How to buy a condo in a hot market…

In the downtown Ottawa Condo Market, often find that when working with a client, we look at all of the available inventory, and can’t find a buyer what they are looking for. We know it’s out there, it does exist, but it is just that no one is selling one of these condos at the present time. For many of our buyer clients, when necessary, we take it one step further, and try to find people looking to sell before they go onto the open market, via letters, telephone calls, and emails. If this doesn’t drum something up, we then play the waiting game; waiting for that right place to come onto the market. Unfortunately, there are often other people waiting for a similar type of property, then when it comes up, a few people want the property, and it creates the “competing offer” situation, A.K.A. a “bidding war”, A.K.A. “multiple offers”, A.K.A. “a sellers dream”! That being said, often times if you are in a multiple offer situation, it is because the condo of interest is a good one, and this shouldn’t deter you from buying, but you do need to know what you’re doing, to protect your own interests. Here are a few tips on how to deal with a multiple offer situation:
– Hire a good real estate agent – a good realtor® will know how to handle a multiple offer situation, and ensure you have the best possibility of succeeding given what you are planning on offering.
– Do a market analysis ahead of time – try and determine the following: if you owned the condo, given the market conditions, what would you be asking for the condo, look at comparable properties for sale, recently sold, and that were listed but did not sell. Sometimes you will need to dig into old listings, land registries offices, and old-fashioned asking around
– Pre-determine your “top price” before you go into the offer. It is recommended to do this ahead of time because at the time of offer, and during any negotiations, it can become very exciting and emotional, and for a large investment decision such as this, you don’t want to make an emotional decision that you may regret!
– Analyze the situation – if you are in a multiple offer situation, you have the right to know how many other offers you are competing against, and when they are being presented to the seller. A good realtor® will know all of the questions to ask, to try to extract further information from the seller, their agent, other offering parties etc, to try to get the upper hand, and gain more knowledge about the situation you’re going into.
– Minimize your conditions – if you can meet a condition prior to submitting an offer, this may be enough to set you over the top, such as doing a building inspection prior to offering, or getting your financing in place so that this is not a condition of an offer
– Don’t mess around : when asked for an offer in a multiple offer situation, you should go in with your best shot, in most cases, the sellers agent will tell this to all parties, and if you don’t go in with your best shot, it may be too late to revise it if the seller accepts another offer
– Present it in person – when the situation requires, being present at the offer presentation can be beneficial – if offers are close, you want to be the sellers path of least resistant to further negotiations
Every offer situation is different, so depending on circumstances different strategies may apply. If you follow the first point, and get yourself a good realtor®, they should be able to guide you through the rest of the process, and maximize your chances of success.

Please note that every situation is unique, and you should speak to your lawyer and real estate agent prior to submitting a legally binding offer.

Travis Gordon is a sales representative with Remax Metro-City Realty Ltd., Brokerage, an experienced Ottawa real estate agent, and co-founder of the Ottawa Condo Guide, a resource for buyers and sellers of condominium properties in Ottawa. Our goal is to help educate buyers and sellers in the Ottawa real estate market, and provide professional advice when helping them buy and sell properties, including Ottawa Condos and Homes.

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