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How to handle the hurry-up

Posted by Rona Fischman March 8, 2011 01:56 PM

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The national seller’s market doesn’t mean a thing to buyers who have been picking through leftovers for the past four months. To the buyers who I saw swarming open houses, I say “Just Say ‘No’ to Bidding Wars.”
Or if you are saying ‘yes,’ know what you are doing.

This week, in my area* there were 346 properties listed between February 28 to March 6. Of those, I showed nine. Numerous listings had a note for agents saying something like, “offers will be presented Sunday at 8 PM” or the like. Two other agents told buyers at the open house that she had an offer in hand.

As I write this, on Sunday night, I wonder how many are phantoms or dud bidding wars…

When I checked on Tuesday morning, 35 out of the 346 new listings have accepted offers, according to MLS.

From the nine I showed:
A total of two have accepted offers. (Of the two under agreement, one had a deadline on the sheet, one didn’t.)

Of the four where I was either told there was an offer on the table or I saw a note that said offers would be presented at a specific time on Sunday or Monday, only one has an accepted offer.

Neither of the two places where I was told there was an offer in hand had posted an accepted offer.

That was as of Tuesday morning.

So, how should a buyer respond to a hurry-up?

Since there is no way to know if the offers on the table are viable, or if the offers expected are going to show up, as a buyer, you need to make some decisions. I look at these things to determine what advice I will give to the buyer who wants a “hurry-up special”:

1. Sale time on similar properties early last spring.
2. The price of this property compared to similar properties sold last spring and since then.
3. My perception of the number of buyers who saw it and what they were thinking. (If it is open at an open house, I watch the expression of the other buyers.)
4. And...what has been in The Boston Globe real estate section in the past week or two.

This weekend, there was one house that was a hit for one of my clients. Sunday afternoon, I did a Comparative Market Analysis and discussed it with my clients. The house was overpriced. The price gap was significant, about $45,000 on a house under $1000,000. Sunday afternoon, they just said ‘no’…That house is under agreement as of Tuesday morning.

What did you see out there this weekend? Are you willing to “just say no”?

*My towns are: Acton, Arlington, Bedford, Belmont, Brookline, Cambridge, Concord, Lexington, Medford, Natick, Needham, Newton, Somerville, Sudbury, Waltham, Watertown, Wayland, Wellesley, Winchester

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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Scott Van Voorhis is a freelance writer who specializes in real estate and business issues.

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