Yesterday’s open house ended up being anti-climatic once a motivated buyer adopted the swamp-the-boat strategy, which I highly recommend. We had five offers by the end of Friday, and could have generated another 5-10 offers easily and probably ended up at, or close, to the same price. In all, we had over 200 people see the home over the two-day open house extravaganza…..in November.
It happened again yesterday. I got the Dear John letter from a listing agent.
This one was somewhat unusual though. I always ask a listing agent how they will handle multiple offers, and 100% of the time it’s some version of spreading them out on the coffee table and picking the winner.
But when I asked this agent, she flipped it back on me and asked, “Well, how do you handle them?”
I responded, “I call back every agent and tell them the price to beat, and mention that they are going to lose if they don’t beat it.” It gives every buyer a fair chance to determine their own fate.
The listing agent responded, “Oh that’s how I do it too!”
What? I’ve never heard that before. Thankfully, my buyers liked the home enough to pursue it, and we submitted an offer that was $22,000 over the list price, with the normal concessions. It’s an offer that should be considered as a contender.
You can guess what happened. The usual five days go by, and yesterday I got an email from the listing agent who said that because she received offers that were higher, they selected a better deal.
Someone asked the question, “Does the realtors’ blundering incompetence with handling multiple offers actually feed the frenzy? Do their Dear John letters ramp up the intensity?
I thought about that one for a while.
I am a competitor at heart. I was lucky to be on some great sports teams when I was a kid, and learned the difference the hard way. Some teams have great players but don’t win. Other teams have a few talented players but are winners because they are scrappy and determined.
Think of the Padres. Even though they have finally had some great players, they aren’t very close to winning anything yet. During the last half of the season, they mailed it in, and lost a lot of games to inferior teams.
If we lost a game because of a bad call by the umpire, or an honest mistake by a player, we would be frustrated but could shrug it off.
But if we lost a game that was very competitive and everyone played their heart out, it would motivate us the most to learn from it, and never let it happen again. It’s the killer instinct, and it comes from honestly played, head-to-head battles.
I think homebuyers today who get burned repeatedly by agents who don’t give them a chance to compete fairly with the other bidders are being dumbed down. They get numb to losing, and while it might cause them to offer a little more next time, their building resentment keeps them from throwing everything in.
Open bidding gives homebuyers the opportunity to go higher than they ever thought they would.
You know there are agents out there thinking, “Jim, you sniveling little baby – why don’t you just get your buyers to offer more money so they can win the bidding war?”
First off, a bidding war is when participants are bidding against each other.
What is practiced around here is blind bidding, where buyers just guess at what offer might win.
Nobody wants to pay more than they have to, or more than they should. With no other influence, buyers will submit their bid based on the comps, or their comfort level.
But when presented with a price to beat, emotion takes over. With the fear of losing the property being a real possibility, buyers are much more likely to go higher than they originally thought, in order to win.
It becomes more about winning and losing, than paying a comfortable price.
There will be an occasional blind bid that swamps the boat, and produces a sales price that others wouldn’t have touched. But how do you know? You don’t.
Conducting an auction-like process where bidders are pitted against each other and know the number they have to beat is the most reliable way to reach top dollar. The fear of loss is real, and motivates people to do things they wouldn’t have done on their own.
Yet, realtors around here won’t consider! Why not?
Most everyone thinks it’s against the rules, but this is in the contract:
Offers not necessarily confidential: Buyer is advised that seller or listing agent may disclose the existence, terms, or conditions of buyer’s offer unless all parties and their agent have signed a written confidentiality agreement. Whether any such information is actually disclosed depends on many factors, such as current market conditions, the prevailing practice in the real estate community, the listing agent’s marketing strategy and the instructions of the seller.
Agents can include the confidentiality agreement but it doesn’t mean anything unless all parties agree.
In my bidding war on Saturday, the agents were happy to participate. They enjoyed the transparency, and the chance for their buyers to determine their own fate!
I mentioned the cash offer we made on Saturday on behalf of buyers hoping to purchase a home in Carlsbad. It finally came to a conclusion last night.
It went the same way all of the other multiple-offer situations have gone:
It dragged on for days.
Little or no communication.
