We spent time this morning in a sales meeting, talking about how to help buyers and sellers evaluate multiple bids or properties. We are beginning to develop spreadsheets, which we can use to list all the factors important in choosing a property, as a way to help buyers decide when and on what property to make an offer. There are obvious factors that matter in all real estate decisions, like location.
So, here's the rub. Location, which we would weigh very heavily in any purchase decision, is not a black and white criterion, as, say, town/city sewers would be. It's influenced by a buyer's own opinion about what he/she would like to be near--open space, public transportation, good schools, or other factors. Then why is it still useful, when someone is using opinion to come up with a weighted number for location?
Because it helps us, and ultimately the buyer, to begin to narrow his/her list of important considerations. He/she may come in asking for something at a certain price, but decide that, in order to get other benefits, the price range has to increase. Or, for instance, square footage could matter less than how that square footage is laid out. Sometimes we even see cases where people end up choosing the exact opposite of what they came in saying that they wanted to buy. Those people may just have a gut reaction (which is admittedly very hard to pin a number on), which is both persistent and consistent, and that may end up being the tiebreaker.
And what does the agent add to the process? It ends up being very useful to have seen this played out many, many times. We begin to develop a sense of what will ultimately prevail, and often long before the buyer sees it. Also, in the same way that teaching something is the best way to learn it, it's helpful for the buyer to have to explain to us what he/she is thinking, and that explanation frequently crystallizes his/her thinking.
Where are we going with this? We're still working on templates for both residential and commercial buyers, plus ones for sellers in multi-offer situations. Like as not, it will always be a work in process, but will become a valuable timesaving, clarifying tool for our clients.