How to land the house you want


Dear David,

We’ve been house shopping for awhile. One of the homes we really like has been out of our price range for months. The price just dropped 50K, so we went to look at it. We really want to buy it. Our agent says there has been lots of traffic since the price drop, what can we do to snag this property? – FIRST IN LINE

DEAR FIRST: The real estate market tends to be pretty quiet during the holiday season, but in a year as unpredictable as this, there are always a few surprises. What I’m seeing lately from buyers and sellers is a general sense of reluctance. As the outlook on the short term future of home values and interest rates is uncertain, everyone is struggling to make decisions. 

If you’ve been house shopping for awhile, you may be struggling with reluctance, and I’ll bet these sellers are as well. It sounds like they’ve been chasing the market down, and may have hesitated to reduce their listing price for fear of missing out on a buyer who was willing to pay more. At this point, the 50K price drop has done what it was supposed to do: it put the house back on your radar, and generated lots of showing traffic.

Sellers chasing the market down are chasing a dream. A home listed at the wrong price tends to attract the wrong buyers, and they’ll inevitably be disappointed when it doesn’t stack up to others in the same price range. The recent price adjustment on the house you want to buy effectively “put the house on the market” to a whole new group of buyers. Now that it presents good value, you must act quickly. 

You’ve likely seen enough properties to know that this is the house for you, and that it’s priced competitively. Let your agent know how interested you are, and ask them to prepare an offer as soon as possible.

Your agent should call the seller’s agent to assess any specific expectations. Price, conditions and closing date are three main things to consider when drafting an offer that a seller can happily accept. If you’re first to the table with an attractive offer, you can secure the home before anyone else, and potentially save money by avoiding a bidding war.

Put yourself in the seller’s shoes. Offer them a fair price that reflects market value. Firm offers carry a lot of weight, so if you include conditions, make them as short as possible. A lowball offer may take you out of contention when there’s lots of interest in a home. Potential deals are frequently lost by buyers trying to “steal” a property if others are willing to pay what the house is actually worth.

PRO TIP: Close to half of all homes in today’s market are still selling at or over asking, even in these uncertain times. Remember what you’ve learned about the market in the past few months. Knowing what you want and being on the ball will get you packing sooner rather than later. #Advice #AskDavid #TheNegotiator