Notes for New Agents: Winter Brings out Bargain Hunters in the Real Estate Market
Maybe it’s because Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday all happen so close together that shoppers believe that winter, in its entirety, is bargain-shopping time. Even for real estate.
The media doesn’t help when every year we read stories of how much more money a homebuyer saves when buying in winter than at any other time of the year.
If you have clients willing to transact at this time of year, bravo! If you have folks who are fence-sitting, trying to time the market, or otherwise hesitant to jump in, educate them on just how brilliant selling in winter can be.
As a new agent, however, you may find yourself in negotiations with bargain-hunting buyers. If this is a new situation for you, read on to figure out how to deal with it.
Let’s make a deal!
So, how should you react when you, as a representative of the seller, receive a ridiculously low offer on their home?
The appropriate response depends on several things, chief among them is the type of market we’re in at the time.
Right now, we’re in a weird transitional market. This means depending on the state of the market in your region, your client may or may not still be in the driver’s seat.
First, get a handle on what’s happening in your market. Read local news stories, and listen to other agents’ conversations at the sales meetings and in the office.
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Here are some of your client’s options:
- Entertain the lowball offer by remaining firm on the price. In other words, counter the buyer’s offer by stating that you want full price. This one is more appropriate in a hot sellers’ market.
- If your clients really need to sell the home sooner rather than later and offers are few, counter the offer by lowering the price by a small amount and let the negotiations begin.
- Ignore the offer. If offers are few and far between, this may not be a suitable option. Still, this option should be included when counseling your client.
- If the buyer is requesting concessions, consider granting them or some watered-down form of them (again, according to market conditions). In case you haven’t heard, “Buyers received concessions—such as money for repairs and mortgage-rate buydowns—in a record 42% of home sales in the fourth quarter,” according to Lily Katz and Taylor Marr at Redfin.com.
- Accept the offer.
Other ways to counter an offer to purchase include countering the contract terms.
But, before you present any of the aforementioned responses, and depending on how long the home has been on the market, you may want to run a new check of recently sold homes to ensure that the market value hasn’t changed since the home was listed.
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