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Real Estate Questions - Updated

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
I live in MA and we are looking to buy. We have looked at about 8 houses and found one we are interested in...but still sitting on the fence-there are few things I don't care for, but I'm not sure I'm going to get exactly what I want at my budget. Its at the top of the list of the houses we have seen and I really don't see any others in the listings that send me over the top either.

Anyway, our real estate agent called us this am and told us that the house we liked received an offer and wondered if we were interested in providing one as well. She'd meet with us in an hour to write up the deal. Well, we provided an offer, much higher then we would have at our initial offer. This all felt quick and I felt pressured, keep in mind I've never bought a home. The seller's agent reviewed them and said that both offers were good and they want us to come back with our best offer by 6pm tomorrow evening.

What would you do? Play the game? I can't believe there are multiple offers on a house in this market. I've seen houses sit on the listings for months. Only one I can think of recently went really fast and just shy of asking price.

Part of me says, let it go...I don't want to be in a bidding war. The other part says just offer 3k more -- in the grand scheme its not going to make much difference and if they don't take it, walk.

Can agents lie about multiple offers?

Also, they agents work for the same company at different branches and had me sign a paper that stated I was informed. How much does that come into play? I mean, is it the same as having the buyer's agent and the seller's agent one in the same person?

This is such a big decision. For what its worth, I have great credit, I'm in a month to month rental so no house to sell, no lease to break and have 20% down and are pre-approved. So, a pretty good buyer in those respects.

Sorry my post was so long...
post #2 of 21
I am not a lawyer, real estate agent or any sort of "pro", but I have bought a few houses in MA.

It is legal and fairly normal for both the buyer and seller to be working with agents from the same company/office. It is also OK for you to work with an agent in the same office. BUT the thing is, unless you sign a contract stating that "your" agent is a BUYERS AGENT, they are technically working for the seller. This holds true whether you are buying a house that is listed with their agency or any other. What that means to you is without that contract, they are working on behalf of the SELLER and obligated to get the best deal for them. Now they can't out and out lie to you or break laws, but they do have to keep the SELLERS best interest as their focus. Now could they be pushing you towards the house? Sure. It is possible they do have another offer? Sure. It is possible it is just as good as yours? Maybe. But it is also possible that they are just trying to see if one or both of you will go a little higher just for the heck of it. I am a little put off by the "have your best offer" by whenever comment though. That I have never heard. I have had my offer countered, but not just a flat, "come up with something more".
As for should you or shouldn't you, well only you know hat answer. IMHO, in this market if I did not love love love a house I would not play this game. There are too many homes out there (and more being listed everyday) to "just go ahead" and by it. This is a HUGE investment and you should know that you WANT this house and can live in it for some time and be happy that you bought it.
Between the weird comment on coming up with your best offer and the fact that "your" agent did not clearly explain the paper you signed (which if you read I am sure is the paper that tells you they are essentially working as a sellers agent and not YOUR agent) and the difference between buyer and seller agent, well I would pass all together. On the house AND working with that particular agent. But that's just me.
Either way, best of luck!!
post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 
The "come back with your best offer comment" put me off too. My agent told me to put in our best offer when I made the offer. I would have started lower otherwise, but she suggested to go higher as it was a "multiple offer bid" situation. Then, as she was leaving she said that he may come back with that statement if the offers were close-so maybe they were close, who knows!

As far as the paperwork, we did sign a buyers contract and another document indicating that she told me that both the seller's agent and the buyer's agent work for the same company. sorry if i didn't communicate that clearly. I just don't know if it makes a huge difference that they work for the same company or not, so I was throwing that out there.

Being that I have no home to sell and I'm an attractive buyer in this market, I felt that I had the upper hand. This will probably be the best position I'll ever be in as far as home buying. Now, it seems like the seller's agent does. It sinks!
post #4 of 21
If I were in your situation I would not counteroffer, I would withdraw my offer. See if they come back to you begging to buy the house with a better offer to YOU. The house isn't your dream house, and new houses come on the market every day. Don't pay a penny more than you wanted to. When it comes to houses it's easy to say "it's only another $3k". But, would you spend $3k on a pair of shoes? Give it away on the street? $3k is $3k. You'll really feel that extra money you paid at the end of your mortgage (believe me, I've been there) when you are thinking "I could have had this house paid off now!"

If you don't feel like your agent is working in YOUR best interest, you're probably right. We have gut feelings for a reason. (thanks, Gavin de Becker!)