No transparency about the process or how a buyer will be selected.
No open bidding.
After a day of being kept in the dark, I suggested to my buyers that we should improve our offer and just hope for the best. We submitted a new offer above the list price, 14-day closing, and free 30-day rentback. A worthy offer!
I got the call late yesterday – Sorry, we’ve gone in a different direction.
I appreciated the call because they usually come by text so the listing agent doesn’t have to offer any explanations. Because I had the agent on the phone, I pleaded with him to give me the winning sales price, which he did.
When I told my buyer about the winning bid, he said,
“I would have paid that.”
“IN FACT, I WOULD HAVE PAID MORE THAN THAT.”
It’s not just about treating all buyers and buyer-agents fairly (part of the Code of Ethics).
It’s about LEAVING MONEY ON THE TABLE, which is happening everywhere because listing agents are too lazy or inexperienced to conduct a proper bidding war. Even if you don’t have the guts to do open bidding like I do, then at least give every buyer a chance to make their highest-and-best offer, which used to be the standard up until this year.
Now, the listing agents only worry about grabbing their favorite offer, and going back to sleep.
The NFL added a 17th game this year, and pushed back the Super Bowl to the second weekend of February.
It will be about as long as buyers can wait, and the following weekend should be gang-busters.
If you’re not putting your home on the market in the next 2-3 weeks, then February 19th would be a good target date for listing your home for sale.
“Oh Jim, wouldn’t it be smarter to wait until momentum builds with other comps closing escrow, and then sell in April/May and pick up an extra 5%?”
Sure, if you’re a gambler.
What could go wrong:
A couple of neighborhood fixers sell for less.
Another sells to an ibuyer based on those prices.
Another is getting divorced and quick-sells their house based on those new comps.
If you get submarined by other sales nearby, then you’ll just be happy to get what you could have gotten in February. The worst part will be your spouse telling you repeatedly, “I told you we should have sold sooner”.
Yes, the frenzy will last into 2022, and you will sell for a ton of money no matter what. But I’ve gotten more inquiries this month about selling a home than any month this year – people are preparing to go!
You say ‘full transparency’ and blah, blah, Jim – what do you mean? What happened? Give us the dets!!
We received two cash offers during the open house on Saturday, one from the first people who saw it on Friday, and the other from a buyer who attended the open house – which was a quick turnaround because I told her that we already had a cash offer.
Each buyer had their own agent, and the terms were similar. It was going to come down to price.
They are called ‘bidding wars’ in this business, but the way the vast majority of agents handle them, it’s really just a collection of offers. The listing agent might use a spreadsheet to organize them, but in the end, they are presented to the sellers who then just picks a winner – usually after the listing agent chimes in with their preference.
It’s not right that the listing agents get to play God and decide the outcome. I want the market to decide it, because that’s what is fair to all buyers, all buyer-agents, and especially the sellers.
Plus, I don’t want to delay the outcome for hours or days and risk that the buyers might cool off – which is what usually happens as listing agents let days go by after their first offer is received, thinking it might get better, later.
I started my bidding war as soon as I got in my car to leave the open house.
I called the agent for the first buyer and told him he’d been outbid, THEN I TOLD HIM BY HOW MUCH, and asked if he wanted to go higher.
He called back in ten minutes with his new bid.
I went back to the agent for the second buyer and told her that SHE HAD BEEN OUTBID BY X AMOUNT, and asked if they wanted to improve their offer.
My slow-motion auction lasted until one of the buyers ran out of gas about 90 minutes later.
It worked great, and maybe even better than a live auction because bidders don’t feel rushed to make an instant decision. They were able to confer with their agent and make a deliberate new bid.
Both buyers had a fair and clear chance to purchase the home, which is missing with the Offer Collection method. When listing agents just pick their favorite offer, instead of requesting higher bids, it leaves money on the table and it makes the remaining buyers wonder what happened – most of which would have made a better offer, if they were only given the chance.
The seller of our new listing in Encinitas Ranch has been discussing a move for six months. He contributed his decision to sell now primarily to what he read here on the blog.
Specifically, that what appears to be a frenzy slowdown is NOT reflective of the market normalizing – instead, it’s due to just the opposite; a continuing decline of inventory.
