You Must Be Willing To Act In Order to Get Any Benefit

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On a very regular basis, pretty much every buyer's agent who's worth anything gets clients who have difficulty making a decision. Not too long ago, I found a solid property with great potential that nonetheless needed about $20,000 of cosmetic work. In short, right now it was ugly and unappealing, but it had a WOW! view and it was priced $100,000 below a model match a few doors down. They looked at the property five times over the course of a month, and just as I finally had them willing to make an offer, somebody else put in an offer that was accepted.

Immediately, the property went from something they were reluctantly willing to consider living in to something they had to have, but at that point it was too late. The owners were already under contract. Unless the transaction fell apart - and it didn't - there was nothing anyone could do. Real estate needs one willing seller and one willing buyer. If someone else gets there first, you don't get the property. The seller's side has its own version - whomever competes the best for a given buyer wins. There are no prizes for second place.

There is no such thing as a perfect property. Unless you have an unlimited budget - and no one has an unlimited budget - there are always trade-offs. Trade-offs in the form of location, or amenities, or most obviously, price. You've probably heard trite little sayings like "paralysis through analysis" and the pithy "you snooze, you lose." They're trite because they're true. You must be willing to act when things aren't perfect in order to get any benefit. If you aren't willing to act in a timely fashion, you get nothing. The better the situation, the more risk there is of someone jumping in before you. Yes, sometimes this means you're at risk of being conned. There is no way to completely eliminate that risk. If you're only willing to jump into the perfect situation when all risk has been eliminated, you are wasting your time. Somebody else is going to jump first. The only way you're even going to buy - or sell - anything in those circumstances is if you're the victim of a scam. Reward is necessarily coupled with willingness to work and to accept risk. You can certainly work to reduce the risk, but there will always be an element of risk present. If you're not willing to accept any risk, welcome to the life of a spectator.

This isn't just my clients. Seems like every time I've taken something "Pending", I or whomever the listing agent is gets calls from people who are suddenly interested. I finished a transaction not too long ago where one suddenly interested buyer called the listing agent literally every day while it was in escrow. He was wasting his time. Once it's in escrow, you're too late. Unless it falls out, a thing that's not under your control, that property is committed to someone else. But it seems like the mere fact that someone wants it brings prospective buyers out of the woodwork, now that they can't have it. Kind of like sibling rivalry, only even more pointless because if it does fall out of escrow and become available again, you are sabotaging your negotiating position.

A few years ago now, I dealt with several families over the a few months who wanted to buy, but were convinced the market was heading down further. Fear and Greed was keeping them on the sidelines while the ratio of sellers to buyers has dropped from 42 to under 12. This ratio is the best measure of supply to demand ratio there is, and the most important indicator of the direction of the market. They are confusing past performance with market prognosis. Even during the most gonzo seller's market we've ever had, this ratio was about 4:1, and anything under about 12 or 15 to 1 indicates a seller's market. Furthermore, people who want to buy is building linearly with time, while the ranks of people who need to sell has already seen the strongest influx it's going to have, and the lenders are finally willing to act to prevent losing more money than they have to. On the buyers' side, everybody is crowding around, trying to get someone else to be the test penguin (1). On the seller's side, there is only so much desperation out there, and it appears that we've already burned through the vast majority, at least here in San Diego. Eventually, the buyers who are trying to get someone else to be the test penguin are going to realize that the people buying now are not getting eaten - in fact, just about the furthest thing from it - and they will jump in, en masse. (At this update, the biggest thing holding people out of the market is artificially restricted loan eligibility, due to Congress passing bad lending laws in 2008-10)

All real estate is only "good while supplies last." For sellers, this includes supplies of willing buyers. Since there is rarely more than one of property in a group, bargains only last until one person pulls the trigger. The easier the bargain to spot, the shorter the period to act. Even the hardest bargains to spot do not have an indefinite shelf life. Real estate is not like war, where if you don't attack the enemy, the enemy will attack you. So a bad plan now doesn't trump a perfect plan two weeks from now. But a good plan, acted upon in a timely fashion beats a perfect plan that waits just a little too long.

Caveat Emptor

Original article here

(1) Penguins don't jump into the water immediately. Instead, they crowd around the entrance to the water, and avoid being the first in, due to the possible presence of predators. However, eventually one penguin gets pushed in by the others. If he doesn't get eaten, the other penguins quickly follow. It is to be noted that those positioned to respond quickly, and hence most likely to be shoved in as "test penguins" also have the best shot at whatever food may be present. And the predators are always drawn by a hot market which enhances the likelihoods of making large amounts of money.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Dan Melson published on February 10, 2020 7:00 AM.

Whatever the New Trick in Loans is, It's an Always Attempt to Keep From Really Competing On Price was the previous entry in this blog.

The Difference Between a Reliable and Unreliable Prequalification or Preapproval Letter is the next entry in this blog.

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