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Realty Advocates: the under-pricing epidemic

Brett Weinstein and Hal Feiger sell real estate in the San Francisco Bay Area. Their firm, Realty Advocates, advertises "full real estate services at reduced fees," and they really do approach their jobs as a trade and craft and not just a get-quick scheme - Hal is very active in the development of non-profit affordable housing in the area, and even found the synagogue I grew up with (Rabbi Burt officiated my Bar Mitzvah!), Kehilla, a permanent home in the East Bay. Brett, on the other hand, has worked as a carpenter and general contractor, and knows a lot more about quality construction than most of the agents I interact with. Basically, I'd buy a house from these guys.

Recently, they added a blog to their site; one recent article caught my eye. Read the complete article at their site:

You know the practice: suggesting, or going along with a seller’s idea, that the best way to obtain the highest price in the sale of a house is to deliberately ask a price that is well below what you expect it to sell for. A more odious variation: agreeing to list a property at a price the seller has told you he would not accept. You figure this is pretty safe: everything gets bid up these days. The SF Chronicle recently dubbed this the “under-pricing epidemic.”

Sometimes this practice is blatant, as when the agent puts in the confidential remarks section of the MLS: “seller reserves the right to reject any and all offers.” Other times, it is hidden, as when offer day comes and you, the buyer’s agent, deliver the only offer. You are then countered at a price ten of thousands, and sometimes, hundreds of thousands of dollars more than the asking price. In essence, the buyer is being told to bid against himself.