From Inman News:
A picture may be worth a thousand words, but nobody’s house is worth what they think it is in this market.
The tough part is telling people that.
I went to see a house in Southwest Newark, N.J., practically in Hillside, in an area where the streets go block-by-block. I went at night, which on reflection was slightly stupid, but I didn’t know that part of town well and was trying to get a handle on what the city was like. (I have always held to the “eat your own cooking” philosophy.) So I jumped off a bus and walked along for a while, watching respectable blocks alternate with loud blocks and deserted blocks by turn.
Then I waited a couple of days, mulling, and called the agent.
“Look,” I said. “I know she’s been in that house for a long while, and she’s sad to be moving, but it’s barely worth $199K new. To rehab it, I’ve got to put in a new kitchen, revamp the bath, polish up from top to bottom where it hasn’t been taken care of. It looks like it’s got no major structural defects, but I’ve still got to put forty thousand dollars into it.”
I went over this story with one of my partners. I’m still pretty new at making offers, and I wanted him to hear every detail of the story, see the house as I saw it, be an audience to my conversation with the agent.
And he had only suggestion: “don’t be apologetic. Not, ‘I’m sorry, but I can only offer you one-forty,’ but, ‘my offer’s one-forty.’ You don’t know what she’s thinking and how she’ll handle it. That’s it, ‘One-forty.'”