What’s my #1 tip for sellers? Sell when everyone else isn’t!
The Encinitas market is starved for higher-end luxury homes, especially those sexy, turn-key ready homes that can be occupied within 30 days (a dearth made worse by most listing agents demanding 60-days free rent after closing for their sellers).
We thought if we went on the market in October and appeal to the buyers who wanted to close and occupy by Thanksgiving, we’d have a special niche all to ourselves.
But we had work to do to maximize the appeal, so we spent the last two months and $50,000 to get the home in tip-top condition. By yesterday, it was perfect – thank you Donna!
What happened next wasn’t luck or happenstance.
It was a planned strategy to maximize the opportunity for buyers to not only purchase a home yesterday, but to also have the process be a fair and clear competition utilizing full transparency. I made sure that everyone knew the rules of engagement, and how to win.
Today, I get to go back in the jungle.
We made a cash offer with different clients yesterday who are hoping to buy a home in Carlsbad, and got the usual routine. Agent doesn’t answer his phone, doesn’t call back, doesn’t acknowledge receipt of the offer until today and leaves a cryptic email suggesting that he might have multiple offers but no other game plan on how the winner will be determined. You know, the normal way agents handle their business.
Full transparency is the best way to achieve top dollar, and you can only find it here!
Jim the Realtor is legit - I interviewed three brokers; he said list price should be $100,000 higher than the other two brokers; listed it with him and had all cash (no financing) offer in two days, five day contingency period, closing in two weeks - and it closed at his recommended list price. I could not recommend anyone more than I recommend Jim the Realtor.
When we moved to San Diego in 2005 we rented a big house on Mt. Soledad (La Jolla) with 180 degree ocean views for the same payment as a mortgage on a dump in Chula Vista. Clearly something was wrong. Yet, the media was full of the usual happy-talk nonsense, so I was glad to find Jim's blog. I've followed his honest assessments and data since.
We decided to sell and move to AZ at Thanksgiving. Dec. 1st we met with Jim to sell our home. We closed today (29 days later). Jim orchestrated a feeding frenzy -- we had 25 showings in 2-1/2 days, multiple offers, and sold for well over asking price. I'd say he earned his commission! We have owned and sold homes in 5 different States always using experienced, productive, full-time realtors. Jim outshines them all.
You don't decide to sell and close 29 days later over Christmas (with COVID lockdown) without some miracles. Donna was amazing at performing lots of those miracles and ensuring that everything was done right and on time. They are a terrific team with a very responsive and professional network.
Where do we begin..2020 has been a year for everyone. When COVID hit and shut down both my husband and my businesses, we were left with a mortgage and very little income coming in. We were stressed, scared and felt stuck. We made the hard decision to sell our home and move out of state. We contacted the Klinges' and spent a good hour going over what we hoped we could accomplish. Jim and Donna came over with comps in hand and suggestions on improvements to get our house ready for the market. It was overwhelming to think about, but Donna was there and one step ahead in every scenario. Basically we just approved what they suggested and Donna handled literally everything. We placed our house on the market and within the first day we had multiple offers well above asking price! We couldn't believe it. We were overjoyed! Jim countered the offers to weed through them, and everyone came back with way more. It was amazing, and we are ?? sure it was because of the staging and repairs the Klinges suggested we do.
Due to unforeseen dishonesty from the buyers lender, we hit a big hurdle when trying to close. We had already moved out of state and were shocked when three days before closing the lender dropped a bombshell on the buyers and us. However, Jim and Donna handled it like veterans, not afraid to play hard ball and represent their clients. After a few phone calls with us, and several between Donna and the lender, they had a plan B-Z to make sure we were taken care of. In the end we closed with even more money than we ever thought possible and with very little work from us. The Klinges handled this entire "2020" worthy event with the utmost professionalism and did everything in their power to not only make this as smooth as possible for us, but we also walked away with more money from the sale of the house than we ever hoped for. After working with Jim and Donna, you don't ever use anyone else. They are hands down the best team to represent you in any scenario.
Working with Klinge Realty Group was a great experience! They are very responsive, professional and knowledgable about the real estate market! I would definitely recommend Klinge Realty Group.
