It is quite common to see developers pitching potential customers with phrases such as “A Priceless Opportunity,” but just as often buyers will find a property listing without a price.
Properties, listed with the mysterious “price upon request” label, are most often luxury homes of substantial value and size. Nevertheless, “Eventually every real estate transaction has a price” said Rick Moeser, senior vice president, southeast regional manager of Christie’s International Real Estate.
One of Moeser‘s recent “price upon request” listings is a 15+ acre tropical compound sitting on Manalapan Island, FL. The single family estate comes with 33 bedrooms, 40.5 bathrooms, a private beach and pier, as well as other luxury facilities. “Primary reason for not disclosing price in ads is to screen off speculators who are not indeed serious buyers,” said Moeser.
“We take inquiries about price over the phone. However we will not quote the price without verifying the caller’s financial ability first,” said Moeser, who makes a judgment call through phone conversations with potential customers. “It takes experiences from many years of practice to tell if it’s the right person on the other end of the line. This gives us a layer of protection.”
Properties listed with undisclosed prices are not featured on MLS (multiple listing service), a database that allows real estate agent to share their listing agreements as well as sales commissions with other agents, further raising the bar to public access.
Both home owners and agents use this as tactic to test the market. New York City agent Julia Jiang Hawkins of Douglas Elliman told Mansion Global, “Few listings in New York City are put on the market without a price. Some sellers are in no rush to make a deal. They hope to take this as an opportunity to talk with buyers of interests, to better understand where the property sits in the market.” Moeser agreed, “Agents do this to test the water, check out reactions of the market. The price may be changed later accordingly.”
Privacy concerns is a factor in deciding to forego a listing price, as the protection of personal information is often more important than an expedient sale. David Chicard, managing director of Sotheby’s International Realty in Brussels, said that it has been common practice to not disclose the asking price in Belgium’s luxury home market, “The owner could be celebrities or people of substantial wealth. They are serious about privacy in all aspects.”
“(In Australia) approximately 80% of properties are offered either by auction or expressions of interest. Both methods of sale usually give no published price but a price guide or price range is offered,” said Ken Jacobs of Christie’s International Real Estate’s Sydney outpost. According to Jacobs, many foreign buyers, especially the ones from Asia, felt uncomfortable when first introduced to the system, “but once we explained, they’d understand.”
Jacobs also said that these types of transactions have no negative effects on statistical reporting, as a price guide or range is available prior to the sale, and after the sale the exact selling price is on public record.
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