Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Property for sale: holding off on offers, or not?

Property for sale: holding off on offers, or not?

As a seller, you and your agent prepare the house and the file carefully, you do everything right and the big day comes: it goes on MLS, you have a Realtor tour, and an open house during the week end.  The critical marketing exposure time has started, and between the paper advertising, the internet advertising and all the promotion, the world is starting to learn about your house.

The big question at that point is: do you hold off for offers until a certain date (hoping for multiple offers), or do you take offers as they come? 


Holding off for offers is a good strategy, if the house is well priced: it ensures that the house has been seen enough, and that potential buyers have had the time to review the file and decide what they want to do, after looking at all the disclosures and reports you carefully prepared upfront.  This way, when offers come in, chances are they are informed and well thought-out, and you can have a choice between good offers.  Odds are high the transaction will close without problems.

But the down side of this strategy is that some buyers are turned off by the process, and do not want to participate in this competition.  Also, if you hold off too long, other competing properties will come on the market and you will lose some potential buyers.  Finally, with this strategy comes the difficult choice to make if someone brings you a “preemptive offer”, which is likely much higher than the asking price.  If you take it you are not going to see what the other offers could have been (the ones that followed your instructions and waited for the “offer date”).  If you do not take it you could lose that high offer.  Hint: it is a gamble.

So the alternative is to “take offers as they come”.  But what do you do when one comes too fast, may be even higher than your asking price, and you have the feeling that either 1/ the buyers did not read the file carefully just to go faster or 2/ not enough people have seen the house? 
Could you have a higher or better offer by waiting for more people to have the time to see the property and work on an offer?  In real estate we say that the first offer is often the best one.  But this saying goes in a typical market, and our market is anything but typical.

Two key elements are in play here: 1/ the (pricing) strategy you prefer to use, and 2/ the quality of the advice you have with your Realtor and how good the information you get is.  I explain to my clients how important it is to have someone on your side during this critical period, to assess the real interest that exists out there for your property.  The tools your Realtor uses are critical too.  It is essential to know: - number of showings, and feed-back, - number of page views on the various web sites, - how many people are looking at the disclosures online, and what exactly they are looking at.  Not all tools get you this information, and not all agents take the care to sift through it. Finally, it is critical that your Realtor follow closely any interested party (agent or principal), and answers questions as best as possible; indeed any unanswered question has a dollar amount attached to it.  Better informed buyers will bring you an offer, and one additional offer may mean a big difference in your final sales price.

As always, thank you so much for reading, and if you like what you read, let your friends know!
 
Francis
Silicon Valley real estate specialist
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