“Sellers Are Motivated”

Pearl Street, Hartford

Sometimes I see these words written in the MLS listing for a property. Sometimes agents tell me this when I call to schedule showings or when I’m called to give showing feedback. “Sellers are motivated” gives me pause for a few reasons.

First, and most importantly, if you’re the seller in this situation, I really hope you’ve given your agent written permission to say such things. If you have not given your agent written permission to say that you are motivated, the agent is breaking their fiduciary responsibility to you by violating confidentiality. By letting other parties know about your motivation, they may negatively affect your ability to negotiate a deal in your favor.

Second, if you have given your agent permission to tell people that you’re motivated, why don’t you have an accepted offer yet? Most likely your house is overpriced. Your agent has probably guided you that your home is overpriced based on a market analysis and showing feedback, but you don’t want to adjust the price any more. You figure by telling buyers that you’re motivated that it will let people know you just want offers.

As an agent representing a buyer in the “seller is motivated” situation, in most cases it’s going to persuade the buyer to put in a lowball offer. A buyer often translates “seller is motivated” to mean “seller is desperate,” even if that’s not the message they’re trying to convey. I would argue that the seller will possibly end up with a lower sale price by saying they’re motivated than if they just lowered the price to where it should be, or if they said nothing about their motivation.

If the two parties are actually able to strike a deal, the seller may also be setting themselves up for a difficult home inspection. A buyer will still think “seller is desperate” and most likely ask for more fixes or credits for fixes than if nothing was said about motivation. The buyer assumes they’ve gotten the seller to accept an offer and they’ll probably do just about anything to keep it together so they can move on.

As a seller, if your home is not selling, ask your listing agent about the feedback you’re getting. Are there changes that can be easily made that would result in better showings? Or is your home simply overpriced? If it’s the latter, it’s better to adjust your price to where it should be rather than saying you’re motivated because buyers hear something different.

Copyright GHREB - Greater Hartford RE
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