Fistfights. Free tacos. This is how crazy the N.J. real estate market is, agents say.
A potential buyer offered to pay for a one-year Netflix subscription.
An agent offered to deliver tacos for a Tuesday closing.
And apparently a fist fight broke out on an open house.
The residential real estate market is at an all-time high for home sales despite low inventory levels. And while buyers grapple with one of the most desirable homes on the market, they use everything they can think of to make their offering stand out.
NJ Advance Media spoke to agents from across the state and here are some of the crazy tactics they saw.
See invisible offers. With more agents listing homes as “Coming Soon” and waiting days to let potential buyers in, some agents in his office are getting offers for homes before they’re shown, said Brian Morgenweck, of the Power Realty Group in Hackensack. “Agents send you offers at full price or above and wait for them to appear,” he said, adding, “I would never allow any of my sellers to accept such an offer as it could be canceled if it occurred. “
Help with spending. Gina Lerario of Keller Williams in the Washington Ward, Gloucester County, said she offered to pay up to $ 500 in moving expenses out of her own pocket to sweeten one of her buyer’s offers. And she offered to pay half the real estate transfer tax – about $ 1,500 – on a house in Sewell. None of the offers were accepted. “It was the top of her budget,” she said. “In the end, they picked someone with a higher offer.”
Who doesn’t love tacos on Tuesdays? Agents always try to avoid closings on Friday as it’s the busiest day of the week for title companies, said Michelle Stella of ReMax One in Moorestown. In the offer she wrote, she closed on a Tuesday offering to buy tacos for everyone. The bid was only about $ 10,000 above bid and they set a cap on inspections. But the sellers didn’t say Bueno and instead said Gracias for the taco offer.
Waiver of expert opinion. Ramos Real Estate’s Tom Ramos just sold a home in Gillette, where two buyers said if the home were valued at up to $ 35,000 they would cover the difference. “If you have enough money, there is no risk,” he said. “Real estate is a long-standing thing.” As long as the buyer stays in the house for more than five years, the investment will balance out.
Non-refundable deposits. Spencer Freedman of Keller Williams West Monmouth said he lost offers where other agents left a $ 10,000 non-refundable deposit. “This is crazy,” said Freedman. “Deposits are a formality. You almost always get your deposit back unless you have all the ghosts. There is always some technique where you can get it back. Inspection problems, appraisals if you lose your job or die with your family – you can get your money back. That shows how serious these people were. “
Do it personally. Love letters, as agents call them, talk about how much the family dog will love the yard or that they can’t wait to teach their child how to play the piano in the basement, said Jill Deegan of EK Real Estate Partners in Princeton. “We even have people who say they want to meet the seller in person to showcase the offer,” she said. “Anything you can do to stand out from the crowd.”
Far beyond price offers. Agents across the state have reported seeing offers 10, 15, or 20 percent above the price. “Some of the numbers go for $ 70,000 beyond questions,” Deegan said. “It’s just absolutely crazy. You basically give me the house, we pay whatever you want. “Realtors need to carefully review listings with sellers as the home may not rate the highest number offered. “When we review offers, we need to make sure that they take a backup if they accept an offer that is really outwitted, if it isn’t evaluated and the deal falls apart.”
Cash offers. In multiple bidding situations, real estate agents say, the cash offers usually win because they don’t require valuation and some of the other bureaucratic mortgage buyers do. A house in Manalapan that Freedman listed for $ 725,000 just closed at $ 850,000 for a cash offering, he said. “I don’t know where people get all this money from,” Freedman said. “I’m sure part of it is that the stock market went up … and so did people from New York, where their houses are selling for a boatload.”
Open houses are messy. Limiting the number of people who can enter a house at the same time has resulted in long lines in open houses. Deegan said she had an open house last weekend where shoppers queued an hour earlier. She was on another open house in Jackson a few weeks ago and an agent visited a family member a block away and saw an open house down the street where a fist fight broke out. “The agent commented on our group chat that she hoped my open house was going well because the police were there,” said Deegan. “Right now everything is very amplified.”
Make the wave. In the cold and rain in particular, Pat Settar of Fox & Roach Realtors at Berkshire Hathaway Home Services at Mullica Hill and her colleagues got waiting shoppers to wave to while they queue at open houses stand. “They are thrilled. They say let’s do it, ”Settar said. “We thought it would keep these buyers in a positive mood.”
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Allison Pries can be reached at [email protected]