Hot mar­kets change agent be­hav­ior

The Progress-Index - At Home - - NEWS - DEAR MONTY — Richard Mont­gomery gives no-non­sense real-es­tate ad­vice to read­ers’ most press­ing ques­tions. Send him ques­tions at

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 realestate 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.

Switch­ing tac­tics

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.

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