Over the weekend, the New York Times examined that phenomenon familiar to Brooklyn house hunters during boom times: the “shift the goalpost” home sale, as they termed it. A buyer makes an offer, it is accepted and then, before the contract is signed, the sellers say they have another offer on the table and would the buyer like to increase his or her offer? Or one bidder wins a “best and final” match, only for the seller to turn around and ask for more later.
Is there any way to know if the seller really has another offer on the table or is just trying to get more? Not really. Even brokers decried the tactic. “It’s surprising how ugly it’s getting,” said a real estate lawyer who said now he sees about one deal like this a week, and said attorneys are complaining about having to draw up multiple contracts for some deals. “If you don’t hear back about a contract in two days,” he said, “there are usually some shenanigans going on.”