Mortgage rates continued their 2-month slide, with a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage ending the year at 4.55%. BYPATRICK KEARNS TODAY9:22 A.M.

Mortgage rates continued along their downward trend to end the year, according to the latest data from Freddie Mac released Thursday.

A 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.55 percent for the week ending December 27, 2018, down from last week when it averaged 4.62 percent. It’s still more than half a percentage point above last year’s 3.99 percent at the end of December.

A 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.01 percent, down from last week’s 4.07 percent and up from last year’s 3.44 percent over the same period. The five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage averaged 4 percent, up from last week’s 3.98 percent and up from last year’s 3.47 percent.

“Rates continued their two-month slide and are currently hovering around the same level as the early summer, which was before the deterioration in home sales,” Freddie Mac Chief Economist Sam Khater said. “The negative headlines around the financial markets are concerning, but the economy remains healthy, so the drop in mortgage rates should stem or even reverse the slide in home sales that occurred during the second half of 2018.”

As a seller best not to engage in too much conversation with your buyer. When it is possible for the home buyer and seller to meet, such as during the inspection, an experienced, aggressive buyer rarely hesitates to engage in friendly conversation with a seller about the home. After asking a few questions of the seller, and perhaps negotiating personal items the seller wants to get rid of, the conversation becomes easier to switch over to the discussion of price.

This has happened far more often than not. Their favorite question is “Would ja take $___ for your home?” As a seller, you could be put on the spot and best to yield to your Realtor.

Sometimes, you as the seller may get caught off guard and shocked. Other times a seller says, “maybe.” ooops, this opens the door to less than favorable outcome.

Better yet, many times the buyer may ask, to the shock of the nearby hovering real estate agent, “What is the lowest price you could take for this home?” When that price isn’t acceptable, the buyer may come back with the “would ja take offer” which often produces better results. Best to always yield to your realtor.

If you are the home seller and you encounter a disgusting buyer like this, your correct answer should be, “Well, why don’t you put that offer in writing so I can seriously consider it.” Then the seller can either accept it or make a counteroffer.

CONCLUSION: Home sale prices in a competitive market are determined by careful negotiations between seller and buyer. Both parties should be aware of the most frequently used negotiation strategies. I honestly recommend a seasoned and experienced Realtor to discuss this matter with you, and then negotiate for you. Caught off guard could cost you as much as the brokerage fees if you’re the seller, and more often than not as a buyer, your Realtor fees are minimal if anything to represent you.

It’s best to engage a Real Estate Agent for only the buyer or seller and another agent for the same. It’s important to understand if the listing agent represents you the buyer in the same transaction, the brokerage becomes a transaction broker and only facilitates the sale, with minimal confidentiality. You the buyer believing you may save funds in the purchase price because there is room to negotiate down the brokerage fees could result in less than acceptable outcome.

I’m sure you are familiar with advertised auctions, such as for artwork, antiques, cars, and distressed real estate. But few home buyers anticipate the “unexpected auction.”

This negotiation trick can arise in several ways. One method is where the seller’s listing price for a house or condo is set artificially low below the true market value. The intent of the listing agent “unethical in my opinion” and the seller is to create a “buyer frenzy” of competitive buyers out-bidding each other far above the initial asking price.

Personally, I’ve seen this negotiation tactic used by home sellers who purchased back in 2004 thru 2008 for a price far below today’s market value. They were thrilled with whatever profit they receive.

Another way this negotiation tactic can arise is when more than one buyer becomes intensely interested in buying a house or condo. They are told by the Realtor, “Another buyer is seriously interested in purchasing this home.” More often than not, are only fishing for a good offer. When the seller rejects the initial purchase offer, it may create competition between two or more buyers.

May I suggest, if you discover you are in an unexpected auction, drop out of the bidding. If you really want to purchase the home, submit a written “backup offer” with a substantial deposit check to show your sincere purchase interest. You might be surprised when you’re told the first buyer who won the “auction” backed out and you wind up owning the home.

Everybody has seen this “bad cop-good cop” negotiation trick on TV.. More often than not, the tough cop will ruthlessly question the suspect, stopping just short of violence to gain a confession. Then the “bad” cop is called away for some reason and the “good” cop takes over to sweet-talk the suspect into a confession or a plea bargain.

The same negotiation tactic works in real estate negotiations. Often the husband yet lately I’ve experienced the wife, is the “bad cop,” who is tough and not willing to compromise. But the “good cop” is the husband, who is more reasonable, don’t be fooled.

