Making a Rash Homebuying Decision

Getting my buyer-client to the point where they can make a rash decision.

That’s my goal.

The Charlottesville real estate market – in many ways, it sucks. Really. Sucks.

*NB: This applies to a certain segment of the Charlottesville area real estate market – and cannot and should not be applied broadly across all market segments.

Here’s how.

House comes on the market on Monday at 9. Show house at 10:30. Need to make an offer by 2.

Crazy Talk. What? How can we possibly decide such a critical life decision so quickly?

My role as a buyer’s agent is to get my folks to the point where, should my clients be put in the position of deciding Right. Now. whether to make an offer on a house, we’ve done the legwork leading up to that moment so that while they are making a sudden, rash decision, it is not an unconsidered, emotional, ignorant decision.

Years ago, I realized the gravity of what my clients were asking me to do – to guide them through a process that will impact the rest of their lives. And the rest of their kids’ lives. I take this very, very seriously.

I’ve taken to referring to each house that I show as a data point. (or, an opportunity for my buyer client to scratch a particular itch so that there is more clarity when the time to offer comes).

What I mean by “data point” is this

  • If a house comes on the market at $450K and goes under contract in two days and closes in 60 for $457K, that’s a good data point for my clients to know.
  • If a house comes on at $450k, sits for 187 days weathering multiple price drops, and expires/is rented or goes under contract and closes for $415K, that’s a good data point as well.
  • And … if that $450k house’s that went under contract in two days comes on the market at $455K or $449K, my clients (and I) know to move super-fast in order to get in, and get in quickly.

How long does the search/education process take?

As long as it needs to. Many (most?) of my clients are searching online (although one did mention the other day that he saw a house in the newspaper!).

Educating clients on the inaccuracies online (I’m looking at you, Zillow) takes time. Time for them to see that while a house may be active on Zillow, it’s not actually for sale, or if the Zestimate is $575K, why is the house on the market for $450K? OR

If the Zestimate is $387K, why is the asking price $450K? OR 

If the Zestimate is $457K with a $450K asking price, how is this time, the Zestimate right-ish?

Enough about Zillow.

The home search process takes time

Seeing houses takes time.

Figuring out triangles takes time. Learning markets, neighborhoods, streets, sounds, smells, traffic patterns — I want all of this learning to have been done well before I tell my buyer client on Wednesday afternoon that we need to make an offer tonight.

But … how much time? As long as it takes. Sort of when I ask someone to write a guest post for the blog — they ask, “how many words?” I respond, “as many or as few as it takes you to say what you want to say.”

Some buyers take a couple weeks. Others a few months. Others years. It depends on the buyer, the timeline, the expectations … and the market.


This is why I say to my buyers that fall/winter is the time to start the home search.

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