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Who Do You Blame For Not Being Able To Buy A Home?

I get it; everyone wants a bad guy to blame all their problems on.

For people who think they’re entitled to own a home yet have complained about home prices in Toronto, even when they could have bought a house in 2006 in the East End, Leslieville, and the Junction for $500,000, they blame everyone from banks to all levels of government, and especially us dickhead realtors for inflating the price of a home in Toronto.

Then, some people hate their agents after they fail to buy a house after several attempts, lumping all agents in the same boat as greedy, keeping them from being able to buy a house.

Sure, some blame should be put on the agent they chose to represent them, but not the homeowner’s agent.

The seller’s agent is there for one purpose: to get the best deal possible for the home sellers.


It’s one thing to decide to use the agent that appears in your social feeds doing dances and home tours where they waive you into each room in fast motion.

A better idea is to choose an agent with experience analyzing the price range of what a home will sell for so your time isn’t wasted on homes you could never afford.

Here’s an example of a recent listing of mine. I had ten competing offers on a vacant house in Pickering, listed for $699,000. My evaluation suggested it would sell in the $820,000 to $840,00 range. Seven of the nine agents expected me to give them the “price expectations” of my seller.

In other words, they were clueless about determining the price range at which the house would sell.

One agent asked me if I would advise her on the side after offers were submitted. She had two separate buyers with offers. 

No conflict of interest there, huh?

I’ve always suspected this happens between agents from certain unreputable brokerages, including some of the big-name brokerages you’ve heard of.

But that’s another post for another day.

My answer to the agents who asked about price expectations was always the same: the seller is looking for the best offer.

I gave them my seller’s preferred closing date, June 24th or sooner.

Why would I tell any agent what the seller was expecting? My “job” is to get the most favourable terms and selling price possible for my client.

If I gave agents the expected price, how many would pay more? Why would they? I’ve tipped my hand.

I think this is all an echo of the past decade of a red-hot seller’s market, during which buyer agents would submit an offer, say, $200,000 more than the asking price, only to find that the house sold for $330,000 more than the asking price.

It could also be that because they have never experienced a truly balanced market, they’ve never had to evaluate a house and likely have never had the option to negotiate a price lower than the asking price when there was an opportunity.

When I first got into the industry in 2004, I would submit offers of $40,000 less than the asking price, riddled with conditions and clauses that would get laughed at by selling agents today, a deposit of $5,000. I would give the seller 3 days irrevocably because the house had already been on the market for three months.

Those were the days. Selling 3,500 square foot homes in Aurora for $600,000.

Let’s look at how this offer night went, and please pay attention to the closing dates. I’ll explain later.

  1. Agent one:
    1. Offer price: $750,001
    2. Deposit: $15,000
    3.  Closing date: July 11
    4. Conditions: none
  2. Agent two:
    1. Offer price: $777,900
    2. Deposit: $40,000
    3.  Closing date: July 4
    4. Conditions: none
  3. Agent three:
    1. Offer price: $770,000
    2. Deposit: $45,000
    3.  Closing date: June 27
    4. Conditions: home inspection and insurance
  4. Agent four (This agent had offers for two buyers):
    1. Buyer one:
      1. Offer price: $770,786
      2. Deposit: $45,000
      3.  Closing date: June 26
      4. Conditions: none
    2. Buyer two:
      1. Offer price: $785,786
      2. Deposit: $40,000
      3.  Closing date: June 25
      4. Conditions: none
  5. Agent five:
    1. Offer price: $800,000
    2. Deposit: $50,000
    3.  Closing date: June 27
    4. Conditions: none
  6. Agent six:
    1. Offer price: $808,000
    2. Deposit: $35,000
    3.  Closing date: June 20
    4. Conditions: none
  7. Agent seven:
    1. Offer price: $670,000
    2. Deposit: $60,000
    3.  Closing date: July 19
    4. Conditions: home inspection and insurance
  8. Agent eight:
    1. Offer price: $779,000
    2. Deposit: $30,000
    3.  Closing date: July 9
    4. Conditions: none
  9. Agent nine:
    1. Offer price: $850,000
    2. Deposit: $50,000
    3.  Closing date: June 21
    4. Conditions: none

The choice is obvious: who wins here?

Take the 850, get it signed immediately, and we’re done.

I’ve done my job and made my client a boatload of money, right?

That’s what an inexperienced agent would have done. What’s the saying, “A bird in hand is worth two in the bush,” or something?

Here’s where my experience with negotiations comes into play.

I set Agent Nine’s offer aside.

I called agents five and six. They are within my estimated selling price range, and experience tells me with the size of their deposit, they likely have left money off the table and have room to improve. I let them know where they stand regarding offer strength.

The other agent’s offers were either too far away on price to work with or, if you look at their closing dates, were too far past what I had told them the preferred closing date was.

See what I mean about choosing your agent? Did the agents not tell their clients about the closing date, or did they simply not pay attention?

I called and thanked them for their offers, but we will be working with another offer.

Agent Four insists on having an opportunity to improve her offers. I told her she was too far off and we’d already decided. 

If, by chance, one of those offers (or both) comes back and is higher than Agent Nine’s, then they will both be given one final opportunity to improve.

As it happens, Agent Five improved their offer price to $860,000 (Agent Six came up to $828,000), so both Agent Nine and Five were given a final opportunity to give their final and best offer. 

They were once again reminded that closing before June 25 was important.

Agent Five returned with $875,100, and Agent Nine with $871,000.

Which offer did the seller end up working with and why?

Recall earlier when I said to pay attention to the closing date. A certain tax being threatened (“we’re only asking the top 1% to pay their fair share.. “) would cost a lot more in tax than $4,100.

Agent Five’s clients were livid—how can we have the highest offer and not get the house? When I reminded them that the closing date was important and ended up being the determining factor, they said their mortgage agent wouldn’t allow them to close sooner than 30 days because it would require them to resubmit paperwork, which made no sense to me.

Then, they promised me, hand to God, that if we accept their offer, they will 100% be able to close on June 24 once the offer has been approved by the mortgage underwriter.

I told them I appreciated their promise, but if they can’t move the closing date now, there is a good chance they won’t be able to do it later, and we didn’t want to take that risk.

Do her agents hold my client’s decision against me? Do they now think I’m the bad guy for not accepting their offer? It was always my client’s decision, not mine, but I’ll be the blame in their eyes.

What about the other people who submitted offers?

Do they see the final selling price and blame their agent for not giving them a realistic selling range?

Am I the asshole agent for “inflating” the final selling price?

Is my seller to blame for accepting the highest price (even if it wasn’t)?

Do you see how some people blame others for their inability to buy a home?


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