If I Can Get XX Dollars For My Home, Why Do I Need a Broker?

J Philip Faranda September 23, 2010

Early on the the beginning of the company, I listed a gorgeous old home that dated back to colonial times just outside the border of a village. It was a striking place, and even though it abutted commercial properties, its location outside the border of the village gave it residential zoning. A non-residential use required a special use permit, which probably would have been forthcoming for the right applicant. 

We had offers from a lawyer, an art gallery, and others, all contingent on that special use permit. 

However, the owner refused to do business with any of the offers. 

He wanted more money. He insisted on a premium in value based on the commercial potential of the property when in fact commercial use was not permitted legally. All offers were subject to procurement of a special use permit, which he did not want to wait for.

After 5 months on the market, we had lunch, and he discussed the various offers made. When I pointed out that the common thread in price appeared to be what the market bore, he informed me that I was not earning my keep. “Phil,” he said, “I knew I could get $500,000 for the house from anyone. If that’s all you can sell it for why do I even need you?”

I forget who picked up the check. 

The house remains unsold as a For Sale By Owner, 4 years after that lunch meeting. The answer to his question, I believe, is that very fact. 

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