This is how this tactic was used on me. I was interested in buying a “for sale by owner” house from Steve and Debbie. Surprisingly, tough Debbie was the “bad cop” demanding full price and all cash. But Steve was the “good cop” who realized the vacant house was less than perfect and would be difficult to get it sold.

After a few weeks of informal Sunday afternoon open house negotiations, “bad cop” Debbie finally gave in and to my surprise agreed, to a 10 percent down payment with a 90 percent owner financing mortgage which provided comfortable retirement income for both of them for many years.

I recently completed a deal like this in August, and in most cases, I suggest my sellers negotiate 30% down and finance the balance for 20 years with a 3 or 5-year balloon mortgage. With 30% down the buyers have a good amount vested into the purchase and in many cases, it covers all closing costs and puts a little bit into their pockets at closing.

“Good cop” Steve was only too happy to get rid of that house. Debbie and Steve later became good friends and we completed several mutually profitable transactions together.

Please review my December 13, and 14th blogs. The homes below are active in the market and supports my statements. Obviously a clear understanding of marketing strategies that you can find on public websites.

736 Wandering Woods Way,…………………..$369,900 reduced to $364,900

643 Wandering Woods Way, ………………….$382,930 reduced to $379,000

213 River Run Blvd, ……………………………….$383,000 reduced to $375,000

294 Mahi Dr.  …………………………………………$579,990 reduced to $559,990

48 sunrise Vista Way ……………………………..$472,645 reduced to $470,460

526 Eagle Rock Dr ………… ………………………$560,000 reduced to $549,000

133 Howland Dr   …………………………………..$349,000 reduced to $339,999

492 Vista Lake Cir, …………………………………$350,763 reduced to $350,340

70 Pienza Ave., ………………………………………$429,000 reduced to $425,500

44 Aaron Ln…………………………………………..$329,460 reduced to $329,770

54 Hiller Ln, ………………… ………………………$356,000 reduced to $354,900

169 Willow Falls Trl…………. …………………..$479,900 reduced to $478,900

These are the toughest buyers. Virtually every long-time Realtor has encountered them. No clearer word to define Ugh, “Nibbling”

They are the home buyers who reach a home purchase agreement relatively easily without much back-and-forth negotiation. The purchase agreement is signed.  Then the “NIBBLING begins! 

A very smart and common practice “NIBBLING” negotiation tactic for home buyers is to include their approval of a professional home inspection report contingency in the sales contract. BEWARE…An “AS IS” FARBAR purchase agreement is best described as a favorable agreement for the BUYER! Not the seller, as perceived by a seller or his agent! Why you ask? We’ll get into this matter later on.  Today, most experienced Realtors strongly encourage buyers to make their purchases contingent on approval of a professional home inspection paid for by the buyer!

Now moving forward, an inspection has been performed and the report reveals significant home defects that the seller “FORGOT” to disclose to the buyer, the buyer can then use that report to (A) renegotiate the sales price, (B) obtain a repair credit, or (C) cancel the sale.

To counteract this tactic, home sellers and their listing agents should set a quick deadline for the professional inspection report, such as 5, 10, or in most common practices 15 days. It’s important not to keep the property off the market long.

If the home passes the professional home inspection test, watch out for other tactics of non-stop negotiators. One of their favorite methods is to repeatedly come back to the home, even after the sales contract is signed by all parties. They use excuses such as, “We need to measure for our furniture.” A reasonable request! 

But their true purpose is another visit to the home to look for defects and leverage a lower sales price or even cancel the sale! Especially if the buyer has a serious case of “buyer’s remorse.” Ugh…this happens more often than you would imagine.

A harsh preventative to non-stop negotiators?   Refuse them access,
except for the customary inspection on the day before the closing of the home sale!  The buyers entered into a purchase agreement and it is best that a serious escrow deposit is made. This is also considered a “Good-Faith” gesture to the seller, indicating the buyer is serious about buying the home.  These funds “Cannot”  be moved or touched without written consent from Both the buyer and seller!

I also have another “iron-clad action” that the seller may consider and eliminate this whole mess and prepare the property for a quick sale! A practice I like to use to expedite a sale, especially preparing the seller by chance a cash offer with the intent to close quickly is made.  Give me a call and we can discuss how this can be accomplished. 904-671-9225 

I must say, “in the past week I’ve received plenty of compliments from buyers, sellers, and agents and have shown a real interest in my blog material. Most of what I’m sharing is from recent data collected, the National Association of Realtors shares to agents, and my personal experiences. 

