Currently, the Greater New Haven market is experiencing a shortage of inventory in some price ranges. Although most of the country has been like this for a while, it has been a long time since it has occurred in Connecticut. Many local buyers are not accustomed to needing to, or may not even believe that they need to, compete with other offers. Some people that real estate agents mislead potential buyers about other buyers, in order to encourage interested parties to act quickly, or bid higher. We are amazed now at how often a house that has been on the market for months, without any interest, suddenly may have two or even three parties competing to buy it. Once a certain point in the spring has been reached, people feel that they have seen most of what might be coming on, so that they no longer feel that they should wait. Of course, homes that are well-priced and desirable attract interest, and usually these days multiple offers, almost right away.
So my advice to buyers is simple, and fairly obvious. First, make a list of what you require in a house. Keep a running preference order for what you’ve already seen, with your first three choices clear. If those choices don’t change every time you go out, it’s probably time to stop looking. Be honest with yourself, and your agent, about your limits. It’s amazing how often people tell us their upper price range, and then exceed it. Then, make the cleanest offer you can, with the fewest contingencies and for the shortest amount of time. Assume that there is other interest in the property, and follow this important rule: Bid the highest amount that you would be sorry to hear that someone else paid. If your reaction to a later record of the sales price is that you couldn’t, or wouldn’t, have matched it, then you did the right thing. If your immediate thought (never mind what you told your agent about the highest you would go) is that you would have paid that price, then you should have bid more.