Earlier this week, I got a call from an agent who showed a listing I have last week. His people loved it, he said, but the husband was out of town until the end of the week. They planned to make an offer Friday or Saturday. This afternoon, Saturday, as I was driving to my Mother's 85th birthday party, he called to say he was sending it via MongoFax and would like to present it over the phone. I explained that I'd be available late this afternoon to take a look at it and would call him then.
Then 20 miles down the Baltimore Washington Parkway, my Blackberry's ear bud tickled my ear once again. It was a second agent calling to say she was leaving the same listing with her clients and was writing an offer. And what did my sellers need as a time frame. An hour or so later, her offer was in my Blackberry's mailbox.
When I got back and looked at the two offers, it became clear that the first buyers wanted to play Let's Make a Deal. And it's an offer that might have worked as the only thing on the table. And it would have been if they had written right away. But when a second offer comes in, the dynamic totally changes.
Here is Washington, the market is not exactly red hot. But it's nowhere near blue cold either. And buyers who see a good house can no longer assume they can hang the sellers out to dry, negotiating the thing to death. While multiple offer situations are not every day events any more, they do happen.
If you come in way below the asking price, thinking you have weeks and weeks to go back and forth, you could lose a house you love.
And if you love it, it will probably appeal to other people as well. And if it is in good shape and in a popular DC neighborhood, Let's Make a Deal may not be the best strategy.
With condos, you might be able to pull it off. In the Virginia and Maryland suburbs, ditto.
But if you want to buy a house in DC, you snooze, you very well could lose!