What home buyers, sellers and realty agents are likely to encounter. 

According to recent information from the National Association of Realtors, the National Association of Home Builders, and other reliable sources, the volume of home sales has declined slightly in the last few months compared to a year ago. You may hear many say the traffic has really slowed, or inventory is down! Factors that are affecting this; The Bull Market has many on edge. Mortgage rates are increasing, however, I’ve found that with an experienced agent and some creative tactics and knowledge will definitely make deals happen! An excellent relationship with one’s mortgage broker is always a plus. Non the less, the holidays will also slow the market traffic, and you will notice more lookers, and fewer folks willing to pull the trigger. 

As the home sales market adjusts to slightly higher mortgage interest rates, and you’re a home buyer, seller, or real estate agent, your negotiation skills will become more important now than any time in recent years.  As a long-time student of negotiation tactics, I’ve learned it pays to periodically review the key negotiation strategies most frequently encountered in home sales.


Experienced real estate agents can spot this negotiation tactic, which is used by new and repeat homebuyers. I first encountered it about 18 years ago from a young couple who were my tenants. They wanted to buy the house I was renting to them. The husband’s father was a lawyer and a friend of mine.  This should have been my first warning however, I was confident we were on the same page.

Once we all agreed on the terms and a price, I wrote up the contract, the wife then said, I would like my father in law who is helping with the purchase review the contract. Note buyers purchasing an “AS IS” contract can bolt without reason within the first 15 days or inspection time agreed upon in the contract.  

Well even though a friend, I just became a victim of the “Higher authority negotiator” tactic. This means the salees contract you think you have negotiated is subject to approval by a previously undisclosed higher authority. 

When dad visited the home, and I know he was familiar with the home, he found alleged defects such as it was not a split bedroom plan, which he brought to their attention. He also pointed out the con’s of the location even though they’ve lived there over a year. So my buyers asked for a price reduction and revisited the terms we had already agreed upon. 

Well, I was too confident in the deal and the next thing I knew the “higher authority” negotiation tactic, also known as “two bites from the apple,” I knew the value of the property and didn’t really want to sell. My tenants were happy there and more than likely would stay at least another year. My good friend and their “higher Authority” did not know I was not motivated to sell. 

I was clear, honest, fair and shared that we reached an agreement on favorable terms to both of us. the buyers had been renting the home and knew it’s pros and cons, and if my tenants didn’t want to buy the house on the agreed terms that were fine with me.  Well, they still purchased the home on the original agreed terms and dad put up the $45,000 down payment. 

Looking back, if I had known there was to be a “Higher Authority” involved in the negotiation, I would have suggested we all meet together to work out the details at the same time. 


I’ve used this philosophy for about 6 years. Some agents don’t believe in this and yet many of my Ad Agency sphere follow this almost religiously.

Brokers and Realtors that follow my blogs may recognize this philosophy and will find that Robert McTague provides some observations helpful to homeowners considering selling as well as Realtors. Is there a science or psychology to pricing your client’s property? Robert believes there is, and that price is a direct function of marketing. A strategic market price will complement your marketing campaign and position your home effectively in the marketplace.

Let’s look at the four ways that psychology can influence the price. I’ve shared this with my sellers, and at times my sellers will share before we settle on a listing price. 

1. The $19.99 syndrome

Roberts observation notes many agents price with a 999 or 900 at the end. You always see $199,999 or $199,900. Why does 99 percent of the agent population follow the crowd and price the same way?

Well, many agents are not looking at the price as a function of marketing. It has been said the 9s came about in the 1880s convincing the gullible that they were getting a bargain. Many discounters use 99 in their pricing, and it does not fool smart people.

Robert introduced this philosophy to sellers when marketing their home.  The main reason it can hurt your listing is that most consumers start their search online when looking for a home. If a buyer is looking between $200,000 and $225,000 for a home, and you priced yours at $199,999, that consumer might not see the property online.

YES, the internet brings transparency to today’s marketing and provides data that recognizes the fair market value to buyers and sellers. 

The best advice is to price at $200,000, as you will capture both sides of the search. Someone looking between $175,000 and $200,000 and someone looking between $200,000 and $225,000 will find the property online.

