“I had a deal when I was already counting my commission—and I’ll never ever do that again—and the whole deal almost blew up at the closing table over a wall sconce. Because a lightbulb didn’t work. It was nuts.”
As Molly Deegan of Branch Real Estate Group recounts this memory from her singular career, it begins to play out as a cautionary tale. She never says when this moment, as absurd as it might seem to outsiders, occurred. But in a time when many sellers are approaching the idea of putting their house on the market as a short-term step toward a certain return, Deegan warns that reality in realty can be very different from the folklore that has begun to spring up throughout the recent boom.
Although it is certainly not the case with every seller, there are enough who go into the process expecting to place out like this: List a house on Friday, get 200 people looking on Saturday, a bidding war on Sunday and an above-ask final offer on Monday. And that can be a problem.
“I think it’s an unrealistic expectation to have–every house is different, every customer is different, every scenario is different,” continues Deegan. “So yeah, this is why I try, as an agent, to set expectations from the get-go. When people ask me what the value of their home is, and then I do my due diligence, I do my CMA—Comparative Market Analysis—I always give them a range.
And it is from this analysis, this understanding of the market based on not only research but an understanding of the results based on years in the market, that an experienced pro begins to teach. To guide.
“In my opinion, half of real estate is educating sellers and buyers. Because, quite frankly, they don’t know. A good agent is going to tell you what to expect, what not to expect, and that it ain’t over till it’s over. Don’t get excited because you got an offer. I mean, of course, get excited, but deals blow up all the time at the closing table. I always say, just keep your head down, keep moving forward, move as quickly and judiciously as you can, in hopes that you’ll have a signed contract and now you’re going to set a closing date.”
As we head into the holiday season, the Long Island real estate market remains hot, if a bit cooler and somewhat less frothy that a few months ago. For buyers, the challenge remains limited inventory and higher-than-historic competition for individual properties. For sellers, the expectation that every property is going to go into a bidding war and deliver bigger-the-expected dollars may be strong, but also may not be right.
“I say listen, I know that, in this range, you probably want to list your house on the high end,” Deegan says, “but you should consider going on the lower end, because you’re going to get more people in the door, in terms of the price point and interest, and then you actually might be more in a position to create a bidding war. But bidding wars don’t always happen. Don’t expect that you’re going to have that.”
And don’t forget that wall sconce.