Home buying, investing, and selling information in the Greater Boston area

Sometimes very unusual things happen

29 Congress


Most of the time, when I meet with someone who wants to sell a house, they have, let’s say, “different” ideas about what it is worth than everyone else.

There is a very funny cartoon I have seen (and wish I could post here, but have not asked for permission from the cartoonist) which shows a house, as seen by: (a) the homeowner, (b) the buyer, (c) the lender, (d) the appraiser, and…(e) the tax assessor.

The cartoon is funny, because there is a strong element of truth in it. Our perception of reality is almost always clouded, based on our own situation/ perspective.

The seller, of course, sees all of the work (and money) they may have put into a house. They have an emotional attachment to it. And so they tend to see it through “rose-colored glasses.”

The buyer sees the house through their own lens. They see all the work and money they are going to need to put into it. They are wondering if the place is infested with termites. They are imagining a heavy rainfall flooding their basement. They are imagining the heating system going out on them and have to shell out a few thousand bucks or risk having the pipes freeze.

The lender, who doesn’t want to end up owning the house if the buyer doesn’t make their mortgage payment, sees the house through very risk-averse eyes.

The picture of how the appraiser sees the house is funny, because it shows a pile of rubble on the ground. For anyone who has had to undergo an FHA appraisal and had them give a laundry list of repairs (peeling paint, replace the roof, etc.) which need to be done for it to pass the appraisal/ underwriting process knows that this image is not too far from the truth.

And the last one (the tax assessor) sees a magnificent, luxurious mansion which they can tax at the highest possible amount. (I am going to bite my tongue at this part…)

So, as you can imagine, having worked in the real estate business for well over a decade, I have a fairly accurate idea of what a house will sell for before I even see it. And, invariably, when I meet with a potential home seller, their “number” is often anywhere from tens of thousands to sometimes $100,000 or more off the mark.

And I get it: Everyone wants to sell at the highest possible price they can. But the truth is: the buyers don’t care that the seller spent $50,000 on a kitchen that only increased the value of the property by $30,000. Or that “little Johnny” took his first steps “right on this very spot.” The buyers have their own lives, plenty of choices, and an agenda of their own. And, for a sale to take place, a seller and buyer need to agree. No agreement, no deal.

All that being said, here is my “unusual” story: I received an inquiry several years ago from a man who wanted to sell his home. Based on where his home was located, and my experience in the area, I had a pretty good idea of its value before even seeing it. We scheduled a time to meet, for me to take a closer look, do a more thorough analysis, and talk about how I could help this man with his goal of selling his house. When we sat down to talk about price, and I asked him how much HE thought the place was worth….he had UNDER-estimated its value. I can honestly say that this is probably the first and only time that had ever happened to me. It is actually a Realtor’s “dream,” because if you “under-price” a home, you are virtually guaranteeing a quick sale.

The thing is, though: lying to this man about what I believed the house to be worth would be doing the “typical real estate agent” thing. Taking the easy way out. “Looking out for number one,” instead of the client. I could not, in good conscience, do that unless the seller specifically told me that his goal was to sell quickly (versus getting the highest dollar amount from the sale.)

It was a great pleasure to me to be able to say to him: “I have some GREAT news for you. Your house is worth considerably MORE than what you thought!!” Wow. THAT was a good feeling!

So, what ended up happening is, we priced the property CORRECTLY, based on my client’s goals, and we still got an accepted offer within 2 weeks of putting it on the market…for about $15,000 more than he was originally expecting. And the best part is: I could look in the mirror and know that I put his needs above my own.

I love a story with a happy ending!

Until next time…Thanks for reading.


Shane Engel

Negotiator, marketer, consultant with 12+ years experience


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Shane Engel



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