Monday, October 02, 2006

When The Truth Hurts


Sometimes the hardest thing I have to do is tell the truth. People don't always want to hear it and I don't blame them -- often it can be painful. But I don't know any other way to be. In the world of real estate on Long Island so much has changed over the past year. The long lines of ready, willing and able buyers no longer stand, checkbook in hand, ready to outbid each other just to get their piece of the American dream. They're out there, by all means, but in smaller numbers and are much more wary about trading their security for the uncertainty of a lower market.

How do you answer "What is my house worth today," when you sold it to them at the top of the market a few short years ago and the current owner unexpectedly has to make a move? Though it pains me, I tell them the truth. They paid a fair price at the time, but conditions have changed and they're going to take a loss. Hopefully they're moving to another market in which prices have leveled off. Then at least they come out the winner on the buy side.

Probably even harder than that is walking in to a home when you don't know the sellers. They've found me on the internet, or heard of me locally. Many owners haven't caught up with the lower prices even with the media blitz, they focus instead on what their neighbor or friend got last year and have an unrealistic expectation. If I play to their belief, I'll probably get the listing, but then I would have to convince them to reduce the price I agreed was realistic, in order to get the house sold. Not fair . . . and it's a game I won't play.

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