Ashburn, Va.: I’m so mad at my neighbor. I bought my new home here in Ashburn last summer and plan to sell it next year (after holding two years to avoid taxes) to make a nice return on my investment.

The problem is my neighbor is trying to sell his house (very similar to mine) right now and he keeps lowering his asking price. Each time he lowers his price, I see my potential profits next year getting squashed. Doesn’t he realize he’s hurting the comps for all of his neighbors by doing this? I don’t think he is acting very “neighborly” by doing this. I want to say something to him and tell him he should stop putting his interests ahead of his neighbors.

Its people like him who are ruining the market for the rest of us.
If he would just refuse to lower his price, we could maintain our comps and everyone would benefit. What can I do to stop him?

Kirstin Downey: Wow. Interesting question. There’s nothing you can do. It’s his house, of course. It’s frustrating, to be sure. One word of advice: Don’t resort to violence.

Seriously, he may just be desperate to sell. Perhaps he has an adjustable rate mortgage that is rising, or maybe an option ARM that is resetting to a much higher monthly payment. Maybe he’s getting a divorce or has lost his job and doesn’t want to talk about it. Or maybe he wants to move to Tahiti. (I do sometimes, don’t you?)

I hear from many, many buyers and sellers each month, and many sellers are finding the only way to sell a home amid this growing inventory is to cut the price. Perhaps last year’s prices were just illusory after all.

I understand the commenter’s frustration, but, really, isn’t it kind of funny?

In fact, I faced this situation, when I sold over at the Court Square Press building.

I definitely feel as though we underpriced the competition.

Why did I? Well, for one thing, THERE WERE 24 OTHER CONDOS ON THE MARKET IN THE SAME BUILDING, at the time.

That made it tough to fight it out.

But, we wanted to sell. And, we found a very good buyer (hi, Chris, hi Kathy!). And, we didn’t pay any broker commissions (it was direct). We ended up with a nice profit (we only owned for two and a half years).

Still, on a per square foot basis, it sold for less than what other properties are listed for.

Let me say that again … it SOLD, on a per square foot basis, for less than what other properties ARE LISTED for.

They haven’t sold.

Mine did.

There’s a lesson there.

The guy complaining about his neighbor just doesn’t understand the way it works.

Question: What’s the value of your home?

Answer: What someone’s willing to pay for it.

Complete article: Real Estate Live – By Kirstin Downey, The Washington Post, by way of Real Estate Journal discussion boards

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Updated: January 2018


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