The Real Deal Miami

Brokers become picky about sellers

By Jennifer LeClaire | July 14, 2008 12:00PM

Dave Pounder is a patient man. The 32-year-old Boca Raton resident has been waiting to buy a home in the South Florida real estate market for the past year.

“I have the ability to pay cash for a home today, but why buy now if my investment will be worth less in over a year,” said Pounder, a media consultant who currently rents his home. “There are a lot of people in positions to buy today but prefer to hold off until prices have worked their way down.”

Others are willing to buy now, if the price is right. That’s why South Florida brokers are getting pickier about working with sellers. Specifically, brokers are politely demanding sellers price their homes according to what the current market bears. That could be as much as 5 percent less than the appraised value.

Scott Coloney has taken such an approach to selling real estate over the last six months. He’s had to, in what he calls an upside down market.

The revelation that has kept The Coloney Group of RE/Max in Ft. Lauderdale doing well in a down market is this, Coloney maintains: He doesn’t have to spin his wheels with unreasonable sellers.

“Sellers no longer dictate the listing price if they want our assistance,” Coloney said. “We have become extremely particular with the listings we accept to work on.”

The Coloney Group will only list properties when the owner really needs to sell and is willing and able to list the property at a price level that the brokers in his group find appropriate.

“When we started this marketing strategy our phone started ringing off the hook with buyers wanting access to our listings,” Coloney maintains.

“The bottom line is it is still better to have listings as long as they are not overpriced,” Coloney said. “Overpriced listings will put a lot of agents out of business over the next 12 months and weak agents will become a thing of the past.”

Christine Van Buskirk, relocation director in the Ft. Lauderdale offices of Balistreri Realty, sees listings as the key to success – if they are priced right. In fact, she discourages her brokers from taking overpriced listings that won’t sell any better today than they did two years ago.

“A listing that is priced correctly is a sellable home,” she said. “The buyers are out there right now and they are looking for a deal and a properly priced home would be a deal indeed.”