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Last November, CBC’s current affairs program Marketplace ran a program about unscrupulous real estate sales people... more recently, there's been a lot of press about the underhanded tactics of Buyers and Sellers, too. There's no question that a hot market can tempt some people into being a little fast and loose- even though it's unethical and certainly not the sort of behaviour in which any intelligent person would engage.
Real Estate transactions usually involve a great deal of money and frequently, people's homes... their roots, their security, often their largest asset... so it's both a financial and emotional consideration. Real estate is one of those things that most people have either had experience with, or know someone who has. The problem is that a little experience can be a very dangerous thing... a lot of it depends on the particular sort of experience one has... but generally speaking, people approach real estate with a reasonable amount of anxiety. A hot market may appear to favour Sellers, but it can actually work against them, too. Whether buying or selling, everyone wants to get the best deal they can... and that's exactly what they should expect and exactly what skilled, experienced, professional Realtors strive to achieve.
Contrary to popular belief, most Buyers in a "Seller's Market" won't just settle for anything decent that fits into their price range. They won't overlook housekeeping, maintenance and repair issues. Homes that are clean, well-lit, and de-cluttered are always perceived as having better value. In fact, in a hot market, Buyers tend to become a little more cautious.
Sometimes, Sellers think it's clever to underprice a property in a hot market, to bring a frenzy of buyers... but lots of Buyers assume a low priced home, even in a hot market, is a sign that of problems. This is made worse because some Buyers worry that, in a hot market especially, Sellers will be tempted to hide important details about the property's history or fail to disclose flaws. A competent Realtor knows that you can never skip over the facts.
Many Buyers start out by making it very clear that they don't want to get into "bidding wars"... even though most of them haven't ever been in one, they've just heard that bidding wars are a bad thing. In twenty-something years, I've yet to meet anyone who has been tricked into paying too much for a property because of a bidding war- usually the worst part of multiple offer situations is that someone is going to be disappointed when their offer isn't accepted- but that can happen in a normal offer situation, too.
Sometimes, in bidding war, there are Buyers who try to pressure Sellers (or the Sellers' representatives) into giving them some sort of opportunity to beat the highest bid- but that is totally unprofessional and against all the rules. In a hot market. sometimes Sellers are accused of being greedy- and perhaps some are. In fact, being unrealistic about the value of their property is one of the most common mistakes that Sellers make and there's been study upon study to prove that, even in a booming market, a property that is over-priced will not sell. A competent Realtor will guide Sellers to list their property at the best price for the existing market conditions.
Practicing real estate today requires deep knowledge of the industry and its approaches. Competent Realtors have a sophisticated understanding of not only the legislative framework and the layers of regulation involved, but of the cycles of the industry, current trends, pending issues, and potential concerns. They also have a terrific understanding of people and marketing and a host of other talents. Some of us have been through many diverse cycles in the industry and provide the skilled, experienced, professional service that Buyers and Sellers not only deserve but really need, especially in a booming market.