The One (House) That Got Away

Most people that bought a home in on the Mid Peninsula within the last few years will be able to tell you about the one that got away when they were looking for a house. The majority of properties in our area since 2013 have sold with multiple offers, so unfortunately it’s more common than not to put an offer in on a few houses before closing escrow. 

There's almost nothing worse than finding the perfect house only to have it snatched up by someone else. If your ideal home is unique to our area -- is an affordable house in a great neighborhood, has a nice view, is situated on a large lot, or has a specific style of architecture -- it can sting even more.

From personal experience and working with clients, I know that once you put the time into writing an offer and putting together a personal letter, you are emotionally invested, and it can be hard to walk away and keep looking. Here is a little advice to help prevent your dream house from getting away.


Do your research.

While options for a 3br home may be limited under $1.3M, there are 3br homes that will sell at or under $1M.  The reasons as to why may be obvious, such as the condition of the house, the house is on a main road, or the house is located next to an apartment building, but sometimes it's not.  A good realtor that knows Redwood City can help you find relevant sales in the area, point out aspects of the property that are concerning and/or typical, and generally help you identify problems before they arise.

Don't upset the listing agent or the seller.  

Some people think that if they go to an open house and openly say bad things about a property other people at the open house will hear and lose interest, creating a less competitive environment for them when it comes to making an offer.  Not only will this not help you, it can also be reason your offer doesn’t get accepted, regardless of how strong it is.  


Have an aggressive approach, but don't overdo it.  


It's good to express real interest to your agent or the listing agent, but at the same time you don't want to show all your cards. If you’re at an open house you can show you’re serious by saying, "I like the house, I'll have my agent reach out to you for disclosures.” If you sound wishy-washy and say something like, "It's ok I guess, I'm just not crazy about it. I don't know I'll think about it," you’ll just sound indecisive or the agent may question your follow through if you got into contract.


Learn about the seller and be sensitive to their wants and needs.  

You don't need to internet stalk them, but it's good to know who they are and have a basic idea of what they're all about. Have your agent reach out to the listing agent and get some more info. Will they want a rent back? What’s their story? Why are they moving? Get a general idea so you can figure out what will be enticing to them.


Make a strong offer.  


It's not always just about how much you're willing to offer, it can also have just as much to do with the terms of your offer. I have seen buyers offer way over asking, but include a bunch of contingencies (several ways to back out of the transaction). This can actually make their offer less attractive than another at a lower price with a quick and easy close. I have seen and heard of sellers taking offers 5% lower than the highest offer with contingencies.



Cliff Whearley has been a resident of Redwood City for 23 years. He is a Realtor at Dwell Realtors, Inc. and has been practicing real estate since 2007. If you have any real estate questions, he would love to help!