The $1 Listing

So there is a new listing that just hit the market located 927 33rd St. in Oakland.  Listed with Keller Williams San Carlos this new listing is creating a lot of fuss.  Why?  Because it is listed for only $1.  Yes, $1.

The agent notes the following: “Very Creative Seller, Very Savvy and seller has high knowledge about Real Estate. Seller has right to refuse or accept any offer.”

Is this for real?  Yes it is.


There is a big discussion happening amongst the real estate community on a particular facebook thread.  Here are some of the highlights:

  • “This has created a true auction”
  • “This breaks the agent’s obligation to fair and honest dealings with the other side”
  • “This makes agents look like baboons”
  • “I have a client on a tight budget who would happily pay 100% above the listed price”
  • “It is an invitation for a lot of angry agents and buyers to step forward”
  • “I have to admit, I secretly always wanted to try this and see what would happen”
  • “REALTORS® shall be honest and truthful in their real estate communications and shall present a true picture in their advertising, marketing, and other representations.”
  • “For the sake of discussion, how is this any different than the all-too-common $699k listing in a $1M neighborhood?”

About 35 comments into the thread the owner of the property chimes in.  “Hi all, interesting reactions here. As the long-time investor who’s listing the house, I’d like to clarify a few things: I’ve had a longstanding relationship with this agent, and she is being made whole financially, regardless of the final sales price. As many people have speculated, this is indeed like an auction. Whatever offers come in, the highest one will purchase the house, simple as that. You’ll notice that there’s no “we’re not setting a price, it’ll be like an auction” option on the MLS, so a $1 listing it is. On Sunday we had a great turnout and some good offers in already (!!!), so we’re quite satisfied with how it’s gone. You can either take advantage of the hype that something like this generates, or not use it and let it stay that much more powerful for other real estate professionals. The choice is yours. It’s not something to use on every listing, but it’s been great so far for me. If you want to know how it plays out in the end, I’ll post the results on Facebook.”

Super interesting stuff here.  I don’t actually have a problem with it.  It is a marketing strategy that is clearing garnering A LOT of interest.  The agent is getting a lot of exposure and the property is getting a lot of exposure – doesn’t that make for a successful marketing plan?  The Seller is an investor which means that if he/she has a good product, and a lot of eyes are on it, other buyers may seek out his listings.

I absolutely do not like our current strategy of “list low, get a lot of offers, sell high.”  I wish that we would get back to the good ol’ days where we would list at a price the Seller’s would take.  But until then, list it for $1 or $100.  The only people truly affected are those buyers who won’t see it because it didn’t pop up on their search.  This house will sell in the mid-$600’s so if their search is set to a minimum of $500,000 they will never see it.  But will it matter?  We will know in a few weeks.

What do you think?