12 October 2011

The property that could not be sold...

We've all had one. The one that's in a "bad" location. Or the condition is horrible. Or the lot is shaped funny. Can't be financed. Seller unreasonable on price. There could be any number of reasons why a property doesn't sell.

We had a listing on just such a property. It's in the Pine Canyon area, kind of between Tooele and Stansbury Park. Not really a bad location, as properties on the market here are few and far between, and when they come up, they're gone! Lot's of open space and horse property, mostly 5 acre ranchettes and old family farms. So, why was this one listed for over two years?

We inherited this listing from an agent who was retiring, and referred us to the sellers. It had been overpriced the whole time he'd had it. It was a triangle shaped .67 acre lot in the land of 5 acre parcels. It had been extensively remodeled, with all new flooring, paint and appliances and 1700 sq ft. Sounds great,doesn't it? A steal at $149,900.

Oh, did I mention it was a double wide trailer that had previously been moved? I've traveled the Country a fair amount, and have seen extensive areas where this product is prevalent, and yet there seems to be a stigma here in Utah against these homes. It's become so difficult to get financing on even new ones, so you see where we were on this one. It's not that people don't want to live in them (we don't have tornados!), you just can't get a loan.

Luckily, we had sellers that weren't just amazingly realistic to their situation (once we'd explained their reality), they were incredibly patient with the process. We actually had it "sold" three different times, but never got it closed. It was just that property that couldn't be sold. When the last lender that had been making loans on this product bailed out, we explained to our sellers that they were destined to be landlords forever. Not the worst thing in the world, as the rental market in Tooele County is strong.

We agreed to release them from the listing, and parted on very good terms, good enough that when their tax notice came, they called us to help with the appeal. They'd gotten hammered on the valuation, and we got them some good comps to use to appeal.

Not long after that, we got another call from the sellers. They'd been approached by a person who said they were interested in their property, but they didn't have a good feeling about these people. They were looking for advice and help. It turned out that their "blink" was correct.As it happens, there was some hanky panky with these people. They had a history of entering into "seller finance" deals with sellers with little down, then trashing the property and defaulting. 

But, our good karma began to pay off. During our investigation of the other people, we were approached by another party that was interested in the property. They knew we'd had it listed, and were still in contact with the sellers. They understood the shortcomings that the property had, had cash, and wanted to proceed. In ten days we went from nowhere to closing.  We closed this morning on a property that couldn't be sold.

What's the lesson here? I can think of two obvious ones. First of all, don't burn bridges. Both us and the seller could have been bitter over a long, unsuccessful listing. They could have felt we weren't doing enough. We could have felt that the property wasn't worth our time. Neither thing took place. 

Finally, never give up. There's very little that can't be accomplished through a simple refusal to quit. No, it may not be quick, and it certainly isn't always easy. But, the good things never are! If I've learned anything in this difficult time, it's those two things! Hang in there! 

Anonymous comments are disabled