Today's Agent Insights features Ruth Lerner - a Massachusetts agent with William Raveis Real Estate & Home Service. She shares her thoughts on whether it's acceptable to take offers prior to an open house and talks about how today's buyer-hungry market has impacted her business.
It's been the same story with every listing I've had in Brighton and Brookline recently... I put a condo on the market, and one of the first questions I get from brokers is: "What is the offer schedule?"
The market is so tight here right now, multiple offers are the norm, rather than the exception - and most listing agents choose to have a set schedule of reviewing and accepting offers, for example, "offers are reviewed on Monday's at 4PM."
Having a schedule has many benefits. In addition to providing order and organization, buyers know what to expect and having a schedule gives them time to prepare their offer. Conventional wisdom says the traffic at the open house will generate more offers - so it's best wait for the crowd.
But I'm not one to accept conventional wisdom. In some situations, I prefer to review offers as they come in so I can get things done before the open house. But why forgo the open house traffic?
Here are my reasons for accepting offers before the open house:
- Serious buyers are ready to buy.
They have been ready since before I put the condo on the market, so I like to give them a chance to be first.
- Savvy agents with serious buyers don't wait for the open house.
The call me and say, "Get me in there!" I believe it is in the best interest of my client to work with a savvy agent, who will have a cleaner offer and will provide an easier transaction.
- Tons of offers don't necessarily mean more money.
Buyers will pay a premium to avoid the open house and compete against more offers. In today's market, where buyers have been getting squeezed out by the number of offers and outbid by cash buyers, it is often in their best interest to come in early and high.
- Too many offers can be a big fat mess.
My job as a listing agent is to sell properties for the highest amount of money and with as few conditions as possible. Experience has shown me that five offers can get me there just as well as 17. At some point, all the added offers become noise, paperwork and headache and confusion to the seller. Also, when tons of offers roll in - some of the best buyers may decide not to compete.
- Sometimes sellers prefer to avoid an open house.
This past year, I've had several sellers say the idea of having a stampede through their home is unappealing. When given the option to skip having an open house, many will happy take it.
- When you wait to take offers, they don't come in until the last minute.
Everyone wants to submit their offer last - so the seller sits, waiting in anticipation for much longer. In the meantime, buyers may be less enthusiastic days later, when they finally write an offer. The best time to get an offer is early on, when you can capture the excitement of a buyer who doesn't want to risk losing the property.
Yesterday, I received five offers for a property I put on market on Thursday and showed to a dozen people on Friday. One of the agents asked me if I would be hosting an open house. My reply was, "If I have five offers now, what exactly will I be doing at an open house?"
Today my client chose to sign one of the offers. I am writing this post in anticipation of the angry buyers and agents calling me from the lobby where I've posted a note "Open House Canceled."
Serving the Boston Area real estate market since 2002, Ruth is an experienced full time real estate agent dedicated to helping home buyers, investors and home sellers make the best real estate decisions. To learn more about Ruth - visit her website at www.ruthmalkinlerner.com.
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