Life as an Austin Realtor requires a varied set of skills. Add to those now the ability to operate under constant Red Alert conditions if you hope to be an effective Buyer’s Agent. Here is the latest example.
Sylvia had buyers in from out of town last Saturday. Both houses they liked already had multiple offers. They went in on one of the homes. It wasn’t until Monday morning we found out another offer was selected. Meanwhile 5 new properties came on the market. The buyers were leaving town Monday night. Sylvia wasn’t feeling well so I took her buyers out Monday. We found a home they liked, checked with the agent and was told at 2PM that the owner was already reviewing multiple offers from the weekend.
We convinced the agent to wait for our offer. Saw the house, liked it, drove to my home where we all sat around our embarrassingly unclean kitchen table while I wrote it up. We did “old school” signatures on paper instead of DocuSign. I scanned and emailed to the agent with a pre-approval letter, followed by a phone call to “sell it” to the agent that this was the right buyer to select. This is all done with a sense of urgency, but not panic. Nevertheless, no room for mistakes, delays or incompetence. For adrenaline junkies like me, it’s fun. But not for most people.
How did it turn out? Read more …
If you’ve tried to buy a house in Austin lately, in an area of high demand and low inventory, such as Southwest Austin, you may have run into some competition. In fact, you most likely have. As of this writing, there are 43 Active listings and 84 Pending listings in SW Austin. I won’t go into a breakdown of what that means statistically, but let’s just call it a Mega-Seller’s-Market and leave it at that.
Other buyers want the same house you want, often the first day it hits the market. A new listing in South Austin 78745 that I showed a buyer a few days ago had a parade of buyers waiting in line when I got there, and more when we left. An offer I wrote today for a SW Austin home that came on the market 3 days ago has multiple offers and we’ll see how ours did tonight or tomorrow. It’s really, really crazy out there.
This type of market changes the way you have to approach your home buying effort in Austin. You are no longer “shopping” for a home, you are competing for a home. You are not a home buyer, you are a contestant. You are not trying to negotiate an acceptable offer with a seller, you are trying to beat your opponent(s), the other buyers, by making a better offer. Suit up, game on. And you’re not able to know what it will take to make your offer “better”, you can mostly only guess, then decide how high you want to jump.
This is disconcerting and frustrating for those unaccustomed to the stress. It can tie you in knots emotionally. It’s too much for some buyers, and they simply bow out of multiple offer situations, not wanting to compete at all. Others get it right away, put on a game face, and bring their A Game to the first offer, crushing the competition and “winning” a home on the first try. Still others, go through several failed offer attempts before they can muster up the fortitude and grit to throw down a wining offer. If you’re one who keeps losing, read How to Win Multiple Offers in Austin for some tips that will help you and your agent increase your chances of coming out on top.
Are we in a Bubble?
I’m not ready to call this a “bubble”, but this marks about 12 months now of very strong demand and shrinking inventory in many areas of Austin. Read more …
The last time the Austin real estate market saw this many multiple offers was in 2006 and 2007. Back then, buyers working with me and Sylvia won more than their share of these competitive offers by following a simple strategy, which was, make your offer acceptable and ready to sign with no mistakes or weird language. That’s it, basically. There is also the cover letter, and offer price strategy, but it’s not rocket science. More on that in a minute.
I was fired by a buyer in 2006, who told Sylvia “I only want to work with you from now on. Steve is pushy, arrogant, rude and doesn’t listen to me“. Actually, I did listen to the most important thing this buyer was telling me. She really, really wanted this house and would be very upset if she lost it to another buyer. Understood. I know the mission and what we must do, I told her. We need to write a winning offer, and I know how to do that.
So we sat in Starbucks and started writing the offer, at which point this California buyer wanted to instruct me about how and what to write, which included some non-standard language and quirky California nonsense. I was confused, because on the one hand, buyer really wanted to be selected over the other multiple offers, but on the other hand buyer was insisting we write the offer in a way that would doom it to failure.
Therefore, I repeatedly said, “no, we’re not going to write that in. You want your offer to be the one the seller likes most and decides to sign without countering“. It was like pulling teeth, partly because we were both “Type A personalities, but what we ended up presenting the seller was a super clean, ready-to-sign offer, with no mistakes or goofy non-standard provisions. Seller indeed liked our offer best and signed off as-is, without countering everyone for “best and final”. The buyer got the outcome she really wanted and was happy about that. But then she fired me because she was so upset with my refusal to write the offer her way. I felt less bad about that than I would have felt about sending in a crappy, embarrassing offer that failed the buyer. Sylvia took over and everything went smooth through to closing.
Fast forward to yesterday.