When you don’t know what you don’t know – Shawna’s Story


This blog is part of an ongoing series about what “happily ever after” can look like. We’re giving you stories about previous home buyers and sellers and some of the challenges they faced. If they made it through, so can you! All client names have been changed to protect the innocent and crazy. 


Shawna is a contractor. And like a lot of contractors in the New Orleans area, when the housing market boomed – they wanted their piece of the pie.

We were more than happy to help her find an excellent investment property. Every time there was something she liked, we looked at numbers to see if the return was there on the investment. Lots of houses were scratched from the list because New Orleans sellers wanted too much money for places that were falling down.


The one came along. 

A house popped up that Shawna got excited for. It was a big house that was gutted after Hurricane Katrina. Nothing else had been done to it. This old gal needed lots of love. We’re talking new roof, foundation work, plumbing, electrical – the works. This house was a very BIG project.

We discussed what was realistic for her to net on this house when it was all said and done with. I should have seen early on that Shawna kept comparing this house to all these others she previously worked on.

“Well, this house got this much money” or “that house isn’t as nice, and they got more money!”


Why we can’t compare everything. 

The house she bought wasn’t in the same neighborhoods as the other houses she previously worked on. This house also was on a block with no other renovations done and was on a pretty busy street. All of these things are factored in when we price the house to sell later on.

The writing is on the wall.


House completed

She finally finished the renovation of this house. It was delayed by four months, like everything in New Orleans, due to slow workers and getting the certificate of occupancy from the city.

This house was stunning. Everything was brand new, shiny, and lovely. I would have lived there in two seconds!

Right before we listed the house, we discussed extensively what the price would be. Shawna wanted to list for $50k more than I thought the house could get. There just wasn’t any market data to support this price.

Like most New Orleans home sellers, her last words were, “Let’s just see what happens!”


Let’s just see what happens

What happened was no one came to the house. We held open houses, sat through numerous broker’s tours, ran tons of ads, and called every agent we know to come and visit the home. We got nothing.

Not only was the house not getting offers, but no one was coming to see it either.


Price Drop

I finally convinced her to drop the price, but even that wasn’t enough. It was still listed too high, and it had been sitting on the market. This is when people assume something is wrong with it and don’t even want to come to look at it.

Shawna continued to tell me that she would consider all offers, but unless we got someone to go inside, it didn’t matter.


Time to Part Ways

She was clearly disappointed and upset. She thought I wasn’t doing my job even though a lot of time and money was spent marketing this one of a kind home.

I didn’t want Shawna resenting me, and this house was becoming too stressful to deal with. I knew how she felt – so I let her go.

I told her that she could find another real estate agent because clearly, she was unhappy. I don’t want unhappy clients.


The Aftermath

Shawna ended up listing with another real estate agent soon after and even did a small price drop. The house continued to sit on the market.

She must not have been pleased with them, and they parted ways too.

I saw she then got a third agent, who wasn’t much better. There was another price drop, and then that agent was let go as well.

The fourth agent who got the property had managed to get her to price the house more reasonably, but at this point in the game, no one was going to pay that either.

I saw in our MLS (multiple listing service – it has everything that is for sale by agents) that the house finally sold.

It sold for $90k less than her original listing price. 


Happily Ever After?

I’ve since seen this house flipper, and she admitted she should have listened to me the first go-round. Shawna also said that she thought she knew better than any agent. Whether or not she’s trying to do anymore flips remains to be seen. She took a break from flipping and went back to a desk job for a while. 

In the end, she sold the house. While she wasn’t thrilled to take the offer she got, it was also the only offer she ever received on the property.


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