Good luck!
post #5 of 21
I agree, I wouldn't get drawn into the bidding war. You already went over what you wanted to pay on your first offer, I wouldn't give more. They are just trying to drive the price up. Either keep your offer as is, or withdraw it.
post #6 of 21
I would walk away from this.
For one, this is not your dream house and all the things that bother you now will only bother you that much more when you start to remember you paid more than you wanted to.
Houses come on the market everyday. You are not in a hurry to buy.
We made the mistake to buy because we felt we needed something now and here we are 5 years later absolutely miserable wishing we could do it over.
post #7 of 21
Realtors always work for the seller, even when they work for you. They do not have the buyers best in mind, they have their paychecks in mind. that means they want it to sell for HIGHER. walk away, or....offer less. like...10-20 grand less. I can not say enough to offer less when people are hard up for money. Its how you wheel and deal.

I just bought a house. it sold 5 years ago for 260grand. When it went to public auction a neighbor put in a bid for 200. it didnt meet the banks reserve. It went through foreclosure and came back on the market for 160. I offered them 70. yes, thats right, HALF. we went back and forth until they would only come down to 138. and we were up to 85 so again, we withdrew all previous offers and I countered again, back down to 70. They came back with 90. I got them to counter in our price range. The house appraised at 176 and in a few years when the market turns around, imagine what we could sell it for. )not that I would, I LOVE this house)

OFFER LESS! People are desperate right now. Chances are its a load of BS from the realtor and you'll make them pee their pants. Its a BUYERS market, take advantage! No quick decisions, no fast choices. They can and WILL wait.
post #8 of 21
Thread Starter 

Update

Well, this afternoon we made the decision to stand with our original offer. Then get this, he rejected all offers. This is his response:

After careful consideration of all offers on my grandmothers house, we have decided that none of the offers were acceptable as written at this time. We are rejecting all offers and we are countering all offers and interested parties at $334,000. We are extending our counteroffer until this Tuesday night at 6:00 pm. I understand that your buyers submitted their highest and best already, so if the offer is to stand as written just let me know. If they wish to submit a higher offer please do so before Tuesday at 6:00 pm. We had two more showings this weekend from two more very interested buyers whose agents would like the opportunity to make an offer as well, so I have extended this counter offer to these agents as well. Thank you and your buyer for your extended interest in this great home.

So, I said we would keep our original offer on the table and see what happens on Tuesday. I told the realtor that we would like to see other homes on Saturday and she said just let her know what listings and she would set them up.

What would you do or have done differently? What do you think of this approach?

Oh and I wish I had sg784 negotiation skills!!!
post #9 of 21
In the current market, just walk away from that house. You have only looked at 8 houses. Tell your agent you want one like house X, but $20K less expensive.

The agent is motivated to sell you the most expensive house he/she can talk you into. A huge disadvantage of this is the more expensive houses are harder to resell.
post #10 of 21
It is so easy for me to say, because I'm not involved with all of the emotions of this, but I would walk away. I mean, if this seller thinks his house is all that and he can get whatever he's asking, then let him. Let him monkey around and play other people off each other. It's not your dream home... you are an excellent buyer.... save yourself the drama.

Also..... did your agent really tell YOU to let her know what listings you wanted to see on Saturday? Ummmm.... isn't it her job to find houses for you to see??? You don't have access to the MLS- she does. You don't see what's coming and going on the market- she does. She should prepare a list of houses for you, not the other way around.

I'm not loving your agent.
post #11 of 21
I say dump your relator, for the reasons Belia says...
post #12 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Belia View Post
It is so easy for me to say, because I'm not involved with all of the emotions of this, but I would walk away. I mean, if this seller thinks his house is all that and he can get whatever he's asking, then let him. Let him monkey around and play other people off each other. It's not your dream home... you are an excellent buyer.... save yourself the drama.

Also..... did your agent really tell YOU to let her know what listings you wanted to see on Saturday? Ummmm.... isn't it her job to find houses for you to see??? You don't have access to the MLS- she does. You don't see what's coming and going on the market- she does. She should prepare a list of houses for you, not the other way around.

I'm not loving your agent.
Really? I get the MLS listings sent to me daily with updates - she set it up with the info we gave her (#of bedrooms, baths, garage) and I see them and ask her to set them up. I didn't know there was another way to do it.
post #13 of 21
I don't like the way your realtor is handling any of this either. She sounds pretty lazy, IMO.
post #14 of 21
The thing about real estate is that you always have to be willing to walk away.
When it comes to houses (and sales) my attitude is that there are always deals, always new houses on the market, always new sales coming up. This sense of urgency benefits the seller, not the buyer, and is an artificial creation.
Let them reject the offers and walk.
post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Logan's Mom View Post
Really? I get the MLS listings sent to me daily with updates - she set it up with the info we gave her (#of bedrooms, baths, garage) and I see them and ask her to set them up. I didn't know there was another way to do it.
Make sure she is sending you lower priced houses also, not just a specific price range you have requested. For example, if you are looking to spend $250-300K, you should consider $200-$250K houses also.