Jim and Donna Klinge made the sale of our condo extraordinarily easy. They know the market and gave us sound advice backed by details and very considerable experience, reflected both in the initial pricing and subsequent negotiations. They work together as a team and are always available to talk. We had a few challenges with our property and they were able to coordinate the resolution to everything, including items that I would not think would ordinarily be their responsibility to handle. They made the whole process effortless on our part. They are folks with high integrity and we cannot recommend them highly enough.
Review for Member: Donna Klinge
I cannot believe there are no reviews of Donna yet, ugh!! She is the secret sauce of the Jim Klinge/Donna Klinge combo! I will touch on Jim here, but Donna is why I'm so totally loyal to these two (no offense to Jim :)).
I consider myself a rather savvy buyer/seller. I've bought/sold 7 times in about 15 years. On the buy side, Jim is the PERFECT combo of: completely digitally savvy (he will pull data all day long until you feel comfortable with your chosen house, area, school district, anticipated appreciation rate...anything!), he's super well respected and known in the area by other agents, an amazingly cool but strategic negotiator, is totally devoid of desperation for a sale/commission, and more.
Then once you get into contract phase, Donna literally handles every last and final detail in a concierge-like manner -- totally shielding you from the daily back and forth, noodling and annoyances of the buyer's requests. She solves it ALL; it's miraculous what that woman accomplishes over and above what is even expected in a buy/sell transaction.
On the sell side, Jim and Donna do the same, but even moreso. Donna in particular truly takes everything off your plate: she'll manage getting the house painted, the carpets replaced, she'll go on site (as she Jim both did for me when selling our rental properties) to work with the renters and make sure the house is ready to show -- freeing me to have to take time off of work to do so. They work with A+ integrity, too, so you know you are serving all parties fairly and lawfully throughout.
A home purchase/sale is the most considered you'll ever make. HIRE A SAVVY AGENT, not a friend!, and get what you need out of the transaction. Jim and Donna are our agents for life.
Jim and Donna Klinge are by far the most professional, personable and responsive realtors I have ever worked with. They provide VIP concierge level service in every area of the process of selling your home. My home was marketed so successfully that we received an offer the day after our first and only open house. Thanks to Jim's pricing and negotiating, our house is now the highest sold in our community. Jim's vast experience means he has worked with several realtors and knows the market all over north county. Donna is AMAZING in processing everything in the transaction. She scheduled trades people to work on the house in preparation for the sale as well as the repairs needed before closing. She communicated clearly every step of the way about what would be happening. She took the weight off my shoulders for the whole process. I will always use Jim and Donna for my future real estate needs and I whole heartedly recommend them to anyone buying or selling a home.
Jim and the team at Klinge Reality are without a doubt the best in the business! Not only was Jim helpful and extremely knowledgeable, he was patient and determined to help me find my first home. Jim and his team have been in the business for many years, and it shows. Jim is a wealth of knowledge and was my biggest proponent despite the temperature of the competitive market. I ended up getting the perfect property in my dream neighborhood all thanks to Jim. From the day my offer was accepted, Donna was a real lifesaver. She was extremely helpful, responsive, and knowledgeable when it came to every minute detail, and held my hand through the process. As a first time home buyer I had no idea what the process would entail, but Donna curtailed every concern I came across and made the escrow process feel seamless. Jim and Donna provided me the best home buying experience, and I am very grateful for all they did for me. It was truly a pleasure to work with Jim and Donna and I am already looking forward to the next time we work together!
Review for Member: Richard Morgan
Richard is an amazing realtor! He has high integrity and genuinely cares about his clients and their needs. Richard paid close attention to what I was seeking in a home and was very patient in our search to find it. I would highly recommend Richard and will use him for future transactions. Truly a different kind of realtor experience!
Could not be happier with my experience with Jim and his team. He helped me sell a very unique and challenging property. Throughout the entire process he was always available, honest, transparent, trustworthy, and always put my interests as a seller first. A (rare) true professional! During close of escrow Jim went above and beyond to complete the deal. It would not have been possible without his experience, fantastic team, and pure dedication. Highly recommended!
Thanks Jim and Donna Klinge!