Yesterday on my blog in the Washington Post- “Should you make that low ball offer? a commenter suggested “many agents will try to prod you into offering more than necessary in the hopes that the seller accepts and the agent can collect his/her commission that much sooner.”
The comment made me think about how consumers get the impression that Realtors® are only driven by a quick commission. In today’s Northern Virginia real estate market getting a deal from offer to closing gets harder and harder. There are no deals that are a slam dunk unless it is a cash buyer with verified funds, a large earnest money deposit and no contract contingencies. Quick commissions were left behind in 2005.
Will an agent prod a buyer to make a higher offer than they should? Most agents will likely prod a buyer to make an offer that has a chance of being accepted or at least generate a counter-offer for consideration. An agent who had done their homework and provided the neighborhood comps to a buyer will know close to what a home is likely to sell for. The chances of a buyer paying to much for a house in Northern Virginia are also fairly slim.
If the offer is above market value the buyer’s appraisal won’t support the contract price. Agents have no sway with appraisers. Listing agents can offer an appraiser the comps used to determine the sales price but unlike the hot market in 2003-2007, it’s hands off. If it doesn’t pass the sniff test the appraiser isn’t going over-value a property.
Then there are those pesky short sale and REO lenders. They aren’t pushovers on low offers. Yes you will find listings in the MLS for undervalued properties. But guess what happens as soon as the bank sends out their own appraiser? Ask the
hundreds thousands of buyers who have gotten a counter-offer from the bank well above list price resulting in either the property going back on the market again at a higher price or a buyer paying the lenders price.
The Northern Virginia real estate market is not the same as the areas that make the national news. Seeing homes selling for 90% or more of their list price reflects our market has stabilized. This is a good for for everyone and has nothing to do with agents prodding buyers to write offers just to earn a few dollars.