Angry neighbors mind your business very much

It happened again.  Word got around the condo building that so-and-so sold their condo in record time and for a featherweight price.  Maybe the neighbors met in the elevator, or in the parking garage, or in the hallways but sooner or later, the calls starting coming in to my friend the homeowner, who was polite about it, even when the other person may not have been.

The angry neighbor didn’t hold back.
“You know, we’ve been on the market listed at $180,000 for 387 days and you come along and accept a ridiculous offer of only $160,000 and now there is no way we’ll ever get this property sold for what we are asking!” said the angry neighbor. “Why did you agree?  Did your Realtor make you accept that terrible offer?”

My friend was unperturbed.
“Our Realtor listed the condo and got an offer in less than 6 days’ time,” my friend replied.  “We need to move, so we didn’t haggle a lot over the price.”

NOTE: The Realtor is not allowed to reveal the accepted price unless specifically allowed to do so by the seller, as agreed to in writing.  So the friend here rocked the boat by sharing price information with neighbors before the deal was completed.  Oops!

The neighbor fumed a bit more.
“I hope you are happy, now you’ve ruined our condo value just so you can move,” the neighbor complained. “What are we supposed to do now?”

And so the finger pointing continued.  Many small and mid-sized condo communities are swallowed up by the finger pointing and unhappy wanna-be sellers arguing to “save their condos” against low ball offers.  A lot of people sat tight in recent years, hoping for a real estate miracle turnaround.  But there is really no point in playing the blame game now, kids.  Don’t make me stop this car.  The deed has already been done.

Let’s keep in mind here a few key points:
Even after hiring a Realtor and signing a listing agreement, the sellers always have control over their property, but they can’t control the market.  The Realtor can suggest a price range, using recent comparables in the same building, but they never, ever set a price. In other words, they can’t make up the data to push a price.  Ideally, they’d find 5 comparables, and find a median price.  Then they would take into account other things, like recent upgrades, age of the building, # of bedrooms/baths, indoor parking spaces and of course, penthouse location and more into consideration for the seller to review.

Next, the sellers must review the pricing information, and like my friend above, decide what they want to do.  By deciding to put their asking price just below the $180K price point, they got in several more showings than if they had stuck to exactly $180K even.  More showings meant more potential offers, even with that lower starting point.  Finally, they chose to be more flexible in negotiating because in their situation, it was more important to unload their condo to avoid paying on two mortgages and move out then to wait a year or more for a possible higher price.  The angry neighbor may have decided the exact opposite and their price point of $180K was top priority.  No wonder he was upset!  I would be too if my whole year of careful planning got shot down by neighbors trying to move.

There is nothing to be done for it as we are unable to control the actions of others.  My friends, we can try to get along and play nice.  Remember, this was business transaction, it was not a personal grudge match and it wasn’t meant to ruin future condo sales.  Think about it.  That would be the last thing a Realtor would want to do-to purposely destroy his or her line of business, make less money and retain fewer listings.

My friends are going to move out, the angry neighbor will need to re-evaluate their plans and I certainly hope the new owners are happy in their new place, gossip and all.  Now, is it too early to ask for that referral?
e-Pro Realtor, Charles Rutenberg Realty




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