Today is Wednesday, February 3. I’m writing this post to advise prospective buyers that they must be completely prepared to purchase a home before they visit any properties. The market today completely favors sellers to the disadvantage of buyers and their buyer agent representatives.
I’ll share a few anecdotes of the market conditions. The irrationality that buyers face is a daunting challenge.
Last Friday a client was reviewing listings I sent to their email and asked me to arrange a showing at a property in Springfield. The property had been listed that day, Friday, January 29. I pulled up the property listing and clicked on the “schedule showing” icon. The first available showing was 4:45 pm the following day, which was the second day on the market. I arrived at the property early and parked my car. I saw a text message arrived while driving. It stated, “SHOWING CANCELLED: Seller accepted conditional offer”. My clients had been driving to Springfield from Annapolis for an hour already by the time I received this automated text, and I was determined for them to see the property.
I called the listing agent and she told me a story about how the seller’s daughter had been rejected on several properties that had multiple buyers submit offers (which has nothing to do with their selling the house!) and that they accepted the first offer received. The listing agent didn’t check to see if other buyers were interested, and she didn’t call the agents who were bringing their clients to see the property. She simply told me, “Go ahead and show the property, the sellers may take a back up contract”.
Keep in mind that after seeing the property my clients were more baffled because they wanted to submit an offer. The sellers easily could have received multiples offers, called each agent and asked for their buyers best and final offers. The sellers would have their home with under contract on the first weekend available with few contingencies, if any, and at a price well above list. Instead, the sellers took the first offer.
I discussed the pros and cons of submitting a back up contract in case the first buyer voided. It happens often. I sold two listings in 2020 to buyers who were back up contracts. In both cases the over-eager first buyer got cold feet and voided the contract within a week of ratification. My clients asked me to draft a back up offer. We submitted it on Sunday morning, and did not hear back from the listing agent until Monday afternoon. She called and asked me for my clients “Best and Final” offer. I was astonished! The agent representing a seller that accepted the first offer in their hands was now asking two agents to have their clients increase their offers to be back up contract. I told the agent I would discuss the request with my clients, and noted that it was more than a bit ironic that this was being asked of buyers to finish in second place.
I can report that my clients also found it appalling given the circumstances and declined to increase their offer.
Each day I check the multiple listing service for a home that may fit the needs of one of my buyer clients. I found a really interesting contemporary home today in Falls Church, near Gallows Road in the Sleepy Hollow area. The home is listed as “Coming Soon”, and not available to be shown until it is active. The target date is February 12, which is 9 days from today.
Check out the calendar with blocks showing the booked showings already. There are already several showings booked for February 12.
In both of the cases discussed above my clients were pre-approved by lenders, have their funds available for down payments and earnest money deposits, yet there are vast numbers of buyers competing with my clients for the limited properties available for sale. A buyer who is not prepared is wasting their own time and effort, and faces insurmountable obstacles in their effort to purchase a home.
If you are considering a purchase in the near future you must be prepared. A starting point would be a buyer consultation with an accredited buyer representative, a real estate agent trained to assist buyers. Contact me for more details.