Hot markets change agent behavior
Reader question: Our work took us to a new city. We chose to wait to buy again until we were familiar with the neighborhoods. We know now where we want to live, but have yet to find an agent who is proactive. We don’t understand why we are not getting their attention, as the market is hot. How do we get more cooperation? — Martha and Jared H.
Monty’s answer: While there are several possibilities, because you state your market is “hot,” most real-estate agents there are likely participating in a stringent “double-interview” process with potential buyers. Agents are interviewing/screening hard because they do not want to lose time with a buyer they perceive as unqualified, unrealistic or uncooperative. The inventory of homes becomes depleted in a hot market, multiple offers common and buyers gravitating toward the location. Many agents are seeking motivated buyers, well-qualified and with a deadline to move.
It takes two
Even though you are qualified there still may be a communication problem. Real-estate agents may find it easier to walk away than spend time with a noncompliant buyer. Noncompliance in an agent’s view could be a buyer repeatedly “not having time” to meet with a lender for preapproval. Another red flag is a buyer unwilling to share their “maximum spend” in the belief that doing so negatively impacts a future negotiation. Or a buyer that has a “maximum spend” that is below the new listing prices driving up the market, but wants to keep looking in that neighborhood, rather than switching locations. Both parties are complicit.
Customers may not be aware how many agents operate in a hot market. One way to defeat the “hot market” syndrome is to switch tactics. Digging deeper into what is going on in the neighborhood can sometimes pay dividends. There can be homes that remain unsold throughout the maelstrom occurring around them. Consider seeking homes that have been on the market for extended periods of time.
Agents may unconsciously neglect these homes because there is a greater risk of failure at some step in the transaction. The lender is nervous, an inspection results in a doomsday outlook or the buyer gets cold feet. On the other hand, while they may be “tulip” listings (coming up every spring), these homes may belong to a motivated seller who has not yet seen the light. Their agent may not know what should be done to enhance the chances of a sale, or too busy to do the extra work involved. —Richard Montgomery gives no-nonsense real-estate advice to readers’ most pressing questions. Send him questions at DearMonty.com.