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Tales From the Front Lines of an INSANE Real Estate Market

You’ve all heard about Vancouver and Toronto’s ridiculous Real Estate markets over the last few years.

Well, believe it or not, it’s happening in Calgary right now.

This seller’s market has more momentum than any I’ve ever experienced in my 17 years as a Realtor.

Prices are spiralling upward, and EVERY good property is selling in multiple offers, often without conditions.

There’s not enough room in this post to get into WHY it’s a perfect storm for the Calgary Real Estate Market right now. (Give me a call if you like 403-973-9730, and I’ll be happy to explain.)

For now, I’ll give you a glimpse of what it’s like to be a buyer on the front lines and why it’s critically important to have a skilled, experienced agent on your side.

I’ve been in several multiple-offer scenarios in the last 2-3 weeks with buyers, and my clients are achieving success, including one where there were a total of 28 offers. Yup. We beat out 27 others and still got a very fair price, in my humble opinion. That’s a great story in itself, but today I’ll talk about a different deal that I just completed this past Saturday evening.

As with all my buyers, Dan and Sharon have no choice but to wait around for new listings and be ready to pounce. That’s because the inventory is so incredibly low, if a good listing comes on the market at a fair price, it’s sold within 2-3 days, guaranteed. 

The only reason it takes 2-3 days is that it’s become standard practice to specify a time when offers will be reviewed. For example, you list a property on Thursday and state, “Offers will be reviewed on Sunday at 7:00 pm.”

It’s no longer a question of IF there will be multiple offers. Instead, the only question is, HOW MANY?

So anyway, I’m working at my computer on Saturday morning, and – ping! – a new listing pops up. I quickly realize it’s perfect for Dan and Sharon! It ticks almost all their boxes, and as a massive bonus, it backs directly onto a beautiful park!

I quickly book an appointment to see it early Saturday afternoon, right after a different property I’m showing them. They’re from out-of-town, so I do all my showings with them over FaceTime, which works great.

Now, I take a closer look, and I notice a few interesting things about this listing:

1. The agent posted it on Saturday morning. This doesn’t seem very smart to me. I think it’s always better to post a new listing BEFORE the weekend to maximize its exposure.

2. There is no indication of when offers are to be presented. The listing is posted on the system just like the old days (two months ago) as if they don’t expect it to sell immediately. Weird…

3. It looks under-priced! I mean, I’m looking at it and thinking to myself, “Is there something I’m missing?”

4. I scroll down to see the agent’s name and brokerage, and… Bam! It all makes perfect sense now! It’s a discount broker! (Yes, there’s a reason these guys work for cheap.)

Now, I’m super excited to see this listing, and Dan and Sharon are stoked!

When I get there, it’s everything we had hoped for and more. It’s in excellent condition, the finishings are top-notch, and the location is incredible. I honestly thought that the market had gotten away on us, and there was no way we’d have an opportunity to buy a home like this within Dan and Sharon’s budget. It seems almost too good to be true.

But now, the hard part. How to structure an offer to win against what will surely be another multiple-offer scenario? By the way, Dan and Sharon are unwilling to go with an unconditional offer, as is almost the norm right now. Of course, I don’t blame them for being cautious, but I had to figure out how to structure an offer so a home inspection condition wouldn’t be too much of a detriment to acceptance.

I called the listing agent, asked him what was happening, and told him we would be writing an offer for sure. He said his clients would likely want to wait until tomorrow to review offers, but I insisted he present our offer today, and he agreed. (Real Estate agents have a fiduciary duty to present all offers within a reasonable time frame.) I knew if we waited until the next day, allowing another 15 agents to go through, the price would go up at least $50,000, quite possibly $100,000.

Next, I called my #1 favourite home inspector, explained the situation, and asked him what his next availability would be. He said he could do it late on Monday. I send him a ton of business, so he’s doing me a personal favour, which I greatly appreciate. This meant I could write the offer with a quick removal of the home inspection condition.

Next, we had to decide how much to offer. I waited for the listing agent to inform me when he received offers as I requested, which he did. When he had two other offers in hand, we submitted our offer at the number I suggested to Dan and Sharon. They were willing to pay much more for this house, but here was my logic on the lower number I suggested:

1. There were only about ten showings because he posted the listing so late on Saturday morning. I figured there would be around five offers total. (Turns out I was bang on.)

2. My analysis told me that the house was under-priced, given the current fast-moving market. Yes, our offer was considerably over asking, but not nearly as much as I’ve seen similar properties sell for recently. I felt like, in this case, we were able to get away with paying a FAIR price rather than overpaying, as was quickly becoming the norm. 

3. I asked the other agent to keep me informed on the names of the other agents, and without trying to come across as arrogant (honest), they were all lightweights. I knew they would be writing their offers based on the list price, not on the property’s true value.

4. There were several “hints” that I detected (I’m not giving away ALL my secrets) that told me it was highly likely that we were the front-runner, so I didn’t feel the need to advise my clients to up their price, even as the 4th and 5th offers rolled in.

All of the above aside, it’s still a nerve-wracking experience every time this happens, when you’re waiting to find out who won. The phone finally rings:

“Thank you for your offer, Ted. My clients are accepting and signing right now.”

Yahoo! Congrats, Dan and Sharon!

Do I feel sorry for the sellers, who sold their house for a price much lower than they could have gotten if they had hired a skilled and experienced agent?

Nope. My loyalty is always 100% with my own clients, and I’m thrilled for them for getting a great deal in an INSANE market!

  • Ted