Caveat vendit

Everyone from the new resident looking for furniture to the luxury property buyer is familiar with the better known latin phrase caveat emptor. Let the buyer beware has at one time or another figured in all our purchasing conversations. But who looks out for the seller? 

Around our office, you're more likely to hear caveat vendit, let the seller beware - especially when setting the price of your listing. 

Ellen DeGeneres gave us an example of either her comedy stylings or her property know-how last week, we're still deciding which, by raising the listing price of her Thousand Oaks home , from $10.995 million to $12.995 million. 

While we like a good laugh as much as the next brokerage, if you are looking to sell your high end property, the jokes and backslapping come at the end of a very difficult process - not in a slapdash agreement of 'what we'll try and get' at the beginning. Marketing and finalising the sale on any property is hard. The hard work begins not by setting a price that 'sounds right to you', but by doing a good deal of homework and taking expert advice. 

DeGeneres and her wife Portia De Rossi later explained away their massive price hike by saying they decided to include all its furnishings. It's true they and/or their interior designer have impeccable taste. But we always were more impressed by her property-flipping record. So this week, we can't help but wonder if she was lacking some sound advice in the early stages of listing this one? 

Ask Jennifer Aniston- her Beverley Hills home was listed for $42 million at the beginning of 2011. Aniston followed up by working with Coldwell Banker and finalised the sale later that same year for reportedly $37 million. 

California real estate is similar to ours. It is a Luxury market buffered from some of the wilder economic fluctuations around it. But that doesn't translate to sellers choosing what price will sell. 

Real estate agents do not want to undervalue your home. On the contrary any agent worth their salt wants the highest price. If you're thinking of selling yourself or shopping around until an agent tells you what you want to hear, think again. Go for an agent who will tell you straight what the highest possible price is.  

What IS the possible highest price? 

The highest price is the most reasonable price. The one that draws attention from several buyers. For luxury property sellers in Cayman, competition is king. With two or more potential buyers in the picture for example,any foibles are overlooked. More importantly, maybe a little less well known, the caveat becomes a little less emptor - one of these parties is more than likely to bid up to get what they want. 

Next time - we're going back to the key phrase in the Jennifer Aniston anecdote. 'Finalised the sale that same year'. Don't leave that listing loitering on the market.