Home > Selling a home, Supply and Demand > Why Selling Your House is Like Being on American Idol!

Why Selling Your House is Like Being on American Idol!

OK – I admit it.  I’m an American Idol addict. From late January until mid May don’t bother calling my house on Tuesday or Wednesday nights.

My wife and I, (along with our two dogs) are deeply entranced with Simon, Paula, Randy, Ryan and a plethora of (mostly) bad —>mediocre singers all wanting to have a chance to record the next over-produced, synthesized, homogenized pop hit.

Even the really good singers who win (or come in close) typically are given silly, formulaic songs to record – have you heard Bo Bice’s THE REAL THING?

Anyway – I digress.

Recently I was having a conversation with a client about pricing his house which we were about to put on the market.  I was going through my rhetoric (which you’ve heard if you’ve ever read this blog before) about how you have to let the buyers decide what your house is worth – and it hit me that I had heard this dialogue before – from Simon Cowell – albeit in a different context.

If you’ve ever seen the show, you’ll know that one of the best parts is watching Simon interact with the bad singers in the early auditions.  Yes – I do know that they exaggerate the whole William Hung thing a bit, picking the worst auditions to put on the show, strictly in the name of ratings – but I really do find it entertaining  – but more importantly it provides some real insight into how people’s perceptions of themselves are different than reality. People tend to believe what they want – they come to a conclusion first and then try to justify it based purely on emotion.

Here’s how the dialogue usually unfolds.

A really awful singer will belt out a tune – something very loud and dramatic – like a guy singing “GIRLS JUST WANNA HAVE FUN” in a bass voice while gyrating around the mini-stage in what appears, sometimes, to be a seizure of some sort.

Simon or Randy will try, sometimes in vain, to stop them mid-gyration, but they carry on as long as they can, even in the face of the judges sometimes laughing or holding their ears.

Then Simon will say “How do you think you did?”  Invariably the contestant will say they thought they did well.  Simon will assure them they didn’t.

OK  – we’re finally up to the relevant part.

The singer, will then try and explain that even though all three judges hated their performance, he or she, was actually very good. Their mother, father, sister, brother, uncle or VOICE TEACHER has told them for years how good they were. They may sound terrible here in the audition room, but if they “could have a chance to go to Hollywood” they will show the judges exactly how good they really are.

Think about that for a minute. They are trying to override how bad they sound – not by singing well, but by explaining that in spite of the judge’s perception – they really are good.

The simple fact is, that they are, (for the most part) truly convinced that they are good. They are often in shock that the judges don’t like the performance.

They don’t seem to get that it doesn’t matter a bit what THEY think. At this stage of the competition, it only matters what the judges think.  They (the contestant) are there, simply to present what they have to offer. Their success or lack thereof is 100% in the hands of the judges  – and as the weeks go by – in the hands of the voting public.

Same thing with the value of your house.  You might truly believe that your house is worth $100. The market, however, says that it’s worth $90.  The “comps” support $90. The offers that you are getting are in the high $80s.

No one wants to buy your house for $100. Therefore, in spite of your own perception – your house is not worth $100.

In a free market something is worth exactly what someone is willing to pay for it – not a penny more.

So work closely with your Realtor and come up with a reasonable number to put on as a listing price. if you overprice it, you might not even get showings.  Or you will get showings but no offers that even come close to the price you’ve asked. If it happens once – it might be someone looking to lowball with the hopes of stealing the house. If it happens twice or more, then the price they are offering is very much like Simon’s opinion – it’s the only thing that matters.

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