2. The power of four and seven

Through Roberts hours of research, reading and studying the psychology of price, the concept of the power of four and seven was evident. For example, a price of $247,000 or $244,000 is precisely priced and appears that the seller has scrutinized cost, which could suggest to the buyer that there is less negotiation room. This assumption benefits the seller.

Another reason is that the price is unique and stands out to the buyer. Think about all the property listings displayed on all the website portals, like products on a shelf at a store. A price, unlike the others, stands out. Because it’s different and more unique, it will attract the buyer’s attention. Examples of this would be Home Depot or Wal-Mart, who use the four and seven frequently on their sale items. They want to differ from their competitors.

There is also something called the “Right Side Digit Effect.” So, a price of $227,000, has the perception of looking like a better discount or value than $229,999.

Some believe that using the four and seven in your pricing is more emotional to consumers. It’s a friendly number that leverages the buyer’s ego and self-image and has a higher perceived quality of what you are selling.  “And don’t forget — seven is a lucky number.”

3. How you write the price matters

If we take your marketing offline, such as property fliers, ads, signage, etc., the way you write it can also have an effect on how people perceive the price.

The Journal of Consumer Psychology found that when people have to spell it out in their heads, it sounds higher.

Look at these three prices:

  • $1,400.00
  • $1,400
  • $1400

The last price seemed lower to the consumer without the comma, now how our Multiple Listing Service defines this may need an interpretation. 

Conversely, Cornell University did a study and found the following:

  • 5.00  (sold more)
  • $5.00 (sold less)
  • five dollars (sold more)

You see restaurants pricing this way on their menu. How can we apply this in our marketing? Spell it out. Instead of $100,000, write one hundred thousand dollars or 100000 on your offline marketing and track the response you get.  

4. Cuckoo for zeros

For discounts, sales or, in this case, home price adjustments, perhaps add more zeros to your promotion to show a bigger cut. 

So, is there a psychology to pricing homes? You decide. Robert McTague believes that price is the largest motivator when selling a product such as a home. I try to be unique and consistent in my pricing approach and use a little psychology. 

The information in this blog is true, however, an experienced Realtor has the same tools to conduct business in the same fashion as the resources provided in this article.

More than three-quarters (75%) of all homes currently on the market will sell below asking in 2019, according to an analysis by Knock, the home resale company.   

Courtesy of Knock

In the South, where Knock and other iBuyers have carved inroads, a remarkable number of homes sold below the listing price in 2018, “with New Orleans and Jacksonville, Florida, among the top underperforming cities. Miami topped the list with 85 percent of all listings failing to sell for asking.”

By looking at on-market listings and sales trends across the country, Knock determined that 62 percent of all homes sold below asking price in 2018, according to a national forecast on Wednesday. Now, the company projects 77 percent of all listings will sell below asking price in the first quarter of 2019.

To arrive at the predictive findings, Knock looked at 484,843 active listings in 45 metropolitan areas in the weeks leading up to November 30, 2018. The historical data, which Knock sourced from Attom Data Solutions, is then aggregated and compared to the probability of different sale prices.

“While there’s no denying that home prices have been steadily on the rise, list prices are clearly increasing above realistic levels, as corroborated by the study’s findings that over 60 percent of homes sold well below their original list prices in 2018,” Knock Economic Advisor Paul Habibi said in a statement.

Take the results with a grain of salt, however, as Knock would seem to benefit from the findings of its own study. The company offers customers the ability to ‘trade-in’ an old home for a new one for a fee. So the idea that homes are selling below their asking price on the open market, and that this will continue, would bolster Knock’s argument to customers to eschew listing homes for sale and instead sell to Knock. Better yet call me “Dan Swing” for a fair solution to make your deal happen!

Courtesy of Knock

While homeowners frequently set asking prices high to leave room for negotiating, the report suggests lower sales prices reflect sellers’ inflated confidence that their homes will sell for more than they’re worth. Such confidence has increased as home values grow, but, in reality, homes that spend extended time on the market are more likely to sell below asking price. In November, 92 percent of all properties that spent more than two months on the market sold for less than the asking price, according to the Knock analysis.

Knock CEO Sean Black said the findings show how some homeowners undermine themselves by holding out for buyers willing to pay higher prices.

“One of the greatest roadblocks to market fluidity is these consumers’ inability to afford their next home while selling their old one,” the report reads. “By providing them with transparency into pricing patterns and insights into where they can find the best deals through regular national Knock Deals Forecasts, Knock aims to help more sellers move into their next home more quickly, increasing inventory and overall market fluidity.”