Listing Low: An Invitation To Treat

Listing Low: An Invitation To Treat

We've all seen the headlines of these homes selling for $300k, $500k or more over asking price in Vancouver, Metro Vancouver and other areas of BC. So what's the deal?

First thing I want to say is, in our current market Asking Price is BS 85% of the time.
I tell my clients to ignore it or at the very least, take it with a big dry grain of Maldon.

Where in the past asking price has typically been an indication of the Seller’s expectations; the go-to marketing strategy in the Vancouver market is to use a low asking price as an invitation to treat.

What is an invitation to treat? An invitation to treat is when one party delivers information in order to entice another party to make an offer. The originial party is not, and has no intention to be, legally bound by this invitation.
So when that townhouse is listed for $990,000 depsite an identical unit in the same complex having sold for $1,268,000 3 weeks ago; the seller is inviting buyers to bring their best offer but is not legally bound to accept any of those offers, whether they meet or exceed the asking price.

Something that catches my clients off guard about this? If the seller doesn’t get that $300k over asking they wanted, THEY WILL DECLINE ALL OF THE OFFERS and re-list the day after offers were reviewed, raising the price by $300k. Yes they can do that. That’s often when we get to see the true asking price and one of the reasons I say Asking Price is BS only 85% of the time.

In this example, they list the property at $960,000. The agent and seller decide to hold offers off until the following Tuesday. Buyers with low budgets will think this place is a steal under a million and will want to see it along with the townhouse shoppers that missed out on the neighbour's listing last month. Showing appointments will be booked, open houses will have lineups pouring onto the streets and the agent at the open house will tell every buyer and agent just how busy it's been.

And damn, Vancouver loves a line. Makes me think of a restaurant I used to work at that had an amazing breakfast with waffles (yum) and lavender lattes (not for me but you do you, hon) and they served Mon-Fri with no wait because locals and tourists alike were 3 blocks down the street waiting in line for the other belgian waffle, lavender latte spot because *get this* it was known for how long of a wait it was to get a table.

Back to the towhnouse, we now have the frenzy of activity for viewings and when the home shows well there will be mulitple offers. Tuesday rolls around and they get 12 offers, 9 of which are way under market hoping for a miracle and 3 serious offers at around 1.2 million. The listing agent leverages the 3 top offers against each other and the home sells for 1.3 million. $310k over asking and a new record in the complex.

There we have it, a home sold in market but advertised as $310k over asking.

This technique is certainly seeing results and I can't blame the Seller or listing agent for going this route. These sellers want the best and quickest sale of their home and I'm assuming you will too when you sell your next home. But would that unit have sold for 1.3 million if they listed it at 1.26? Maybe, because there were still 3 buyers willing to pay at least 1.2 million. 

Bottom Line; as a buyer, you can't control how a seller chooses to list or market their home. What can you do?
Don't take it personally! Adjust your expectations, stop believing the over-ask hype and have a chat with your trusty Realtor about whether this home is priced in market and if it will actually sell within your budget.

Happy to answer any questions about this pricing strategy, the buying and offer process or anything else Vancouver Waffle Spot or Real Estate related.
Use the Let's Connect form below or text/call direct at 604-401-9199.

- Kade Lacasse | Vancouver Realtor


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