Buying A Home In A Sellers Market

Thanks in large part to our current pandemic situation, there is a broad flight from living in urban areas to suburban and rural areas.  This has led to an increased demand for single family homes, exacerbated further by a decrease in housing supply as homeowners, leary to allow strangers in their homes, are reluctant to list their homes.  The end result is a sellers market; some may say a severe sellers market. 

All of this begs the question, how does a home buyer acquire a home (or homes) without simply succumbing to the sellers price?  Fortunately, there are a few things that one might do, some “tricks” you might say, to make the most of what some might say is a less than advantageous negotiating position. 

  1. Align with a realtor from the best broker.
    As I’ve mentioned before, realtors wield immense power and influence.  One such power, in some areas, is the pocket listing.  By aligning with the best broker (as measured by the number of open and closed listing in the area where you’re looking to buy a home), you give yourself access to the greatest pool of pocket listings.  

    Pocket listings are a home listing that hasn’t hit the Multiple Listing Service (the “MLS”), the public listing of homes for sale. 

    In a seller’s market, having access to homes before they become openly available to the general public can be a tremendous advantage.  And aligning with the best broker is your ticket to that offering.
  2. Join forces with the selling agent.
    In a traditional sale, the buyer and the seller’s real estate agent share the commission.   When a seller’s real estate agent bring a buyer, that agent potentially doubles their commission.

    By aligning with the seller’s real estate agent and having them represent you in the purchase, you instantly make your offer more attractive to someone who might arguably be the most influential person in any real estate transaction … the seller’s real estate agent.
  3. Be open to being the back up offer.
    A real estate deal isn’t finalized until escrow closes.  And the journey between an accepted offer and the close of escrow is fraught with potential pitfalls.  In a seller’s market, being a backup offer is almost as powerful as being the primary offer. 
  4. Take on someone else’s problem.
    Some of my most successful real estate deals have been when I’ve was willing to take on a problem that the seller didn’t want to address.  Deals like this have an added benefit of discouraging potential competitors from creating a price war. 

  5. Be patient.
    Most importantly, be patient.  Clearly identify all of your criteria, and wait until they are met.  Once met, be ready to strike with determination and conviction.  Have your financing secured, and be prepared to utilize it.  No one ever made money by chasing the wrong deal. 

The Value of Data & Insights

The saying that knowledge is power has never been more true than it is today. Today, brands can collect (in a privacy compliant manner) a tremendous amount of information about their existing and prospective customers.

But does “more” data really make a difference? Is quantity more important than quality?

The answer is: it depends.

I’ve been in the data industry for over 10 years. During that time, I’ve learned that data, ethically applied, can be of tremendous value to an organization. I’ve also learned that it is easy to fall prey to the concept that more is better, when in reality sometimes better is better.

While data collection should be vast (after all, it is easier and more cost effective than ever to collect data), data interpretation should be mindful and deliberate. Your process should start collecting as much data as possible, then on a case by case basis utilize that data to answer very specific questions which help improve your organization.

This process sounds much easier than it is. I’ve found it is easiest to start with a basic question, and work backwards through the evaluation process to find your answer. As you work backwards through this process, you’ll be able to stress test a set of assumptions that will ultimately derive an answer based in fact – not assumptions.

Take for example the simple question “who are my best customers?”. First you must decide upon the metric that you’re assigning the term “best”. Is it your longest customer based upon time? The customers that generate the most revenue? The customers that generate the most profit?

With that question answered, you must now determine why you’re trying to answer that question. Do you want to find those customers in other media channels? Are you looking for customers like your best customers? Do you want those customers to spend more than they do today?

As you can imagine, the number of questions can be seemingly endless. It is very easy to slip into a data vortex, where you are paralyze by the sheer amount of data you need to analyze to derive your answer. But if you’re diligent, and thoughtful in your approach, you’ll be able to derive answers that bring exponential value to your organization.

Truth be told, this process is part science and part art. And quite honestly the only way to improve your results is to practice. Build, Test, Repeat. But with time, practice, and careful iterative improvements, you’ll be able to yield results that drive your business beyond the competition.

As a side note, one good resource in your journey is the Google Thinks series. Here is a recent related episode that you might find interesting.

Happy learning!


Politics – It Is Not What It Seems

Both in my personal life, and in this blog, I try to remain non-political. It seems with all of the people driven to vocalize their opinions on topics that they know little about, that adding my voice to the conversation would do little to bring any clarity to the topic.

With that said, I do have an opinion on one political topic that I feel will be beneficial to some. It’s an opinion not based in fact, but rather solely on observation. I’ll be the first to admit that I my statement is an assumption, and worse yet an assumption that entirely void of any factual evidence. But I believe it as much as anything I know.

Politicians get along more than they’d like for us to believe.

If you compare the levels of angst that politicians from opposite parties hold for each other to the animosity that voters from the same competing parties hold, its no contest. Voters have more distain.

I base this opinion from years of closely observing politicians and the actions of voters. Especially in this election, we hear stories of families and friendships being torn apart simply because of different political views. Mothers who won’t talk to sons. Fathers who threaten to “block” texts from daughters. As voters, we’re often conditioned to look at things in a binary fashion. “You’re either for me, or against me”. This leads to associating politics with an ideology. And this blinding faith only benefits one group of people: politicians.

Comparatively, politicians seem to have learned that while passion wins the race in the short sprint, collaboration wins the marathon. We often hear stories of politicians from different parties getting together for drinks after the election. We see the comradery ex-Presidents share once they’ve left office. It’s as if they know something we don’t know …. that perhaps they don’t want us to know. Simply put – it’s going to be alright.

So as we wrap up a long election evening, and wake with some more answers than we had the night before, let’s not take things more seriously than the politicians who are running for office. After all, that’s what we’re electing them to do!