"I’m waiting for a dumb California buyer to come and pay a higher price than I can get locally," said a client to me recently. His perception was that there are still many buyers out there who can be duped into paying an inflated price. The truth is that with the advent of internet and smart phones, buyers are extremely educated compared to the old days because they have all of the listings available at their finger tips. This is a good thing! The age of "Buyer Beware" is now "Buyer Be Educated!"
In past years the prevailing attitude was that a buyer would likely be the one who would bear the full burden for discovery concerning market values or property defects. Updated state laws now require the seller to make disclosures on a standardized form as a minimum that is much more comprehensive than what would have happened in the past. Customs have shifted from minimal investigation on the part of a buyer into a new norm that has the expectation that a full and complete inspection will be done. This is the age of full disclosure, when devious concealment is not ignored and fraudsters are more easily punished.
Some sellers may think this enlightening-of-buyers tips the scales in the buyers favor, but that mentality may be born of naivety. Educated buyers make better decisions and are less likely to cause grief for sellers after the closing, because they know that every effort was made to allow them to purchase with eyes-wide-open. Sellers may feel that their negotiation leverage is marginalized when the buyers have so much information about pricing and have seen the "skeletons in the closet", so to speak (because they have the opportunity for full investigation). That fear or perception is far from the truth! Sellers will always have most of the power in a real estate transaction simply because they control the property and have full control over what price they will sell at or whether they will even sell.
There are some sellers who insist on marketing their property "AS IS", with the hint that there are defects that they would rather not divulge. If they really mean that they don’t want to fix anything or won’t reduce their bottom line from the advertised price, then they would be better off just to say that, or risk scaring prospective buyers away!