What Does It Take To Win In This Market?
"What makes these buyers so successful?"
I work with a lot of buyers. Correction: I work with a lot of savvy buyers. I'd like to think that my coaching and advice have something to do with it but it's all them and I'm always impressed when I see clients adapt to market conditions as quickly as they do. And it got me thinking. "what makes these buyers so successful?"
I've been working with a buyer couple for the past few weeks and we were able to find them a condo down on the Waterfront after "only" their third attempt at a bidding war. In this market, that's pretty darn good. These guys were awesome. I met them last spring when they first moved to the city when they were looking for a rental in my neighbourhood (St Lawrence Market). They ultimately found a steal on Kijiji themselves but we really got along well and they promised to give me a call when they were ready to buy. I was happy for them and really didn't expect to hear from them again. Then, out of the blue earlier this year, I get an email:
"Hey Adil, remember us? We loved working with you and we're ready to buy. We could really use your expertise. Thanks!"
I love getting those emails. We met for coffee the next day and chatted about what they were looking for, their budget, and the condo market in today's context versus what they saw back in 2016. They even came armed with a few listings that had caught their attention and gave me their thoughts on what they thought they'd be willing to pay. I listened politely before breaking the news to them:
"These places look awesome. But see this unit here? That sold yesterday. And that one there? It will sell for about $50k more than the list price. And that one there? It's probably going to sell before we finish our coffee."
They took a minute, gathered their thoughts, and said "Well then we're glad we called you when we did! Let's do this." That's what I like to hear! We chatted some more about the craziness we should expect to see and they are now the proud owners of a beautiful condo overlooking the lake.
"Let's do this."
It seems that I've had the same conversation with every new buyer client I've met so far this year, and it goes a little something like this:
"We will definitely be in competition for every unit we come across. That's just the nature of the market. But don't let the bidding wars deter you. Speed and money reign supreme in this market so as long as you're ready to go whenever I see something worth visiting, we'll make this happen. And we'll probably lose the first bidding war. And maybe the second too. But I'm ok with that if you are. In fact, losing isn't so bad. Going through the process is a good thing. Like getting those first date jitters out of the way! And if we lose, we'll see what the unit sells for, reset our expectations, and go in strong the next time. Cool?"
And the answer, every single time has been "let's do this".
So after thinking about what qualities make these clients so successful in their condo (or house) hunts, here's what I've come up with:
1 - They adjust to the market. Fast. This is not a market where you can negotiate. Or take your time. Sellers are firmly in control. Just because a unit sold yesterday for $450k doesn't mean a similar unit will sell for $450k tomorrow. Buyers are seeing the market adjust upwards daily and the ones who get out in front of it are the ones who are winning the bidding wars. Buyers who are still trying to "get a deal" in this market will keep losing and will keep getting frustrated. And will likely be priced out before they know it. 2 - They act without hesitation. A lot of times I'll come to a showing with an offer already prepared. If my clients like it, we'll do the paperwork on the spot. Savvy buyers come prepared and know exactly what they are capable of spending, even before they set foot into a unit. "I'll let you know in a couple days" is not the phrase any agent wants to hear, especially in a market like this. I'm the least pushy person around, but there's nothing worse than a client who calls me back "in a couple days" to say that they really like the unit we saw and they'd like to make an offer and I have to tell them that the unit sold. Yesterday. 3 - They know what they are looking for. When a client says "I'm looking for a 1 or 2-bedroom condo anywhere downtown, and my budget is flexible" it raises a bunch of red flags. Nobody wants to buy just anything. Just anywhere. If you don't know what you are looking for, how can I find it for you? Focus is key so you don't miss opportunities. 4 - They don't let a "loss" slow them down. Losing sucks. I hate losing. But savvy buyers dust themselves off and say "so where's the next one?" 5 - They never say "it's not fair". It's extremely unproductive to use this phrase in most aspects of life. Yes, I can see how the bidding process is not "fair". I can see how the lack of inventory is not "fair". But buyers who realize the parameters within which the market is operating and decide to play by those rules are the ones who ultimately find success. Today or in any market.
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Your Toronto condo lover,