“So, do you want to put in an offer?”
“I don’t know … I mean, I really love this house, but there’s going to be so much competition, right?”
“Well, yes. It’s very, very likely.”
I can’t tell you how often I’ve had some version of this conversation with clients who are pre-approved to buy a home and actively looking. It goes like this — we’ve toured a few properties and clarified their needs, wants, and “wouldn’t-it-be-awesomes” with every house we see. Finally, finally the house that checks the most boxes comes on the market and their eyes light up the minute we’re through the front door! Go time, right? Well, maybe not.
A near paralysis sets in, giving the infamous “Seattle Freeze” an entirely new meaning. Without even knowing why, many clients press pause on the offering process before even trying. Here’s me, trying to make sense of that.
If you’ve read anything about the housing market in Seattle you might think it is a veritable blood bath for buyers. And? You’d be right in some cases. Properties list at the end of the week and within days offers are reviewed, rejected, or received as the answer to a seller’s prayers of upsizing, downsizing, or that long awaited blessing of retirement. The lifecycle of a property on the market in Seattle is an often brief, competitive one. But, (here’s a nod to what every little league football coach has ever said to his team of 10-year-old gridiron giants before a game) you can’t win if you don’t play, and if you’re going to play, play to win.
In other words, compete.
Look we compete at everything, don’t we? We compete in school. We compete on our jobs. We compete against ourselves. And, if you are one of the many newly relocated Seattle techies at Amazon, Microsoft, FaceBook or Google looking for housing, my guess is that you had to compete for that coveted, professional distinction. Why should buying a house be an exception?
Here are some simple truths that might make you feel better about getting into the offering game:
It takes one offer to be the winning one. (Pssst … might as well be yours!)
It doesn’t cost anything to offer. Well, okay … okay! That is only sometimes true. Some hard costs associated with offering on a property can include a home inspection (roughly $450 with a written report and around $350 without) and a sewer scope (approximately $250).
If I’m being totally transparent here there are less tangible costs too. Those look like time, perhaps a little more time, and mental and emotional energy. What I know about those costs is that only clients can determine the value of those investments.
Considering the above, actually making an offer requires relatively little from buyers beyond their grit, tenacity, faith and courage. I mean, on review date they should plan to be electronically connected, sign some stuff, cross some fingers, and finally pour some bubbly or whiskey depending on the outcome. The heavy lifting for buyers is much earlier in the process with things like getting pre-qualified, doing a credit clean up if necessary, asking for help from mom and dad, touring some properties, and seriously considering letting go of that couch from college that simply can NOT make the transition into adulting. The other “competitive” stuff? Well, a stellar agent should assist her buyer with that.
A truly caring agent helps her client mitigate those risks that are, indeed, intimidating. Risks like spending money on inspections and scopes for a property they have a snow ball’s chance of getting or neglecting to help them identify those terms and conditions that make their offer the absolute strongest it can be to increase the chances of acceptance. I mean, really, it’s the agent’s job to get onto the mat, inside the ring, and dive headlong into the melee for her clients while they calmly await the (hopefully good) news.
So, yes, Beloveds. It IS a competitive market in our lovely Emerald City. For reals, who wouldn’t want to grow roots, establish a household, pursue a dream, or paint one’s face blue and green in a place where even the rain is romantic? Certainly, you would, no? Then, let’s try it. Go for it! You, above all, deserve that place where you’ve envisioned Thanksgiving around that oval table that reminds you of Grandma’s.
Get on the field, in the game, and (insert the sports analogy of your choice here). Your dreams deserve your best effort, but choose your agent wisely so that you’re not alone but on a winning team!
Grrrr! Go team!