The market has changed a lot just this year, and to stay on top of it requires an ever-changing approach to both buying and selling to make sure you walk away with the best deal possible - either the house you want or top dollar for the home you're selling. Here are 3 strategies I have been using to win for my clients in today's market:
Learn about pending comps when you go to price your home to sell. We typically focus on sold comps - they're real, closed deals - but with how quickly things are changing, I have been calling listing agents with pending sales to gather as much information as possible to use in pricing similar homes. Things like - What is the contract price? How many offers did you have? Did it appraise for what it is under contract for? All of this information can help inform me and my sellers better on what the most recent activity has been like and what we can expect.
Don't bank on offer deadlines. Many listing agents will publish an offer deadline that is 2-3 days after the listing date. That can give buyers a false sense of security as far as the time they have to submit an offer. Keep in mind the agent isn't making the final decision about whether to review offers early (although they are probably advising their client) - the seller is in charge of that and can change course whenever they want to. I recently got a buyer under contract on a house where they had set a deadline 48 hours out, but we submitted a fabulous offer that had everything I could gather that was important to the seller, and put a 3 hour deadline for the seller to respond. That prompted the listing agent to change the 48 hour deadline to that evening, and (I believe) dramatically decreased the number of offers we ended up competing against. There were still 6 offers, but we won by being aggressive and quick, and not assuming we had 2 days to wait.
For heaven's sake, have a buyer's agent. This is not even about getting an edge, it's just table stakes. It's just not a market where you should DIY buying a house. I can't tell you how many times I list a house and in the midst of dozens of phone calls and texts I'm getting about the house and whether we have offers, I get calls from unrepresented buyers who think they have an advantage by not having their own agent. News flash - they don't. It's much better for the seller (my client, whose best interest I'm focused on) to work with a serious, educated buyer - and that most often is someone who has a professional agent guiding them and coaching them on how to compete. Not to mention has vetted the buyer, knows what the buyer can and is willing to do so writes an offer they can follow through on, and will keep the process on track. This is what matters to a seller.