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Are bidding wars making you want to jump off a ledge?

Posted by Rona Fischman April 23, 2012 02:08 PM

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I stand with Meliss173 who is tired of our arm-chair experts who think that there are no bidding wars and agents are duping silly buyers into paying too much with phantom offers. Yes, there are some phantoms. I try to arm buyers against such games.

There was a supply shortage last year, and there is one again this year.
It is unhelpful to buyers in the current market to deny the reality of the low supply and high demand on reasonable housing for a family within a half hour commute of Boston. Whenever the subject is broached, the parade of bears starts screaming that prices need to go down. Well, furry ones, price is not going to go down when there is a low supply and a high demand. The shadow inventory is not the inventory that young families want or need.

My company is keeping a list of MLS numbers of house and condos that we, personally, knew had bidding wars. When everything closes, we’ll put it together as a report for our clients. I intend to do one for BREN, too. If you want me to track a particular house, send me the MLS number. Please title your email “BREN bidding war.” I will wait until sometime in July, when things slow down, and check all the sales information on these so-called “hot houses.”

This weekend, I spent a lot of time talking to distressed buyers who were panicking that they will never-ever-ever find a place to buy. One described what I did as “talking me down from the ledge.” What put her there? A house that went under agreement before the first open house.

Here’s what I am seeing:

• Some properties are getting swarmed mid-week and having offers signed before the open house.
• Some properties are getting swarmed at open house and accepting offers on Sunday, Monday or Tuesday night.
• Some houses are going on the market, getting swarmed, and getting rejected.
• Some houses are getting Offer accepted in a heartbeat, only to find the house back in sale a week later.
• Some houses are lonely on a Sunday afternoon. They didn’t sell last year, they won’t sell this year. They are locationally impaired, in poor condition, and/or are still overpriced for the marketplace.

For those of you on the ledge, please step down. You will find a place. My advice remains consistent:

• Buy for the long-term whenever possible. Starter homes waste your money because of transaction costs.
• When house-hunting, do not accept something you can’t change that will interfere with your daily happiness.
• When you go to make an Offer, have the research handy that tell you what the top price the market is bearing for a place like this one. Do not pay too much; you will hate yourself for it in a couple of years.
• When you go to make an Offer, calculate your Principle, Interest, Tax and Insurance PITI at the price you are offering to pay. Add another one percent per year to that mortgage payment for repairs. Do not pay too much; you will hate yourself for it in a couple of years.

King Solomon asked his advisers for a phrase to help him modulate his emotions. When he was sad, he wanted to remember happiness; when he was happy, he wanted to modulate it with sadness. His advisers made him a ring. Inside it said “this, too, shall pass.”

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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