Monday, March 4, 2013


In a hot market, who you work with matters.

This past weekend, I listed a highly updated, well-kept home in Arvada priced in the low $200s.  Thirty-six hours later, the home generated 29 showings and four offers - all at or above list price, including two with "escalator clauses", with the buyer pledging to outbid any bonafide competing offer up to a certain limit.

Pure craziness.  

So, if you're the agent, what do you do here?  Simply look at the numbers and choose the highest one?  Or delve a little further into the details?

While I won't reveal which offer my seller ultimately chose, I will let you know that one of the first things I did was to go straight to the MLS, and using a technique not many agents know, I pulled up recorded sales history for each of the agents involved.  

This production history is important, because the numbers in a purchase offer are irrelevant if the deal never closes.  

Using a little-known search function in the Denver MLS, I can pull up to five years of closed sales data for any licensed agent, which shows me how many listings they have sold, how many buyers they have successfully closed, what those homes sold for and where those homes were located.

Would that be valuable information for you to have in determining the relative quality of an offer?  Of course.

In a hot market overflowing with emotion, would you rather accept an offer from an agent with a proven and consistent track record of closing homes?  Or from a newly licensed agent with three lifetime sales?

Here's what my "buyer side" sales production looks like in the MLS.  It shows 68 closed buyer sides in the past five years, although that number does not include a handful of "non-MLS" transactions, such as "For Sale by Owner" or new construction deals (the actual number of buyer sides is closer to 80).

I am firmly convinced that in a market where multiple offers are the new normal, the reputation agents have is going to be a deciding factor more and more when determining which offer gets chosen.

This is a stressed out, transitioning market and a lot of people simply can't deal with it.  When selecting an offer, it's not just the bottom line number (although that obviously is important).  It's figuring out who the buyer is, who the agent is, who the lender is... and then determining (when challenges arise, which they always do) if these people are going to make things happen, or if they are going to make excuses.  

Quality matters.  Reputation matters.  Production matters.  Your team matters.  Results matter.

In an environment like this, everything matters.  So choose wisely, because your success or failure is going to increasingly depend on who you allow into your boat as you push off from the shore.