You may find these web sites helpful:
zillow.com
trulia.com
google maps (check out what is next to a certain property)

In the current market, take your time and find a house to love, without a "bidding war".
post #16 of 21
I would recommend seeing more houses. In any market there are still people looking and the best houses will still sell with possible multiple offer situations. The place to get a great deal is usually the houses that are not advertised well, don't show well on the mls, or don't look good on a drive bye. I know it's a pain and takes time, and you will probable see a lot of not great houses. But with some imagination you can end up with a great house for less money.

We have bought and sold many houses in MA over the last 15 years. Asking for best and last in multiple offer situations is very common in our area. Mostly in bank owned and escrow situations. It sounds like this was an estate situation? Rejecting all offers just means they want top dollar, and the action on the house tells them they can get a little more.

We are looking to buy another property and have bid on two houses in the last few weeks. Both houses had multiple offers and both asked all offers for best and last, then the bank or lawyers just pick the best. No negotiating is involved.
post #17 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Logan's Mom View Post
Really? I get the MLS listings sent to me daily with updates - she set it up with the info we gave her (#of bedrooms, baths, garage) and I see them and ask her to set them up. I didn't know there was another way to do it.
We have NEVER done this. While our relator may share the MLS with us its never been our 'job' to find the houses. I'm still getting bad vibes about your relator. Honestly there could be a wonderful house for 170k and shes only sending you houses in the 250-300k range ykwim? or there could be a house 2 miles outside your search range. Also what I've found is the MLS listings arent always correct and many relators 'know' the houses. The MLS is only a data base and its only as good as the person gathering the data and inputing it.

It could be that your relator has too many clients and this method (emailing listings) is her way of managing the chaos? or IMO shes just lazy. Id really be interviewing other relators to help you.
post #18 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Logan's Mom View Post
Really? I get the MLS listings sent to me daily with updates - she set it up with the info we gave her (#of bedrooms, baths, garage) and I see them and ask her to set them up. I didn't know there was another way to do it.
We just bought a house last spring and this is how we did it, too.

I liked the method. I also signed up for whatever free sites I could in addition to the agent's site, so I could see houses outside our price range and outside our search area. If I found a house doing that (or just driving around, which we did a lot of, too), then I could always give her the info. and she would look it up for us and add it to our site with her.

I like it because A) I could see all the listings in our area (and there are a ton--we live in a large metropolitan area). B) We could look at the info. online, drive by, and then only set up to see the inside of the ones that we felt really had potential. C) With so many houses for sale in our area, I felt like I really knew every single house for sale...probably better than our agent. And, personally for me, that was okay because I was buying the house, not my agent, and I wanted to be in control of choosing the houses we saw. She did give us info. on houses she had seen in the area or knew in the area when it was relevant to us, but at the time we were looking, there were literally hundreds of houses listed in our search area. I felt like doing it the way we did gave us a lot of power, info., and say in the process.

I never felt like she was lazy or not doing her job. I always felt like finding and narrowing down the houses I wanted to see was our job. Helping us through the process and getting us a contract and a closed deal (on a short sale, as it turned out) was her job--and she did it very well.
post #19 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Logan's Mom View Post
Really? I get the MLS listings sent to me daily with updates - she set it up with the info we gave her (#of bedrooms, baths, garage) and I see them and ask her to set them up. I didn't know there was another way to do it.
Our agent did this as well. She sent us a list of new listings every day, if there were any. They were filtered by the usual (bedrooms, baths, etc) but she also restricted by property size since that was important to us - not sure if MLS let her do this or if she did it on her own. I didn't feel that she wasn't doing her job, especially since she'd usually send us comments with her thoughts on each property, such as what the neighbourhood is like, if the property was relisted, price lowered, etc.

I agree with the PP that after seeing only 8 houses I would be careful of getting too wrapped up in this particular property. It sounds like the seller is trying to get everyone to up their price, which I can kind of understand but I'm not a fan of this approach. Too stressful for me (and home buying is already stressful enough IMO!).
post #20 of 21
www.redfin.com is my friend!
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