Boston Real Estate for Sale

Boston Suburb Buyers in Bidding Wars

Boston Real Estate for Sale


Boston Suburb Buyers in Bidding Wars

Boston Suburb Buyers in Bidding Wars. There is no guidance on how to effectively handle a bidding war.

I don’t see or hear anything from NAR, Boston condo for sale brokerage managers, or team leaders on how listing agents should handle a bidding war, other than to put the offers on a spreadsheet and let the seller decide. But they are paying us a lot of money to give them advice, and that’s all we got? Embarrassing.

For realtors who think that’s good enough, then fine. Do you mind hurrying up with that retirement?

This weekend my office has two new listings in the burbs, one in Canton and the other in Arlington. I’ll let you know Sunday afternoon or Monday morning how the open houses went.


Boston Suburb Buyers in Bidding Wars

I just recently was in a bidding war for a single-family home outside of downtown Boston. Apparently, single-family homes are getting multiple offers this spring in 2023.  In this case, the winner (not my client) in the “bidding war” payed top dollar for a three bedroom house. Much more than it’s worth.

I want to caution home buyers that winning the bidding war isn’t always a good thing. Some homeowners who bought houses in the last couple of years knowing that they had secure jobs and that they would never be laid off, have been laid off.

Others outbid other Boston suburb buyers for the opportunity to move out of the downtown Boston and further from their jobs. At the time they knew they would always be able to work remotely except now they have to go into the office and they really hate the commute but can not afford to sell.

There is no such thing as a “forever” job and jobs that allow workers to always work remotely are not all that common.  When buying a house have a plan for layoffs or a job transfer or a commute.

Try not to overpay and plan on owning the home for a minimum of five years.

Boston Real Estate Blog Updated 2024


Boston Suburb Buyers in Bidding Wars

I recently read an article about how some single-family home buyers will go over budget for a house with enough space in the “right” neighborhood.


Spending too much on a house has a long-lasting impact. We call it being house poor and being house poor will color every aspect of your life.

Overspending a little happens. Those who overspend by a lot regret it.

People who buy more affordable houses have some flexibility and an easier time getting through job losses and life changes.

Houses need to be maintained which can be hard to afford when the budget is already stretched.

Set a limit when house hunting and stick to it. Your older self will thank you for that.

There are a few universal truths in the current housing market that would have seemed crazy just a few years ago.

The wave of competing bids over the asking price is only the beginning. Prospective buyers are even waiving mortgage contingencies and the right to an inspection in the desperate hope of submitting the winning bid on a coveted home.

So how does a bid stand out in the crowd? We asked several local real estate agents and brokers. 

“Buyers right now are in even larger numbers — and most of them have their foot all the way down on the gas pedal revving to go — and we still have the same limited number of sellers, if not fewer,” said Maggie Gold Seelig, founder of luxury boutique firm MGS Group Real Estate. “Buyers no longer have a week to make decisions. There is no longer the luxury of time in this market, generally speaking.”

With a deluge of people competing for the same property, prospective buyers do anything they can to get the seller’s attention. This usually means waiving things like a mortgage contingency, meaning the buyers wouldn’t recoup their earnest money if the bank denied their loan application. Others even waive their right to an inspection, but Seelig said she advises against this and tells her clients to bring an inspector with them to the first showing. 

“What I fear in these markets are people making impulsive decisions without all the information one should really have,” Seelig said. “Whomever you need to come with to help you make a smart decision, I say bring them at the outset. Come with your inspector, architect, builder, and designer.”

Brokers advising clients on condo purchases in the city don’t appear to have as much apprehension with waiving inspection rights, as a condo is a smaller space to inspect on the spot. 

“If you have an agent who’s been doing this for a while, they can sift through a lot of it on the spot,” said Corey O’Neill, a real estate agent with Elevated Cos. “It’s not like you’re waiving it blindly. It’s calculated and educated.”

Those deciding to move ahead with a bid then have to face the extremely hot housing market’s other norm: bids over the asking price. 

“When I do a listing now, I always tell the seller, ‘I can tell you what your bottom price is, but I can’t tell you what your top bid will be,’ ” said Teri Adler, a real estate agent with Pinnacle Residential Properties. “2021 feels like a whole different planet than 2020 even.”

Bidding wars are commonplace in the burbs. While it’s impossible to know what others may bid on a home, four recent winning bids Adler brokered were 10 percent to 12 percent above the asking price. 

“What I say to my clients is we’re never going to know what the other people are bidding, so it’s about bidding what you’re not afraid to lose it for,” she added. “If you don’t get it, you won’t have regrets.”

In this market, bidding wars are taking on a new look. Some prospective buyers even include escalation clauses — a controversial topic among realtors that basically enables a bidder to ensure his or her offer will always be the highest.

“Whatever your highest offer is, they’ll go a certain amount over that,” said Samantha Stumpo, founder of Newbrook Realty Group. “There are people who were tired of the bidding wars, and I don’t blame them.”

A lot of agents are also calling in favors to other agents, Stumpo added. Personal relationships can lead to a successful bid, especially if the listing agent has confidence the one asking for the favor can quickly make a deal come together. 

Home buying is a business, but there is also room for personal touches in the art of making a deal. Buyers sometimes send “love letters” to the sellers, including photos of children and notes of how they’ll care for the house and make it a lasting part of their family. 

“Most offers I’ve seen in the last six months have included what I call the buyer love letter. It’s always a balance, however, of trying to make the personal connection and not wanting to insult anyone either or trigger something unintentionally,” Seelig said. “Even when you’re putting together amazing financial and other deal terms, the emotional connection can sometimes win over a seller. You have to look at every possible way to win over the seller in this market.”

The National Association of Realtors advises against sending them, however, because they raise fair housing concerns.

Boston Real Estate and the Bottom Line

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