Thursday is Brokers' Tour in El Cerrito, Kensington, Berkeley and North Oakland (Rockridge, Temescal and Montclair.) Realtors tour newly listed homes on Thursdays for a number of different reasons. For some, it is a way to keep in touch with the market. For others, it's an opportunity to socialize with colleagues. Most importantly, it is also a way for agents to preview homes that match the search criteria of their current buyers.
This Thursday it rained-- a lot. Rain is often good enough reason for self-employed Realtors who fit the socialite\market watchers category to stay home. No use getting wet for a casual outing. Therefore, rainy tour days often mean reduced agent traffic. This Thursday was an exception. Thursday's tour was popular. Some streets were so crowded with Realtors they became difficult to negotiate (Keith at Euclid in Berkeley for example.) I casually remarked to a an agent with whom I rubbed shoulders, "Boy there must be a lot of buyers in the market." "Thousands," she said, "and they all have at least 20% down." For those that thought the loss of the sub prime market would deplete the buyer pool (eliminating those with less than 20% down), apparently the void has been filled. Then, I started paying more attention to the social quality of the conversations. The grapevine was flooded with new multiple offer stories. The home on 60th street in Temescal that had eight offers was just one example.
Then I saw a house which I knew would appeal to one of my buyers. No one had access to the house before Brokers' Tour, so this was my first chance to see it. I enthusiastically told my buyers about the home when I returned to the office after tour. We made an appointment to see it first thing Friday morning. By Friday afternoon, one preemptive offer had already been submitted and the sellers were inclined to take it. Upon hearing from five other interested parties, the sellers decided to delay their acceptance of the offer in hand and give the other buyers until 7:30 p.m. to submit their offers. All I could think was welcome to 2005.
UPDATE: This home received four offers before 7:30 and is in contract. The chosen buyer was not the same buyer that instigated the preemptive hustle.
For anyone who wasn't in the market in 2005, or for those with selective amnesia:
Click here for an SFGate article on Bidding Wars from Friday, April 15, 2005.