’ll Consider it.” Consideration is the beginning of negotiation. Negotiation is a poker game taken to the highest level. Taking a hard line on any offer is unwise as another offer may not appears for many years. A Williamstown MA seller is competing with thousands of homes suddenly available in the Berkshires. Historically during the period of 2004-2007 Berkshire County and Williamstown Real Estate were undoubtedly HOT second home housing markets and Western MA, Berkshire County was the place to be for executives, stockbrokers, and those in the upper income brackets who lived in New York or Boston and summered in the Berkshires. The Stock Market was hot, the Real Estate Bubble was growing, fixing and flipping properties was a viable career option for college graduates in mid 2000′s. Wages and bonuses were high and America was coasting along a financial pinnacle path that has since become unsustainable.

The vital and most important thing to remember is that the simple rules of supply and demand usually prevail. If it’s an attractive Williamstown MA property at a a below market price, there will be competition for the property. Competition is the Williamstown Ma Home Seller’s BBF (best friend forever). Pricing a minimum of 10% lower than your neighbors means your property will get rapid attention and probably sell quickly and you will get closer to the initial asking price.

A new home to the Williamstown MA housing market with a price 10% below its Comparative Market Value ( new=on the market for less than two weeks) is likely to get multiple offers if it is attractive and the sellers are willing to entertain any and all offers. Keep in mind we stated “entertain” which does not mean accept. This is not the time to take offense at low and outrageous offers. It is the time to use the three magic words “I’ll consider it.”

If the Williamstown MA property has been on the market at the same price for two months or longer, the uninformed buyer’s agent will most likely recommend that an offer of 3-5% below the asking price be offerred. We recommend to our buyers they consider offering 8 to 10% below asking not unusual for a market where thousands of Berkshire Properties are for sale. Even if the property is great often we can spend a few hours crunching numbers and recent sales after which we can show hard data supporting a much lower price. Keep in mind this is the advice a buyer’s agent is giving to their client. You as a seller now have an insider’s peak into how the offer process works.

This is the point in the transaction process when the seller’s agent and the seller will be called upon to use all their negotiating and social skills to reel in the buyer to get to the negotiating table. This is the time for a level head and cool poker face and a willingness to “consider it.” Keep in mind “consider it” does not mean acceptanceof a ridiculous offer. “Consider it’ means only that “you will think about it and get back to the potential buyer and their agent”. Think carefully about what you are willing to give to the buyer in lieu of lowering the price and what you can give to the buyer to make the property worth more to the buyer. Using a skilled seller representative will be the vital key at this point in the process. You are fishing for a buyer and you will need all the skill you and your agent possess to land a qualified buyer and then get them to the closing table.

The worst thing that can happen is the buyer will say no to your first counter offer. The best that can happen is the buyer will negotiate further up than he or she would have liked and you’ll increase your selling margin. Either way the chances of a sale increase the more negotiating skills the seller’s agent has. The take away from this conversation if you remember nothing else is to repeat the three magic words before you respond to any offer for your property “I’ll consider it.” And for any buyer the magic words remain “make an offer.”

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