This year, sellers have the upper hand in negotiations, big time. This is the worst seller-favoring market I have ever seen. Even so, our clients are getting the right house for them.
Many seller’s agents are acting professionally and dealing fairly with the buyers competing for the houses. Many of them have developed systems showing properties. They are sorting the offer information onto spreadsheets so that they can fairly present and discuss them with their seller-clients. Many have templates for telling buyer’s agents that their clients did not get the house.
But some are abusing their upper-hand. They are requiring 15-minute showing limits. They are rushing properties to short offer deadlines. They are whining to buyer’s agents like me! about how annoying it is to have to put everything onto a spreadsheet. They are delaying posting their listings as under agreement (so prospective buyers will contact them about the active listing – that gives them a chance to solicit more business). They are being careless about notifying buyers about when decisions will be made. Some have even failed to tell us that a decision has been made and our buyer did not get the house.
Practical ways the Karma works against abusive agents:
- Properties are coming back on the market when rushed buyers wake up with buyer’s remorse. People who are not well coached will bid high, then regret it. People spend more than 15 minutes choosing a pair of sneakers, how can they decide on a house that fast?
- Buyers, who did not get a particular house, are still buyers. After being treated badly by a seller’s agent, they are less likely to want a house listed by that agent. As the number of houses on the market increases – and buyers have a choice – those agents will lose their advantage as a seller’s agent. This is bad for the agent and for the sellers who hire them.
- Buyers are future sellers! About a third of our clients are selling their current property after they close on this new property. Buyers remember seller agents who overplayed their advantage.
- Seller’s agents who are overt bullies rarely succeed in the long run. Yes, there are some that succeed in every town and all the agents know who they are.
- Buyer’s agents remember seller agents who overplayed their advantages. So do their designated agent colleagues.
Subtle ways buyers can go with the flow of their real estate Karma:
- Do not make an offer on a house that doesn’t work for you. Do not offer a price you cannot live with.
- The one you didn’t get is not the right place for you.
- The one you do get is the right place for you, if you followed rule #1.
There are so many factors that contribute to a house being the right place for you that you cannot know until you are there. Even when you plan for the location, size and condition, there will be subtle things that make a place work for you. Somehow, our clients report that they prefer the home they got to the ones they didn’t get. The only caveat is that some say they wish they had bought some other house at the price some other house went for.
We are still seeing love fests in 2021!
It seemed unlikely, when there is such a housing shortage, that buyers and sellers would find one another for a love fest. I have seen it over and over in other years, but didn’t expect it in 2021.
The hallmarks of a love fest are when the buyers and sellers are on the same page, once the financial part is completed. The sellers want to pass the torch of loving this home to the buyers. They leave all the important paperwork (manuals and contractor records), they offer tours/demonstration of how the house works before closing, and they leave champagne in the refrigerator or flowers on the table. The buyers like and admire the sellers. They send a thank you note.
What is different peri-post Covid is that sellers don’t come to closing anymore. Some weren’t coming, even before the pandemic; now we pretty much never see them. When sellers came, we could feel the love fest in the air. The sellers got to pass the key, like passing the torch.
The really nice thing about a love fest to me, as a buyer’s agent, is the knowledge that the house has a good vibe. It makes our jobs more pleasant when the houses we are showing have a positive feel. It makes our clients more able to imagine their happy life there, if they buy it. We are in the business of creating happy homeowners, so starting with a happy house gives us a head start to that goal.