Negotiating the No-Man’s Land of Multiple-Offers

nomanslandWhere were we?  Still slogging and blogging on about our new favorite cause celeb. The real estate topic du jour that’s on the tip of just about every buyer’s tongue these days.

The thing that’s been propelled to the front of so many cerebral cortexes recently. Locked tightly into the roller coaster rides of repetitive brain loops all across America.   The single biggest worry most buyers are likely to find themselves obsessing over when they wake up in the middle of the night with a cold sweat.

We’re talking about multiple-offers.  Are there any other kind?  Of course, there are.  But in this market it doesn’t feel like it.  There are lots of other things we could talk about – but none more germane.

The onslaught of serial offers and surreal situations has given rise to all sorts of multiple-offer personality disorders on the mean streets of real estate as of late.   It’s a strange “estate of affairs”  – this unexpected new (ab)normal that appeared when a sudden shift of the pendulum  accelerated so fast past the bottom, after all those lowly years in the dumper,  that it tossed the collective marketplace on its ear and left all of us spinning.

Who woulda thunk? But, it’s just the kind of head-y set of circumstances that Real Estate of Mind thrives on and embraces.  The dance. The nuance, The pathos.  The ecstasy.  The never-a-dull-moment opportunity to plumb the depths of the human condition and it’s ongoing relationship to the home that lives at its heart.

So what do most Buyers facing a multiple-offer situation want to know?  Simple:  “What’s the least amount I can offer and still stand a chance?  I don’t want to pay any more than I have to.  I know I can’t offer too little or I’ll get creamed.  Where’s the Goldilocks Zone? The price that’s not too high or too low but just right?  What buys me a ticket to the second round and get’s my foot in the door?  If there are ten offers – how do I decide what to offer in order to make the first cut and receive a counter offer?”

And we’ll get to all of that, I promise.  But first, I have a question.  This is going to sound like another one of Brezsny’s infinite digressions.  It’s not.   It’s actually the exact right starting point for anyone out there that’s about to enter into a pending multiple-offer competition.

My question is:  How much do you want it? Is this a home that you have to have? One that you’ll be crushed if you don’t get it?  Or one you can take or leave?  One that kinda works but isn’t perfect?  One you can settle for?  Something you can move on from? Walk away in one emotional piece?

If you don’t know the answer,  then,  you’re not going to negotiate the no-man’s land of multiple-offers very well.  You stand a very good chance of either sabotaging your own best attempts to get something you really want or of going way out on a limb to get something you really didn’t want after all.

If you aren’t sure what you want and what it means and how it fits with the rest of your life and future…. and you can’t anchor your decision-making to a solid, non-negotiable sense of home that lies somewhere deep down, in and around the region of the central core of your being, then, you are already drifting in space. You are sleep-walking in place, through all of those open houses and search engine e mails of wishful thoughts.

You have left yourself vulnerable to the auction-like, adrenalin-fueled, altered state of realty that comes in the heat of multiple-offer mania.  A flood of fears. A slew of whims and desires.  The opium of consumer-driven fantasies we’ve all been inculcated with since birth.

This is your homework between now and whenever it is that you find that place you think you want to try to get.  Or at least until next week’s column.  Forget that latest greatest new listing for a minute.  Step back and do a little more soul-searching.  You have to own your own process before you can expect to own a real version of your own home.  It’s not out there. Home is here. Think of it as a pre-qualifying process that supercedes pre-qualifying with the bank.  Pre-qualifying what quality of life really means to you when you are home alone with yourself.
In the meantime…stay thirsty my friends.

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