Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Bidding Wars and Balls

Don't know whether this is a memory from real life or a movie**, but go with me on this. Imagine a scene with a politician at a podium taking questions  from reporters. Let's call one of the reporters James and pretend he's a notorious philanderer, because it makes my story better.

Reporter James lobs a stinger: "Senator, what about these rumors that you've been having an affair? Will you level with the American people about your private life?" Being a movie, everyone pretends this is unexpected, and there's an audible gasp from the audience.

The politician pauses, then returns fire, "Gosh Jimmy. I will if you will."

Bam! Tension diffused, politician gets off the hook. (this is fiction, after all)

What in Hades does this have to do with bidding wars?

It's all about balls. And not even the kind you're thinking about right now. Sellers who say “we have multiple offers” expect buyers to have the knee-jerk reaction of “Oh! I better offer more money.” Here’s a tip:

Just because somebody throws a ball at you, does not mean you have to catch it.

You’ll be given several hours or overnight to make your decision. Let the ball the seller just tossed at you drop. Take your time to decide whether you want to pick it up. Or not.

Does paying more make sense? For you? For the market? Sometimes paying a teensy bit more than you planned, for a home you’ll live in for 10-20 years isn’t such a horrible idea. What do the comparable sales tell you and your Realtor? Remember that tinkering with the terms of the offer can make it more attractive without spending additional money. Consider letting your offer stand as written – in other words, do nothing.

Whatever you do, remember you have the power to pick up the ball, let it lie there, or walk away.

Still not convinced that you can live through the stress of a bidding war? Check back tomorrow for a sure-fire, can’t lose, stress-free way to deal with bidding wars.


**the political scenario above might even have been Hillary Clinton fielding questions about her wayward husband. I just can't recall for sure. But if it was Hillary, then the story really is about balls, and Hillary's got a brass pair.

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