Have you been to open houses in Greater Boston towns lately? If you have and without a prior warning, you may have left discouraged and possibly panicked. Understandably, but many times unnecessarily! I’ll give you a recent listing example:

There’s currently a whopping 1 multi-family for sale in Watertown. It’s been like this for a while now (if you’re planning to sell one, PLEASE LET ME KNOW!), including just about a month ago when I listed a 2-family for sale. The first day I could show it I scheduled 2 group showings, one for early afternoon and another for after work hours. About 25-30 people showed up at 1pm and about 35-40 people showed up around 6pm. This was on a Tuesday and I could imagine how many people didn’t make it that day. I saw the quiet despair on people’s faces wondering how in the world they’d ever get their offer accepted in such high-demand-no-inventory market. Well, here’s a reality check … we received exactly 2 offers (on the first day of showings) and picked one of them! Not as scary, isn’t it?

As a buyer trying to de-emotionalize the intense buying adventure nowadays, I recommend you focus on a few main things:

1) Is this the property I want? Outside of considerations of price and market demand for it.

2) What is the rough market value for this home? In other words, given other current and recently available choices in the market, how much is the market likely to offer for it? Personalize it to yourself – say you have $650,000 to spend – is your money likely to buy you something bigger & better than this house in the current market?

3) Am I willing to pay market value (per above) or go above, and by how much? If this is a great fit and particularly with lack of inventory, will I regret not pursuing this opportunity?

If you decide that this property is for you, make an offer & see what happens. Worst case scenario, you’ll end up exactly where you are now – i.e. without a home under agreement and doing just fine. Of course when you find something you like, you really hope it’ll work out, but even putting your absolute best foot forward can’t guarantee that there won’t be a higher offer, an offer with less contingencies, or a cash offer that may be more appealing to the sellers, but you owe yourself to at least try!

You submit an offer and wait. Don’t get excited and emotionally invested YET! And no reason to lose sleep here! Just another normal day in Boston real estate. Leave it till when the offer is accepted, i.e. signed in writing, to get a little excited, but please no buying furniture yet either! You still have a few important steps to get to closing.

If your offer doesn’t get accepted, I recommend doing a few of things:

1) Ask your Realtor if the listing agent would share some intel on what you were up against. E.g. how many offers? any of them cash? was the deciding factor for sellers highest $ amount or another factor? Such information comes handy in understanding your competition on the next attempt.

2) Ask your Realtor to inform the seller’s agent that they can consider your offer as a “backup offer” should anything change on the currently accepted offer. This makes you and your offer stand out and mentally pinned for the owners – it may come very handy when say they’re negotiating over inspection items and feel like the current buyer is asking for excessive fixes / credits. Knowing that there’s a backup offer may make them less cooperative on that buyer’s requests and the deal may fall apart. If they don’t on the other hand have knowledge of a lined backup offer, they’re likely to be more cooperative with the current buyer.

3) Don’t fret. Keep getting informed and prepared to act quickly and confidently!


p.s. Luck Favors The Prepared 🙂

This content is not the product of the National Association of REALTORS®, and may not reflect NAR's viewpoint or position on these topics and NAR does not verify the accuracy of the content.