Why Selling A Duplex Is Like Owning A Truck

Old truckI have a high mileage Ford F-250 pickup that’s in the shop for the third time this year.  And I have to confess: I have a love/hate relationship with it.

On the one hand, when it’s running well, it helps me move heavy things, haul lumber home from Home Depot or pull lesser cars out of snow banks in the winter.

On the other, due to the 300,000 plus miles on the odometer, it breaks down a lot. Especially as of late.

So I’ve been thinking about selling it. Kelly’s Blue Book says it’s worth about $11-12,000 in it’s present condition. But I was thinking if I advertised it enough, I could get $30,000 for it.

After all, I’ve got at least that much into it.

Are you laughing?

You should be.

Believe it or not, as flawed as my truck logic may be, I hear it all the time from duplex sellers.

They tell me all about the repairs and improvements they’ve made to the property. They tell me about all its wonderful qualities. And then, inevitably, they tell me why they’re selling it.

More often than not, it’s due to a desire to change their lifestyle. That change may involve simplifying or streamlining their lives. Or, it may involve moving up to a bigger property.

No matter their motives, the fact is this: no buyer is going to pay a price for a property that’s based on what the seller “has into it”.

Just like my truck’s value, a buyer and her agent have determined value based on all the other properties they’ve seen on the market and those that have sold recently.

That’s also how the listing agent arrives at a suggested price.

In other words, I could spend a half a million dollars advertising my truck. And at the end of an elaborate ad campaign, a buyer and Kelly’s would still say the truck is worth $11,000. No one would be willing to pay more for it than the truck next door simply because it had its own web site.

True, advertising and marketing help drive buyers to properties.

But at the end of the day, it’s the market that tells you what it’s truly worth.

Just like my truck.