News & Views on Real Estate


When Your New Listing Is Hot! Hot!! HOT!!!

OK, there is supposed to be a declining market in Washington, DC.  Really?  You coulda' fooled me!  During August, I was involved on the losing side of a couple of bidding wars.  Declining market?  And it looks like September is starting off with yet another one.  But whether the market is totally hot or stone cold, there will always be a few hot listings.

This week in Washington, a favorite colleague has a hot new listing.  Since she put it on Tuesday's brokers' tour, it has been crawling with local agents and their clients  The seller did everything right.  It's a totally fabulous house with just about the best staging job I've ever seen.  The owner has moved out, and it's on lockbox and easy to show.  And the agent he selected has decades of experience and has a wonderful reputation for professionalism. 

This listing is generating the kind of excitement we haven't seen since about 2006!  And it got me to ask myself, what's the best way to make the most of this kind of situation?

Timing is crucial. 

When do you put the listing on the computer?  I usually place it on MRIS on Friday afternoon, making it easily accessible to agents (electronic lockbox, no need to call) with a Sunday Open House.  In this case, the listing showed up on Tuesday in time for the broker tour.

When do you look at offers?  If the house goes into your multiple listing information on a Friday, agents and buyers don't seem to mind waiting until Monday or Tuesday for contract presentations.  Waiting longer than that can get tricky.  If it goes on early in the week, say Monday or Tuesday, people can get a little pissy if they make an offer and you don't do anything with it for a week.  It seems that anything more than four or five days gives them just a little bit too long to think about it.  But taking something that comes in before the house is properly exposed to the market may not be the best thing either.  Still, in the markets that most of us have today, unless it's been deliberately under-priced, it's probably best to apply the old "bird in the hand" thing and deal with offers as they come in.

A Cautionary Tale - when the market was going nuts a few years ago, there was a stunning condo in Georgetown that went on the market on a Monday morning.  The price was a little lower than what less fabulous places were welling for.  There were traffic jams in front of the building from agents and buyers trying to find even a fire hydrant parking place - one of them being mine.  I called the agent to register an offer, and she said the presentation would be a week from the following Thursday at her office.  I was totally annoyed.  My buyer decided to wait it out.

On the designated date, I showed up with three offers:  one full priced, one full priced with an escalator clause, and a third over full price and a huge escalator clause.  And I was the only agent there.  The agent, and more important, the agent's client, were stunned that there was only one offer, and of course the one I pulled out of my briefcase was the full price, no escalator clause.  I could hear words that sounded a bit harsh coming from the seller, and at settlement he asked that the listing agent be barred from the room. 

If waiting too long in a fast market is a bad idea, in a slow market it could be fatal.

Moral of the Story:  

In every market, there are houses that sit and there are houses that are hot.  If you are selling and your house is hot, thank your lucky stars.  Thank your talented real estate agent.  And don't get greedy.  Don't get cocky.

Comment balloon 0 commentsTim Maitski • September 04 2008 08:51PM