Watching Too Much “Breaking Bad?”

It could just be that I’ve been watching too much “Breaking Bad,” a superb series on AMC whose main character makes methamphetamine, and whose brother-in-law just happens to be an Albuquerque DEA agent.

But, my listings’ online traffic — and my own anecdotal observations — tell me that it’s not just my imagination.

In particular, two kinds of “Buyer Watching” seem to be going on in today’s housing market:

One. Passive Watching.

MLS now allows prospective Buyers — and their Realtors — to “save” a listing that they’re interested in.

Then, any time there’s a change to that listing’s status, they automatically get an email alert.

The usual scenario?

People like the home, but not the price — and are waiting for it to drop.

(Note:  while the listing agent can see the number of times a particular listing has been saved, the individuals’ identity is unknown.)

Two.  Active Watching.

Whereas passive watchers are usually anonymous (per above), and have yet to tour the home in question, “active watchers” typically have viewed the home with their Realtor, perhaps even multiple times.

They may even have made an offer, albeit a low one.

When the Owner invariably rejects the offer, though, instead of moving on . . . they just continue to circle (keeping tabs on the property via their agent, watching online, etc.).  

Risky Strategy

While such patience can pay off in a lower price, it also risks backfiring.

That’s because by the time another Buyer shows up, the first Buyer’s negotiating leverage disappears (or is at least reduced).

Assuming that they know about the other Buyer.

Not every Listing Agent is willing to give regular updates to Buyer’s agents who ask to “be kept in the loop” indefinitely.

And at least some Sellers grow weary of prospective Buyers who just seem to perpetually circle in such a fashion — instead prefering to do a deal with another, more decisive Buyer willing to make a strong(er) initial offer.

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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