It is Only Buyer’s Market if You Buy Something

J Philip Faranda December 9, 2009

Let me preface my remarks by stating that when I act as a buyer agent I truly enjoy negotiating the best deal I can for my buyers. But make no mistake; we make a deal. I’ll explain after I list a few examples of what I don’t mean:

  • On a $450,000 listing, an offer of $400,000 comes in with a remark on the cover sheet: “Buyer is unable to be very negotiable with this offer.”
  • On another listing, the buyer agent tells us that their buyer has been looking for a home for 2 years. 2 years. After I get the seller to accept their offer, the buyer walks. We took too long.
  • In a multiple bid situation, we ask each party to make their highest and best offer. One party withdraws, not wanting to get into a bidding war.
  • In about a half dozen aborted deals in the past 3 months, I have been told by either the buyer or their agent that they are looking at homes they do not qualify for and that they just make 80-85% offers because they want to steal something.

None of the buyers in the above examples bought anything! All they did was go from property to property bullying and posturing, and they still live in their in-law’s basement. And with an $8,000 tax credit, insanely low rates, prices down to 2003 and 2004 levels in some places (and lower), and sellers willing to do more to cut a deal than they have in years, if you still live in that basement apartment, you missed out. It takes a special kind of obtuse to be a buyer in a market where so much is done to help you, and still not actually buying anything in multiple attempts. My advice? Go to the corner store and buy some gum. Prime that spending pump. Then work your way up.

A buyer’s market gives buyers an advantage. Buyers are getting better deals now than they have in the past 20 years. To take advantage of it, however, the buyers actually have to BUY SOMETHING. Beating the crap out of a seller and then walking away because they didn’t throw in their 17 year old daughter is not making a purchase, it is being a serial haggler. Now, some seller’s are unreasonable. But if you are on your 3rd offer, it probably isn’t the seller.

It isn’t a “haggler’s market.” You have to be a buyer to take advantage of a buyer’s market. To be a buyer, you must actually buy something. Otherwise, all these incentives and advantages are just words on paper. I’ll tell you what isn’t words on paper- living with your mother in law.  

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