Tough Love for Young Buyers & Agents


When a recent listing received 12 offers in the first week,  I had a chance to refresh my observations about how difficult it is to be an inexperienced buyer or a new agent in a multiple offer marketplace.

One that specializes in chewing up and spitting out the naive, the well-meaning and anyone who isn’t 100% committed to the process. No matter how qualified they are. Or how good their intentions may be.

When I see young buyers struggling or hear their agents complaining about the inequity of it all…  I’m always reminded of a line Clint Eastwood’s character in The Unforgiven growled:  ”Fair’s got nothin’ to do with it.”  He could easily have been talking about success and failure in today’s real estate market.

Here are a few of the dizzying number of things that aren’t always apparent to the uninitiated. Those who have yet to receive their full baptism under fire from the marketplace:

Any first-time buyer who thinks it’s a good idea to approach a listing agent directly about representation, thinking it will somehow save them money,  is sadly, utterly mistaken.

Don’t trust your agent? Don’t wait until the middle of multiple offers to figure it out. Discuss how you feel now.  If that doesn’t help, interview other agents.

Don’t call the listing agent on a new property asking them to show it to you because your agent is too busy. That’s already one strike against you. It also doesn’t ingratiate your agent to his colleague.

When attending open houses, don’t say too little or too much to the listing agent. Don’t act sullen. Don’t criticize the house within earshot.  Don’t ask too many questions you could otherwise ask your own agent. Open Houses are like job interviews. The listing agent is already judging you as a potential buyer.

If you are one of those stubborn buyers who insists they’ll get pre-approved as soon as they find the right property,  might as well give up now.  You’re never going to get it if you aren’t properly prepared in advance.

What to offer in a multiple offer situation is always the question on everyone’s mind. Here’s a hint: It will depend on how many other offers there end up being. That’s not something you can know in advance. Just something you have to react to in the moment.

One thought on “Tough Love for Young Buyers & Agents

  1. Bill

    Hi Tom,
    Your article is very informative. I have a couple of related questions if you have time..
    1. we saw a listing the other day raise its price. Does this mean there were no previous offers?
    2. when multiple offers come in over the asking price, does the seller announce the highest offer and give all parties a second chance to make a higher offer?


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