Brooklyn Secret Agent: Lines at Open Houses


    Today we bring you an anonymous weekly column about real estate by one of the most experienced agents in Brooklyn:
    WHAT is going on here? This week I listed a new house. It is on a previously shunned Carroll Gardens block and it is small — 2,000 square feet. It has been totally renovated and has a large, lovely garden. The sellers and I agreed that we would reach a bit and price it slightly above where we felt the market is at right now. Fingers crossed.

    I arrived for the Sunday open house 10 minutes before the start time. Cars were double parked and people were bunched up outside, all waiting to see it. That was a first for me in all these years — a crowd waiting for an open house?

    After two hours of the constantly packed open house, during which one buyer and his broker came up to me and demanded to know “What will it take? We know how this works,” I closed up. I had given out more than 75 show sheets and there were 82 separate groups who had signed in. 82!

    As soon as I got back to the office, and up until I turned my phone off at midnight, the offers poured in. There were 10 of them, all at or significantly above the asking price. Two buyers tried to prevent a best and final round by going quite high. More than half of the offers were either all cash or had no mortgage contingency. The next day two more offers came in. Requests to see the house were nonstop, too.

    I sorted through each offer, making sure I knew where the money was coming from, that the preapprovals had some weight, and what the income and assets of each buyer were. One buyer was way above the others but the details were sketchy — did they need to sell first? Their broker did not know, which wasn’t helpful.

    The sellers and I conferenced. After reviewing the spreadsheet I made, they decided they wanted the highest number, even if the likelihood of actually getting to closing was iffy. Not a surprise — it usually goes this way. But they asked me to hold a best and final round in hopes of getting that high number with good finances. By the time you are reading this, those final offers will be in and a decision will be clear, we hope. There will be 11 disappointed buyers.

    Now that high number, which would have appeared ludicrous one week ago, is the new normal. I continue to ask, WHAT is going on here?

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