Need advice on free and clear deal.


I feel like I’m missing something…

I have a seller with an immaculate house that they own free and clear.
2-story, ~3000 sf, 4/3, 2 car covered, no pool, 6 years old.
Only needs a little carpet in one area.
Location is in the Austin, Tx area.

REPAIRS=1k (carpet)

MOTIVATION: Her mother and husband (14 operations) have become
immobile and can no longer navigate the stairs. Must move to a single story.

It has been listed for 6 months with no activity. Is currently priced at $190k
(9k to 10k over market value). Listing is about to expire and/or she is willing
to walk away from the agent.

I explained her options are:

  1. Cash offer: $126k
  2. We can put owner financing in place with a little money now, monthly pmts
    and a 3 to 5 yr balloon.

Her response was, “I’m completely open.”

I can’t help but feel I’m missing something here and am completely open to
advice and suggestions. Please advise.


“I’m completely open” means you NEED TO ACT NOW…!

Don’t second-guess this gift horse in the mouth. Get the deal done!!!

What’s happened here is that you haven’t been looking very long or made enough offers and got rejected. You then came across this cream puff deal, and it’s come so easily and so fast, you’re suspicious.

Buy the house. Don’t wait for more responses here.

There was a story that Barney Zick tells that illustrates what the problem is here…

A couple had been looking for a special clock for months. They knew that they sold for about 500 bucks. They were driving through a small town passed some antique stores and they saw the very clock they were wanting in the window. They stepped in. They asked the owner about the clock in the window and what he wanted for it.

The store owner not realizing it’s value, if not needing some sales, quoted them a price of $100 bucks. The couple couldn’t believe their ears. They snapped up the clock and the clerk carefully wrapped it and placed it in a box. The couple paid for the clock and proceeded to make the trip home which was quite a long drive.

While driving, the couple looked at each other and remarked over the ‘steal’ they had made with the purchase of that clock. A little while later, the wife said to her husband, "You know we sure got a ridiculous price for that clock. Sure did, the husband responded. I wonder why he was so eager to get rid of it, the wife remarked. Maybe something is wrong with it, the husband said.

Several miles went by and that thought sank in as the husband began to get irritated. There MUST be something wrong with that clock, he sputtered. His wife agreed.

By the time the couple reached the house, they were so upset about getting swindled, they left the clock in the box unopened.

Several days went by and the husband considered driving all the way back to the little town to return the ‘broken’ clock. Meantime, he opened the box and pulled the clock out. He carefully examined it, and found no scratches or imperfections. He imagined the clockworks were missing. Nope, it was all there. The key was probably gone. No, it was there too. Probably won’t wind. No, it wound up nicely and began ticking. Probably won’t chime on the hour. No, it chimed right on schedule. The clock was in perfect running order, without any blemishes whatsoever.

None of that mattered, they still figured they paid too much for this cheap clock and needed to return it to the store who cheated them. Their failure to negotiate a better price haunted them.

The moral of the story is that the couple didn’t have to work at negotiating the price of this clock. It was priced as a steal. The owner just wanted the clock gone, because things were slow. However, because the store clerk robbed the couple of the chance to ‘work for the deal’ and negotiate a price (any price less than $500 would have worked), the couple hated the clock and now resented the store owner for allowing them to buy a steal without working for it.

I see the same thing happening with the free and clear house. Somehow if we fail to recognize that the seller has ‘already worked for a deal’ and could not get what they first wanted… they are now ready to offer you a steal. Forget that you haven’t worked for this steal. Just take advantage of your good fortune, and don’t be like this couple… and assume something is ‘wrong’ when the deal came so easily.

Frankly, if we don’t make the seller work a little bit… we probably won’t be able to get the steal anyway. Even though you are going to act quickly, it pays not to appear too eager. Nothing makes a seller or buyer feel like a sucker more than when the other side says, ‘yes,’ too quickly.

That’s my sermonette…!


What’s the address?