Charleston, SC Posts


The Ex Factor… What do you tell a buyer’s agent when they ask about the divorce?

It's not uncommon for the Charleston Relocation Experts team to assist sellers who are in the midst of a divorce. It's often difficult for each party to keep emotions in check. Todd Clark, gives the perfect example of why it is necessary to do so. It could cost you plenty--affecting your bottom line.

By Todd Clark (Broker/Sales Coach) 503-524-9494

Last month I closed on a house, but there was something about the sale of this house I didn’t advertise because I didn’t want it to affect the sale. What was the issue? The sellers were in a nasty divorce and one thing is when buyers see divorce and they see a house for sale, they know that this could be the final step in the divorce and they low-ball offers hoping that the sellers just want to get the sale over with, so they can move on with their lives. (For the most part the buyers are right)

But, what do you say when a buyer’s agent calls you about the house and then asks, about the divorce? What? What divorce? This is where I had to play dumb! The buyer’s agent said “Clearly this is divorce and a nasty one, is this going to affect the close if we put an offer in?” I then asked, how do you know it is a divorce?

Divorce and selling your home

The buyer’s agent started to laugh and asked “When was the last time you were over at the house?” I said “Last Monday, why?” You may want to go over there, then you won’t have to ask me how I knew” So, I immediately got in my car and drove over, I had to find out what this agent was talking about. There it was in the driveway behind the house, a pile of woman’s clothes, jewelry, pictures and anything to do with the soon to be ex-wife.

I immediately called the husband who was still living in the house and asked what was up with the 5 foot pile of stuff in the backyard. He said “OH, she said she wanted her stuff back, so I told her she needed to come get it…Now! I thought it would help de-clutter the house.” I said “Yeah, but if someone sees that and puts an offer in, they know you are desperate to sell just to get the divorce over with, the offer we get today could be $15,000 less than you are asking, just because they know that you hate each other and want the divorce over with, that is why none of my advertising says this is a divorce.”

Sure, enough, while I was over there, we got 3 offers all $20,000 less than asking and all from the showings that weekend. I told him “Look, these offers wouldn’t have been this low had you just kept your emotions in check, but now we are in a tough situation, do we accept and move on or do we hope that after cleaning up this mess that we get a full price offer.”

The husband decided to spend $29.95 and get a moving truck to put the stuff in and then two days later we got a full price offer, the house was nice, but it wasn’t worth $20,000 less because people saw what they saw as an opportunity.

What do you do about the Ex-Factor?

Twitter Bird by Janko.

Michele Reneau, ABR, GRI, CRS

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Comment balloon 3 commentsMichele Reneau • March 18 2010 10:04AM


Tell them there is no fire sale.

Then talk to your sellers like you did and move forward.

If thr buyers want the house and it's worth it ,they'll buy it

Enjoy the day

Posted by Don MacLean, Realtor-Homes for Sale- Easton Mass (New England Real Estate Center Inc.) over 9 years ago

Michele: Sometimes my divorcing sellers want me to tell buyers so they can sell the house quicker. Perhaps the thought of escape is greater than a profit motive for some.

Posted by Matt Grohe, Serving the metro since 2003 (RE/MAX Concepts) over 9 years ago

It is always sad when a once happy couple gets a divorce, but you should have to lose everything you worked so hard to achieve just to end a relationship no matter how bad it seems. Our jobs as agent is to get the most for our clients in the quickest amount of time, telling a buyer it is a divorce or other distressed sale situation never will get the most for our clients.

Posted by Respect Realty LLC, Brokers - Oregon / SW Washington Real Estate (Respect Realty LLC) over 9 years ago

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