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How Does Real Estate Competition Really Work?

Friday October 7, 2016


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These days there is more competition than ever for the relatively few available properties. Overall listing inventory is way down with only 306 listings available for sale in Burlington versus last year at this time when there were 409 properties on the market. Couple that with the fact that there are more buyers seeking these relatively few properties for sale and in many cases the result is more than one offer at the same time for a given property. A discussion of the nuances of the competing offer process and rules might be of benefit.

Sometimes offers are ‘held back’ intentionally for a specified period of time and this must be set out in the listing comments where both the industry and the general public can easily see them. The idea is that buyers have an opportunity to view the property (and in some cases carry out a home inspection) prior to a specified offer date and time. Any buyer who submits an offer must be informed of whether they are in competition with any other offers further, they are entitled to know how many other offers will be presented for the property. They are not entitled to any other information about any of the competing offers.

Sometimes competition arises more naturally where more than one buyer decides to put forth an offer on the same property at or around the same time.At the designated presentation time the seller is ‘presented’ all of the offers by their sales representative. If one of the offers is satisfactory to the seller then the seller may ‘accept’ that offer. The seller also has the option of countering any single offer in the hope of obtaining better terms. Additionally the seller can send any number of offers back to the buyers without officially countering any of them and simply ask the buyers if they will improve their offers. You can imagine that this back and forth process can go on very late into the evening and sometimes over a period of days. If none of the offers are considered acceptable during the process, the house does not sell and simply goes back on to the market in the hopes that it might obtain an offer in the more traditional manner. It is usually only bid down from there. On the other hand, the strategy of holding back offers result in some very high sales for sellers.

It is important to know the liquidity in a given market, the number of buyers that might be vying for the type of home you are offering, and whether there are buyers in your category who may have recently lost out in competition for similar homes. The chances of a successful outcome are greatly improved when you have the right information at hand.

Contact the Woolcott Team and they will be happy to do a detailed analysis on what approach will net you the most for your home.